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