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The Lightest Things That Make Good Gifts, According to Moms

Photo: courtesy of the retailers

The moms we know love to brag about how light their stuff is and rank the weight of a bag or an umbrella or a pair of sneakers ahead of almost all other criteria. That’s because they carry so much around every day — including other humans. But even after their children are fully grown, most moms keep an emergency stash of Band-Aids, Advil, tissues, trail mix, phone chargers, notebooks, and pens in their bag, just in case. When you’re carrying that much stuff, the weight of your bag and the lightness of your sneakers start to matter a lot more.

We asked a bunch of real-life moms to tell us about the lightweight things they want to get this Mother’s Day and then added a bunch of Strat-approved ultralight gifts ideas to the mix. Whether you’re shopping for a mom who’s still carrying a baby around, one who spends her time chasing toddlers, or an empty nester with a bad back, we’ve found the best lightweight gifts to help her take a load off.

Lightweight bags

First and foremost, a lightweight carryall is a mom necessity. This aptly named Cloud bag from Baggu weighs very little (eight ounces, to be exact) and can be folded into a pouch the size of a notebook. “I’d love a new lightweight purse that fits everything but that’s easy to carry,” says Sari Baez, VP of sales and marketing at Diplomacy and the mother of an 8-year-old boy. “In the spring and summer, I tend to carry everything with me all day since the kids stay out longer. A heavy purse only gets heavier as the day progresses.”

If the Cloud’s not light enough, consider giving her one of Baggu’s reusable shopping bags, which also fold into their own pouch and weigh just 3.2 ounces — about a quarter the weight of an apple.

Lightweight fitness gear

If you’re looking for the absolute lightest pair of shoes, these sneakers from Native are a favorite of Strategist writer Lori Keong. They weigh just nine ounces, compared with a pair of Converse that weighs around 12.

Comfortable and lightweight clothing can mean the difference between a good day and a stressful day. Mom of two and communications expert Liz recommends these cropped leggings for moms who exercise or who just want to feel unrestrained: “I love to feel comfortable while completing all of the different tasks I have on my plate, which is why I would personally love another pair of Lululemon Athletica leggings for Mother’s Day. They’re incredibly lightweight and honestly make me forget I’m even wearing them. And they make your booty look amazing.”

When we checked in with yoga teachers to find the best mats, several recommended Jade’s for their grip and portability. This Jade mat is the brand’s lightest of all, weighing in at just 1.5 pounds, compared with the Manduka Prolite, which weighs 4.4 pounds.

This Strategist-approved foldable water bottle combines two things moms love: lightness and hydration. Plus its built-in carabiner attaches nicely to a gym bag or stroller.

Lightweight office supplies

From $8

“These black pens are so smooth, light as a feather, and easy to use,” says Liza Grando, a mom to a 6-year-old in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Grando uses them for jotting down notes, writing birthday cards, or signing off on homework. “I have at least two in every single handbag or tote I own.”

If she’s serious about traveling light, Mom will love this pocket-size weekly notebook that lets her set the year, month, and day. For context, this notebook weighs half as much as a softcover Moleskine weekly calendar.

A lightweight pair of readers


Wire-rim glasses tend to weigh less than chunky plastic frames. These stemless readers are light as a feather and thin enough to fit in your pocket.

A lightweight hair dryer

Moms who spend a lot of time drying their hair will tell you a light hair dryer is a godsend. And when we asked experts to tell us about their favorites, most of them said lightness is key. This affordable dryer from Conair weighs in at a delicate two pounds, compared with the Dyson, which weighs over four.

A lightweight phone charger

If you’re constantly running out of power, packing a reliable backup charger is key. Baez is looking for a portable battery to charge her phone that won’t weigh down her bag. “I could also use a lightweight charger for my smartphone,” she says. “My battery is always dying on me!” This is the lightest-weight power bank Anker makes: It’s just 6.34 ounces, compared with the 13-ounce version.

A lightweight pair of sandals

Strategist contributor and Birkenstock aficionado Alison Freer wrote about the joy of finding these light-as-a-feather, supercomfortable Birkenstock sandals: “They weigh next to nothing — making them both light on your feet and a dream to pack for travel.”

An extra-lightweight umbrella

Strategist editor Alexis Swerdloff researched and bought this umbrella for her mother a few years ago as an upgrade to her tiny, light, but not very wind-resistant umbrella from T.J. Maxx.

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The Lightest Things That Make Good Gifts, According to Moms