mother's day 2020

The Best Gifts for Long-Distance Moms

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

The fact is, whether you live down the block, in another state, or across the world, most people move out of their childhood homes when they grow up. So most moms, in a way, are a long-distance moms. But some distances are further than others, and every May, those miles can feel palpable (especially this year). Whether she lives up the street or on another continent, a thoughtful gift will of course remind mom of you whenever she turns to it, which is always the next best thing to being there. To help you find that special something, we’ve rounded up 19 gifts for every type of long-distance mom, no matter where she may be.

A note that most everything below should arrive in time for Mother’s Day, but some things may require expedited shipping with a fee due to pandemic-related delays on companies’ shipping and delivery operations. We’ve noted shipping costs and estimated delivery times where applicable, but know that delivery estimates are constantly changing, and Mother’s Day is May 10, so the sooner you order, the better.

For the mom in the apartment upstairs

If the distance between the two of you is as simple as a staircase, she might be asking you to pick things up here and there from the outside world. With a Winc subscription, you can cross wine off that list, because she can get her favorite bottles delivered to her door. (For $39 a month, those deliveries take the form of monthly three-bottle boxes.) And if she’s the type to prefer natural wine or Champagne, our list of sommelier-approved wine subscriptions has options for her, too.

For the mom in the apartment downstairs

A subscription to her favorite magazine will stop her “borrowing” yours so much.

For the mom down the block

Everyone from podiatrists to fashion designers have told us that when it comes to comfort and arch support, Merrell shoes are a cut above the rest. These slip-on Merrell mocs would be the perfect thing for her to step into for her regular walks to your place to wave hello. If you think she’d want something even cozier, fashion designer Sandy Liang told us about a similar style that provides extra warmth and cushioning via a cozy fleece lining.

For the mom in another neighborhood

Because it’s harder than ever this year to deliver flowers yourself, leave it to Urban Stems, whose “signature packaging looks like a gift box,” according to Strategist writer Karen Iorio Adelson, who tested this and five other online flower-delivery services for the Strategist. Urban Stems, which does not charge a shipping fee, allows you to specify a weekday delivery date (either before or after Sunday, May 10), but warns that pandemic-related disruptions “may in rare cases cause delays.” To (literally) sweeten the deal, Urban Stems will add a free five-pack of Theo chocolate bars to any purchase if you use the code NYMOMSDAY at checkout.

For the mom in another city

Blue-light-blocking glasses are thought to help prevent headaches and migraines that come with too much screen time. If mom has been Zooming and FaceTiming with you more than ever before, she might appreciate these stylish tortoiseshell frames, which are also “the most comfortable pair of blue-light blockers out there,” according to Amazon reviewers.

For the mom in another state


Homesick allows you to choose a candle specifically inspired by the state mom is in (or the one you’re in). Each scent is specifically concocted with notes from its namesake state.

For the mom down South

A wine (and Champagne) cooler would be a great gift to make those summer spells on her porch longer and loungier. Reviewers praise this sleek stainless-steel cooler for the way it “cools down warm wine fast, and makes cool wine colder.”

For the mom out West

If mom loves her wide-open spaces but has the anxiety of an East Coaster when it comes to kindling a fire, the BioLite FirePit was built, in the words of contributor James Lynch, to “make even the most inept fire builder look like Prometheus himself.” According to Lynch, it’s compact, easy to use, and easy to clean, with “basically no smoke,” meaning mom can comfortably enjoy a night of star-gazing around it without smelling like a smokehouse. If she likes to grill, Lynch adds he’s made hamburgers, steaks, and grilled veggies on this, too.

For the low-tech mom on the opposite coast

This retro-looking plug-in headset will make her cell phone or Zoom calls feel more like the ones her mother used to make. Strategist senior editor Anthony Rotunno has been using it almost daily while sheltering in place (though he notes that “those with newer iPhones or devices that don’t have the standard headphone jack will need an adapter to make it compatible”).

For the high-tech mom on the opposite coast

This superlong, ten-foot charging cable means mom’s phone calls will never have to end because her phone’s runs out of juice. It’s one of our favorite 24 tech (and tech-ish) gifts for mom.

For the mom in another country

A robe is something mom will put on daily (and thus will make her think of you daily). The waffle fabric — a material beloved by illustrator (and mom) Maira Kalman — is a little cooler and more versatile than your plushier towel robe, making it perfect for the warmer months ahead. What’s more, Shopbop can express ship to any country in the world in under four days, for a $10 fee (though if you spend more than $100, that express shipping is free).

