Whether you love her, hate her or are completely indifferent to her, your mother-in-law is an important person in your life. Why? Because she’s an important person in your wife’s life. What’s the quickest way to make your wife happy? Make her mother happy.
So, this year, when Mother’s Day rolls around, don’t show up empty-handed to brunch. The right gift will impress your wife, your in-laws, and bonus: make your brother-in-law look like the d-bag that you know he is.
Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry. We’ve put together a list of gift suggestions in accordance with how you feel about the lady. (Note: No mother-in-law in the picture? A lot of these work great for actual Mom, too.)
If You Love Her…
Nobody can believe it, but it’s true—you friggin’ love your mother-in-law. She’s fun to be around, she’s easy-going, and most important of all: she stays out of your shit. She’s not the type to go to lunch with your wife and rile her up about how you’re not doing something you should be doing. She doesn’t even do the requisite “When are you going to give me grandchildren” thing at holiday gatherings. In short, you won the mother-in-law lottery.
Want her to keep being awesome? Keep the lady happy. Splurge a bit. If you have a happy mother-in-law, you’ll have a happy wife, which are two precious things that money can’t buy.
Knomo Elektronista, $309
Is your mother-in-law still a workin’ girl? Get her this sleek Elektronista clutch that will help her keep all of her things organized. It even has a built-in battery so she can keep her phone charged and text you funny dog pictures or send you photos of things she’d like to buy you all day long.
iPad Mini 3, $399
Your mother-in-law is always staring into the screen of her old, dinged-up Kindle Fire. It’s her favorite thing in the world, but you both know she could use an upgrade. Nobody forgets the first person that buys them their first Apple product, and every time she picks it up (which will be constantly), she’ll think what a great son-in-law you are.
Kate Spade Cause a Stir Tote Bag, $158
The best kind of mother-in-law is the kind that you can have fun with. And truthfully, there’s nothing more fun than a mature woman with no responsibilities. Cocktails at noon? Sure, why not? Your mother-in-law is the living embodiment of “treat yoself,” so any family gathering features plenty of alcohol. Treat your favorite boozehound to this adorable Cause a Stir Tote Bag. She can take it to the liquor store the next time she needs to stock up.
“Wake Me For Champagne” Eye Mask, $16
If you want to receive the “Best Son-in-Law of the Decade” award, do the following: book a weekend getaway for your mother-in-law and your wife, preferably somewhere tropical. Give them both these “Wake Me For Champagne” Eye Masks and tell them they’re gonna need them on their flight to _________. You’ll be the hero of the year and bonus—you get to stir up some guilt-free weekend debauchery with your buddies.
If You Barely Know Her…
If you barely know your mother-in-law, that means either:
A.) You met and married your wife quickly—so quickly that you didn’t have time to get to know (or even meet) her family.
B.) Your wife is distant from her mother, which means that you are too. You see her once a year at Christmas and it’s awkward and everyone is overly polite because you’re virtually strangers.
Either way, your goal here is to try to get your wife to reveal one fact about this woman that you can glom onto—whether it’s “she loves gardening,” or “She drinks a lot of wine.” If not, it’s okay to go the safe route—candles, bubble bath, and chocolates.
Spa Experience Tin, $32
Sure, there are a lot of women who prefer showers to long baths, but this gift set is a good choice regardless—packed with bath truffles, milk bath tea, and shea butter lotion, she’ll either love it or consider it extremely regiftable.
Mother’s Little Helper Gift Basket, $50
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but let’s face it—that’s true for everyone. Who doesn’t love snacks? This appropriately-titled gift basket is filled with artisanal goodies (chocolate chip blondies, bite-sized pralines, peanut brittle) that your mother-in-law is sure to love (if your father-in-law doesn’t get to it first).
Thymes Mirabelle Plum Candle, $35
A candle is a great gift for someone you don’t know very well—it’s a nice little luxury that your mother-in-law probably likes to have around the house, but doesn’t want to spend $35 of her hard-earned money on.
Wildflower & Fern Bubble Bath, $36
See the Spa Experience Tin above—this is a good, safe gift. It has beautiful packaging and by giving it to your mother-in-law, you’re subliminally telling her that she should take some time to relax. A relaxed mother-in-law is a good mother-in-law, right?
If You Can’t Stand Her…
Before you got married, you thought the horrible mother-in-laws depicted in movies and on TV were just outlandish caricatures. Then you realized that women like this exist in real life, and—unfortunately for you—they exist in your life. This monster of a woman has an opinion about everything and it’s always a negative one. Not a week goes by that your wife isn’t in a fight with her about something insignificant. You’d rather eat a box of thumbtacks than go to Sunday dinner at her home. Things are grim. The unfortunate part about all of this is that this woman is going to be in your life for the rest of your life (or, for the rest of her life) so you have to figure out a way to deal with it.
The best route might be to buy her a gift that has some sort of passive-aggressive meaning that will make you feel better about the state of things, but not scream “I HATE YOUR GUTS” like not getting her anything would.
Purggo Portable Air Purifier, $30
Your mother-in-law is always complaining about something: the placement of the table in the restaurant, the cleanliness or temperature of your home, fictionalized “weird smells” that are giving her a migraine—the woman could go on forever. Get her this portable air purifier that can hang anywhere (the back of a car seat, a door handle, AROUND HER NECK)—it’ll make it look like you’re trying to be helpful and sympathetic.
Sick Bags, $165
It’s not that you want your mother-in-law to get E. Coli poisoning or strep throat, it’s just that you wouldn’t be mad if it happened. So, an appropriate gift for you to get her is a Sick Bag—a nicely designed bag that features germ-patterned lining. You read that right—you can choose from Streptococcus, E. Coli, and Coxsackie patterns and laugh maniacally to yourself as you give her the bag and she looks at the inside to see tiny brightly-colored germs and toilets. Your cover story can be that since she loves children so much, you thought she’d want to support a company like Sick, which donates a portion of every sale to help cure pediatric diseases.
Prisma Picture Frame, $15
You walk into your in-laws’ home and you see a cavalcade of family photos from every year. It looks like a Sears or Olan Mills photographer threw up on every wall. Notably missing from this gallery of forced family happiness is any photos of you. Interesting. Frame a photo of you and your wife from your wedding and give it to your mother-in-law. You’ll be silently calling your mother-in-law out for being insufferable, which is probably the closest you’ll ever get to actually doing that.
Monster-in-Law DVD, $5
If subtlety isn’t your thing, you might as well have a hilarious story to tell your buddies about the time you gave your terrible mother-in-law a DVD of Monster-in-Law. Hey, she alread