Break out the brunch reservations. Mother's Day is coming.
If you haven't snagged a table at your favorite mimosa-pouring eatery, there's still time. And on the maternal gift-giving front, you've got a little less than one week left.
Being original on Mother's Day is a nice idea. It's also a tiring one. The cliched presents that sites offer year after year are offered precisely because moms love them, and they're tough to beat.
Consider, for example, gardening stuff. The dirt wrangler's temple, Smith & Hawken (www.smithandhawken.com), sells everything from the ethereal (lavender dryer sachets) to the pragmatic (Felco rose pruners, which when we visited were on sale for $36).
Alas, the site doesn't offer two of our favorite items, available at most of its real-time stores: the adjustable-width metal rake and the Japanese garden knife, which, with its pruning, digging, chopping and weeding abilities, is truly the Ginsu of the garden.
For moms who prefer not to get their hands that dirty, Red Envelope (www.redenvelope.com) sells a sweet garden pin in the shape of a watering can; the sterling-silver vessel, $24, can actually hold a fresh garden flower.
At The Basketeer (www.cindybrickley.com), the Flower Buggy cross-pollinates the tried-and-true garden theme with another holiday standby, the gift basket. Filling this 2-foot-long, wire buggy are fattening treats such as banana split shortbread cookies and dark and milk chocolate truffles. In truth, the gardening connection with this $87.50 gift is vague, but after you've eaten the goodies the wire buggy makes a nice planter.
Jewelry is another Mother's Day tradition. A grown-up adaptation of those baby bracelets of long ago is available at Mother's Bracelet (www.mothersbracelet.com). The site will create a bracelet with sterling, gold or gold-filled beads and silver blocks that can spell names up to 13 letters long. The bracelets come with a safety chain.
If you're willing to go out on a limb--stylewise, that is--Nordstrom (www.nordstrom.com) sells a crystal bracelet watch smothered in Austrian crystals and in such colors as sky blue, crystal, rose and peridot.
Just as whimsical, but pricier, is a Swarovski crystal diving watch with four translucent, interchangeable bands found at Supply Curve (www.supplycurve.com). Before you spend $275, note that this diving watch "is not meant to be submerged." What?
If Mom's style is a little more world beat, consider the selections at eZiba (www.eziba.com). On the jewelry front, there are Maasai beaded bracelets at $20 each, and a $42 Egyptian fortune necklace inspired by the fashions of Nefertiti's day. Amulets containing papyrus scrolls were all the rage in the 4th Century B.C.
Matriarchs with more of a Jackie O. vibe would probably appreciate the selection at Ashford.com (www.ashford.com). You needn't spring for the diamond studs, unless, of course, you can afford to. You can get a snappy pair of earrings for less than a hundred bucks.
Moms are always in charge of a lot of stuff, which makes a tote bag a practical idea. But it can also be an elegant one: The handcrafted bags and accessories at Designs by Sandra (www.designsbysandra.com) are as fashionable as they are functional, with fabric themes such as "children of the world" and "flappers."
Totes, hobo bags, garment bags, pocket books, shoulder bags, change purses, fanny packs, eyeglass and cosmetic cases, checkbook covers--you could have a major matchy-matchy moment at this site.
The best mothers have a sense of humor. At Gifts24 (www.gifts24.com), the "Royal Queen" gift basket, $39.50, arrives in a "jeweled" crown. Inside is a bar of scented soap; a cotton washcloth embroidered with a royal Q; a terry bath pillow for lounging in the tub; gourmet chocolate mint truffles; and a light-up star scepter perfect for bonking unruly subjects with impunity.
For aristocratic mothers who prefer a lower-wattage declaration of their status, the site also offers a handmade "Queen Mother" pin, $42, which has a collage of vintage images and is studded with Austrian crystals and gold-plated bezels, whatever that is. Ask your mother. She knows everything anyway.