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That Thing Mom Really Wants For Christmas

Photograph by Twenty20

There's nothing worse than a last-minute gift picked up for Mom the day before the malls closed. We can always tell a thoughtful gift from a thoughtless one. Of course, this doesn't apply to gifts from kids. My daughter could draw a picture for me on Christmas morning, and my heart would soar.

No, I'm looking at you, dads, spouses, partners. There's pretty much no excuse. If you're overwhelmed by all the choices—or short on money or shopping time—consider going off-script.

Rather than get a crummy gift, give us moms something we really want:

1. Quiet time

When was the last time you had a quiet hour all to yourself? I don't mean those spare moments that invariably get interrupted with "Mom, Mommy, Ma!" I mean so quiet you could read a book or write a journal entry while listening to the birds chirp outside. You could say, "I'm taking the kids outside to play" or "I'm taking our toddler to lunch with Grandma."

Those are gifts of quiet time.

RELATED: 11 Family Blessings In Somewhat Messy Disguise

2. Let me go away to do that thing I do

We all have that thing we like to do which requires us to go out once in a while. It might be a yoga class, a run, a meet up with friends, a weekend retreat. Helping us get away to do that thing we do is a gift in itself. That definitely means not forgetting and even coming home early if possible. Bonus points if you don't ask us a million questions before we take off—just figure it out.

3. Make a meal so I don't have to

Speaking of food, our culture has deemed that no matter how busy we moms are, we still have to make sure everyone is fed. How about taking care of a meal? I'm not talking fast food though. I mean a home-cooked meal that at least attempted to get the kids to swallow a vegetable.

We don't need to spend money to have a special day.

4. Let us sleep
This year, give the gift of sleep. Mom is probably tired from decorating, cooking, making sure we got nice pictures for grandma, wrapping gifts and baking. We need a nap. Let us catch some z's while you handle the kids.

5. No-fuss skincare

If you're bent on getting something that can be wrapped, help us replenish our skincare stash. We're almost always in need of something. My effortless skincare picks: Josie Maran body butter ($35), Fresh lip treatment ($23) and Korres face wipes ($15).

6. Experiences and memories

We don't need to spend money to have a special day. Pack a picnic and head out to a picturesque spot. This is what we live for.

7. Comfy pajamas

This one's a no-brainer. We like to be comfortable as much as humanly possible. Is our loungewear tending toward wearing your old shirts? Surprise mom with some comfy pajamas. Stick to cute colors and understated winter motifs like snowflakes or faire isle prints.

An offer to babysit is always a fantastic gift.

8. Something that reminds us of our pre-mom life

Caveat: this is only a stellar gift if mom actually looks back on her pre-mom life with some kind of joy and longing. Find a book about a subject she finds interesting. Book her a hair appointment. Invite her to coffee or a movie, and handle the babysitting logistics.

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9. Babysitting
This one goes out to friends and family of moms. Please tell us you can come over to hang our with our kids, feed them pizza we ordered, keep an eye on them in case they choke on said pizza and watch a movie together or something while we go away for a while? The number of people we trust with our kids is small, and we don't like to ask or impose on those closest to us. An offer to babysit is always a fantastic gift.

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