14 Ways to Say “I Love You, Mom—And Mother Earth, Too”

Sierra’s Mother’s Day gift guide

By Katie O'Reilly

May 10, 2018


Photo by ChristinLola/iStock

Often, the best gifts are those that inspire recipients to spend more time doing what they love. Moms aren’t exactly known for having an abundance of leisure time, so we selected these items with a mind toward encouraging the mother figure(s) in your life to get out, truly relax, have some fun, and nourish some passions. In honor of Mother Earth, these gifts are environmentally responsible, too. Whether your mamas like to garden, read, cook, adventure, or literally run with the wolves, you’ve come to the right place.


For those mothers who love long walks on the beach, wine, and the ever-romantic art of upcycling, look no further than the new Beach Flips ($60) from SOLE. The Vancouver-based cobblers behind SOLE craft footwear out of discarded wine corks, and their beach flips come in an array of bright, seasonal colors, with an orthopedic foot that’ll mold right to Mom’s feet. These flips are sure to put her in the mood for summer—and, perhaps, for a celebratory toast to the circular economy, too.

Adventuresome mamas and enthusiastic readers have been singing the praises of Jan Redford’s debut memoir, End of the Rope: Mountains, Marriage, and Motherhood ($26, hardcover), released last week from Counterpoint Press. Redford has drawn glowing reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and others for her true tale of mountaineering, taking risks on and off the belay, female friendships in a very masculine world, and learning to balance safety with adventure. Your mountain-loving mother will welcome this hearty, harrowing, and funny new voice. 

Some of us have mothers so selfless they always insist there’s nothing they need in the way of gifts from their kids. After you craft that homemade card of her dreams (on recycled paper, of course), consider further treating her to a responsibly sourced, water-and-windproof jacket—the purchase of which will result in one of the same being gifted to a disadvantaged youth. Embracing the “Wear One, Share One” ethos, Equinox & Solstice recently launched the Northward Jacket ($119) for active, busy, and compassionate people (like your mom). They also partnered with a vast array of nonprofit organizations, to ensure that when she opens her gift of a cozy adventure jacket, an underprivileged kid within 50 miles of her home gets to do the same.

Help sustain always-on-the-go mothers with help from a lunch tote that’s not only made from 100-percent-recycled polyester, but also cute enough to moonlight as a purse. Haiku’s fully insulated and water-resistant Repast Insulated Lunch Bag ($30) is available through EarthHero, an online consortium of curated ecofriendly products. The tote is easy to clean, comes with padded carry handles, snaps flat for easy storage, and is roomy enough for a six-pack. Plus, each one gives new life to more than four recycled plastic bottles.

Even the mom who already has everything can appreciate an easier, greener way to hydrate. GSI Outdoors has unveiled its latest collection of Microlite Vacuum Stainless Bottles ($25 to $35). They’re designed to be 25 percent more compact and significantly lighter than traditional designs, and their 2 mm walls are thinner than those of plastic bottles. Available in an array of colors, patterns, and sizes, these bottles are lined with stainless steel and guaranteed to keep beverages hot for 10 hours and cold for 20. They also come with easy flip-and-twist lids, and recessed grooves for optimal grip.

  Perhaps your mother appreciates a good glass of wine on the go, too? Coleman’s new Claret Insulated Wine Glass ($15) will help her apres-ski in style, and class up a campsite or beach, too. Its vacuum-insulated stainless steel design keeps liquid at its ideal temperature in the outdoors (without producing any sweat), and a padded base cuts down on clanking and spills. Because if anyone deserves a celebratory toast once the tents are up and everyone’s settled, it’s Mom.

Now, she’ll need a comfy place to relax in the Great Outdoors, too. Alite Designs and The North Face recently teamed up to create a fetching, limited-edition camp chair she’ll love. Part of TNF’s Homestead Collection, the new Dragonfly Chair ($120) comes in a distinctive avian print and features nifty stash pockets for Mom’s phone and other accessories. The lightweight, collapsible model sits higher up off the ground and more upright than typical camp chair models. So go on and give Mom a well-deserved throne from which to hold campfire court. 

Give green-thumbed mothers more reason to spend time growing delicious and beautiful things with the gift of the Mother’s Day Gardening Tool Gift Set ($290) from Kaufmann Mercantile. Designed for the discriminating gardener, these tools, crafted by a Montana blacksmith, were shaped over anvil and set into hand-turned black walnut handles—to durable, unique effect.

Does your mother enjoy a soothing cup of tea? Her skin might, too! Formulated by herbalists, Teasane’s new Facial Tea Beauty Cream ($35/50 ml.) employs herbs like calendula, primrose oil, rosemary, and chamomile—rather than harsh chemicals—to calm, moisturize, and brighten, leaving her skin naturally supple and smooth, and her senses happy and relaxed.

Treat Mom to an ongoing dose of goodies that suit her lifestyle and ideals with a subscription to Urban Holistic. On a monthly basis, she’ll receive a curated box of ever-changing, ecofriendly and cruelty-free gifts such as handmade candles, vegan sweet treats and spreads, essential oils, body lotions, bath bombs, and more. The idea is to facilitate a healthier lifestyle and help recipients try out new and exciting products. Giftees can sign up for various options—from a $30 one-time gift to a $300 12-monthly supply.

Know of some can-do mothers who like to get things done? Whether they prefer to be in the garden, the garage, the campsite, the trails, or the fishing boat, such mothers tend to appreciate classic, versatile gifts. Enter one of Carhartt’s most comfortable shirts, the Ridgefield ($50). Available in a range of colors, this work-style piece offers sweat-wicking technology, a mesh-lined vent for optimal airflow, chest pockets for pens and tools, and long sleeves and a drop-tail hem to roll up, button, and tuck as desired. Plus, stains will wash out easily. Who says pragmatism can’t be stylish?

Got a conscientious mama who loves to cook? Blending art, photography, thoughtful essays from environmental leaders, and 80+ recipes, Matthew Prescott’s Food Is the Solution: What to Eat to Save the World ($30) is a beautiful new coffee-table cookbook that’s designed to help readers incorporate more plant-based foods into their diets. It includes original pieces by director James Cameron, actor Jesse Eisenberg, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, and more. Plus, it boasts endorsement from forward-looking thinkers and mothers, including farm-to-table pioneer and lauded chef Alice Waters and actress Tea Leoni.

Wouldn’t any Earth-loving Mama look nice in a sundress crafted from renewable wood and recycled cotton scraps? From Patagonia’s new ReCircle Collection, this dress ($119) offers a tank style, a comfy drop waist, and two roomy front pockets, and it's a great conversation starter (after all, its fibers were made from regenerative forest wood). It’s soft, versatile, ideal for the farmers' market, the garden, and the beach, and available in appropriately earthy hues of blue and green.

Perhaps your mother’s more into experiential gifts? IfOnly offers custom-tailored adventures (starting at $50) for once-in-a-lifetime activities that have giftees learning from experts and benefiting causes they care about (each experience is paired with a specific charity). There are lots to choose from, spanning the United States and beyond, but we’re partial to the Guided Hike With Ambassador Wolves ($300)—a tromp through California’s Los Padres National Forest with the handlers affiliated from Project Wildsong. Your mother will become immersed in the wildlands, enjoy a private encounter with protected wolves, and learn everything she’s ever wanted to know about the noble beasts. A portion of proceeds benefit Project Wildsong’s efforts to inspire education about and conservation of wolves and other indigenous North American wildlife. Trust us: This gift will make for one wild—and unforgettable—Mother’s Day.