What not to get Mom for Mother's Day
Eau de Play-Doh? Maybe not. Other gifts gone wrong: Lingerie, anti-aging creams, cleaning gadgets.
By Parija Bhatnagar, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Mother's Day is coming soon, and for anyone who hasn't yet thought of a present for Mom, this may not be the best day to experiment and deviate from the norm.

Trend specialists advise that it's better that people stick with the tried and true options like jewelry, fresh flowers, a trip to the spa or to a nice restaurant and resist the temptation to pick up something gimmicky like "Play-Doh" perfume or hot pink "Princess" toilet brushes from eBay.

Hasbro is touting a
Hasbro is touting a "PLAY-DOH" fragrance just in time for Mother's Day.
Gifting mom a gym membership on Mother's Day is a dicey proposition.
Gifting mom a gym membership on Mother's Day is a dicey proposition.
Also, trend experts suggest people avoid gimmicky gifts for mom such as this hot pink toilet
Also, trend experts suggest people avoid gimmicky gifts for mom such as this hot pink toilet "Princess" brush and crossword puzzle quilt listed as "Mother's Day" gifts on eBay.

"I think what mothers really want this year are service-type gifts. All these other types of gifts are bad ideas," said Irma Zandl, trend specialist and head of trend forecasting firm Zandl Group.

For example, a gift certificate to the spa, or hiring a housekeeper or a gardener for a day or a full week indicates to mom that you're listening to what her life is about and it brightens up her day, Zandl said.

"A lot of moms like Mother's Day to be a family day," Zandl added. "So think about taking mom to the movies and dinner. Many women that we've interviewed tell us they want their family together and no drama for one day."

The good news for moms is that consumers seems to be in tune with Zandl's advice.

According to a Mother's Day survey last month from the National Retail Federation (NRF), not only are people planning to spend more on average for Mother's Day - $122.16 up from last year's $104.63 - but the most popular gifts do include a trip to the spa, jewelry or treating mom to dinner.

Some companies such as toymaker Hasbro (Research), will try to lure consumers with "unconventional" gift ideas. To commemorate Play-Doh's 50th birthday, Hasbro has bottled the Play-Doh scent into a limited-edition fragrance just in time for Mother's Day.

What does Zandl think? "The bottomline is that moms appreciate anything they get but it's still nice to avoid the ludicrous gifts."

She's also on the fence about fake flowers and gifting mom with a gym membership. "Attitudes have changed regarding fake flowers. Just like a fake Christmas tree, many women now think of silk flowers as a gift that keeps giving."

Nevertheless, fresh flowers are nicer.

Only give mom a gym membership if she specifically has been talking about joining the gym, Zandl said, otherwise it can be misconstrued. "If mom has gained a few pounds and you give her a gym membership out of the blue, you could get a few stony stares," she warned.

Lingerie, for the most part, is an absolute no-no. "It's just creepy," she said.

Drew Neisser, president and CEO of marketing firm Renegade Marketing Group, offered some more suggestions about Mother's Day gifts to avoid.

One is anti-aging cream. "Unlike your birthday, Mother's Day is not an occasion to reflect on how old you are, or how bad you're looking," he said.

Another is Cadbury Cream Eggs. "When you want to give chocolate, don't buy off the Easter discount rack," Neisser said. Don't even go near the Swiffer Duster, he warned. "Any household cleaning appliance is risky, especially one you picked up in Aisle 10 (of the supermarket)."

Finally, for all the high-schoolers out there - "Avoid bad news on this one day," he said. " Now's not the time to tell Mom you won't be graduating with your class later this month. Wait until Monday."


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