For the mom on another continent


A clear wristwatch like this one will help mom keep track of what time you’re available to take her calls. Whether she’s a Europhile or not, she’ll likely be impressed that this watch keeps time with the same technology used by the famously punctual Swiss railways. Ashford Watches’ only shipping option is next-day worldwide delivery for $30 (but even with that, this gift still comes in at under $100).

For the mom in New York City

“I’m just as tired of hearing about CBD as you are, but this oil works,” promises Strategist contributing editor (and mom) Jessica Silvester. If your mom is cooped up in the city, she’s probably more anxious than usual, so this could be just the thing for taking that edge off. Silvester’s favorite way to use it: Take one 50–100 mg dose before dinner to feel relaxed all evening long. Charlotte’s Web offers free ground shipping, with an estimated arrival of five business days from the order date. Should you procrastinate, you can pay $16 for two-day shipping.

For the mom in Alaska

While her days are longer and brighter up there this time of year, the northern state is known to have more dark days in a row than any other. Contributor Alison Freer recently told us about this neat-looking lamp that can help with that. She’s been “turning it on and basking in its light from about 7 to 8 a.m. every morning” while sipping coffee and reading emails, and finds “that it actually does have an effect on the rest of my day — it’s exactly like sitting outside with your face turned toward the full morning sun.” When mom’s not using it, the lamp looks cool enough to leave out on a table or can fold flat for easy storage.

For the mom in Texas

That famous dry heat is on its way to her front door, but Weleda’s nourishing Skin Food — a Strategist staple we write about again and again — will help her beat it by softening skin from head to toe (it works just as well on the face as it does on the body as it does on the feet). It’s so effective that Sweetbitter author Stephanie Danler told us she keeps separate tubes in her bedroom, car, and purse.

For the mom in Britain

Unlike New York, London hasn’t been Le Labo–fied yet. This scent — which is also the brand’s newest — will have mom ahead of the trend. Within Britain, Selfridges can ship it to arrive on the date of your choice for $11; it will also ship to any country in the world within six days for $30. (If you want to buy this for a mom in the U.S., Saks can ship the product nationwide; it also has smaller bottles available starting at $83.)

For the mom in Copenhagen

We bet she’d find it hard to resist a new pair of Glerups, which are perfect for padding around the house (that’s one reason we’ve called them the best wool slippers). The brand, which is headquartered in Northern Denmark, offers free shipping for any orders with a delivery address in the country. Gelurps also ships worldwide, but if you think a mom who lives Stateside would like them, Backcountry also has a bunch of styles in stock and won’t charge an international shipping fee.

[Editor’s note: Glerup’s Danish site, which Google can help you translate into English, lists prices in the Danish kroner, so the price shown is an approximate conversion to U.S. dollars.]

For the mom in France

Body oils have long been part of the French beauty routine. Mom will be able to use this one, which contains almond, argan, and macadamia oils, on everything from her hair to her face to her body (she can even drop some in a bath). Strategist contributor Sadie Stein calls it one of “the best beauty product in the world.” Galeries Lafeyette offers shipping in two to three business days within France (but only within France) for a $5 fee; if you want to get it for a mom living closer to home, it’s available on Amazon, with free shipping in the United States. (The Amazon bottle is twice the size, hence its higher price.)

[Editor’s note: Galeries Lafayette’s site lists prices in euros, so the price shown is an approximate conversion to U.S. dollars.]

For the mom in Spain

Whether she uses it for a Mother’s Day brunch spread or just as a snack, she’ll surely appreciate having some cured meat on hand — in smart packaging that seals in its “intense” aroma and moisture, no less. Within Spain, department store El Corte Ingles can get it to her in three to seven business days for a $5 shipping fee. It doesn’t ship internationally, but if cured meat is something your mom living locally will enjoy, we’ve got some of that (and more) on our list of the best food gifts for every type of mom.

[Editor’s note: El Corte Ingles’s site lists prices in euros, so the price shown is an approximate conversion to U.S. dollars.]

For the mom Down Under

Ugg Coquette Slipper

Australia’s winter is just beginning, and Ugg’s slippers are still among the most beloved, with cool people telling us these slides are key for “reaching peak coziness levels.” Shipping within Australia is easy through the brand’s Australian website — where these are currently on sale — which offers free shipping on all orders sent within Australia, with a guaranteed arrival within seven days. If you like the look of these for a mom Stateside, Zappos has them (at full price) and offers free shipping with a projected delivery date of six to ten days.

[Editor’s note: Ugg’s Australian site lists prices in Australian dollars, so the price shown is an approximate conversion to U.S. dollars.]

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Best Gifts for Long-Distance Moms