Presents not to buy your mother

I wrote this post after Mother’s Day (the UK version) and was going to save it for next year until I discovered that my transatlantic cousins have yet to celebrate this special day. More pertinently, I lost the post in a file on my Mac and have only just discovered it – vintage gold, my friends, vintage gold.

When the best you can hope for is a Mum’s Night Off bucket from Kentucky Fried Chicken, it’s a fair bet that Mother’s Day is going to be another wash-out.

Mother’s Day works on the principle that you can treat your dear old Mum like a domestic drudge for 364 days of the year and then wipe the slate clean for the cost of a nauseating card and a bunch of flowers from the garage which have been Mother’s Day-ed up with a sticker that says I Heart Mum.

It’s a bit like your employer spending an entire day being really nice to you – letting you come into work a little bit later, buying you a pot plant
for your desk, making you a nice cup of tea and telling you how much they appreciate you – and then not bothering to pay you for the rest of the year.

Every year the Brits spend around £100 million on Mother’s Day, which coincidentally falls on the same date as Retailers’ Money Spinning Day and Florists’ Mark Up the Price Day.

A hundred million pounds is a lot of money. It makes me wonder who got the rest of my share, taking into account the fact that I got a homemade card with a teabag taped to it and an I Love Mum mug from the 99p shop. Which of course, if my children are reading, I adored.

Oh lovely! A painted pasta necklace AND earrings! Now. Wheres my real present?

"Oh lovely! A painted pasta necklace AND earrings! Now. Where's my real present? Oh."

The market has even worked out how to squeeze a few quid out of people whose Mothers have had the very bad form to die and offered some suggestions to those of us who rather boringly only have one Mum to buy pointless and expensive rubbish for.

According to the frankly terrifying everythingmothersday.com, it wasn’t just our own dear old Mater who we should have been sending a card to, we should also have forked out for our “stepmothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, godmothers, aunts and even friends who are Mums”.

Fast forward a few years and we’ll be sending cards to every single female we know, including our pets and all those women who are causing a baby shortage in Britain because they selfishly want careers and white sofas without Wagon Wheels welded to the arms (“Happy Respecting Your Right Not to be Mothers Day!).

The answer to all this rampant consumerism is, of course, for us all to rise up as one and declare that we will shun future Mother’s Days and simply be nice to our Mums all year round without prompting from Clinton’s Cards or Interflora.

Whenever I need to shift mucus, Ill think of you.

"Whenever I need to shift mucus, I'll think of you."

But back in the real world, where people genuinely do appear to need reminding that the maid in the kitchen actually gave birth to them, it seems unlikely that we can do away with Mother’s Day entirely.

For a start, being nice all year might cost considerably more than a fiver and secondly if Mother’s Day was outlawed, the retailers would only come up with something even more all-encompassing, which would involve us buying cards and presents for everyone we know, regardless of whether we like them or not. Oh hang on, they already did: Christmas.

But anyway. Mother’s Day is here to stay and with this thought in mind, damage limitation is the only option. So here is a list of the presents you shouldn’t buy your Mum next Mother’s Day or indeed, ever.

1)    Anything remotely associated with the kitchen. Oven gloves which say “World’s Greatest Mum!” are still oven gloves. No one has ever said on their death bed: “I only wish I’d had more Mum-themed kitchen accessories”.

2)    The Mum’s Night Off bucket from Kentucky Fried Chicken. It’s a dream come true! A deep-fried meal served in a bucket and eaten with plastic cutlery! I do, however, see a marketing opportunity for KFC – how about renaming the product “Bulimic’s Night Off” and highlighting the fact that the bucket will cut out all those time-consuming trips to the toilet?

3)    One of those huge Toblerone chocolate bars with Mother’s Day branding. Have you ever tried to eat one of these monsters without the benefit of a hammer and chisel? It’s like gnawing on a section of the Forth Bridge.

4)    Oil of Olay Regenerist cream. Whatever “celebrity beauty writer” Nadine Baggott might say, buying her a cream for ageing skin is almost
literally laughing in your Mum’s face. You might as well find a picture of her when she was 20 and paste it inside her Mother’s Day card under the
heading “what went wrong?”.

5)     Purple Ronnie’s Little Book for a Lovely Mum. All tiny books full of cutesy cartoons or saccharine quotations are the work of the Devil. Trees have
died to produce this pointless, fiddly, idiotic nonsense. Adding Purple Ronnie – who is as heartwarming and amusing as a case of leprosy – into the mix is simply taking the piss.

My hatred for Purple Ronnie shows no bounds. Purple Ronnies Little Book of Being an Immense C**t more like. Swearing sponsored by Tannerleah

My hatred for Purple Ronnie shows no bounds. Purple Ronnie's Little Book of Being an Immense C**t more like. Swearing sponsored by Tannerleah

6)    Housework Songs by Various Artists. The very fact that this compilation album was ever made makes me fear for the future of the human race. Anyone who buys their Mother a CD designed to make them get a move on with scrubbing the toilet bowl should feel ashamed of themselves. Ashamed and dirty.

7)    Flowers which cost less than £10 (unless you are an infant and have the paperwork to prove that you have no savings whatsoever). If you had any idea how much giving birth hurt, you would not be buying your mother pollution-flecked flowers from a garage forecourt.

8   A “MUM” sovereign ring. Touching as it is to buy your Mother a present which prepares her for being attacked outside a pub, you might like to think about buying her something a little more subtle. Like a flick knife or a flame thrower.

9)    Any gift which bears a large sticker saying “Perfect for Mother’s Day!” (unless it’s diamonds, Johnny Depp, a vineyard or a self-cleaning house). This rule is especially important in supermarkets, where gifts labelled thus will inevitably involve the presence of Ronan Keating, Barry Manilow or jam.

10) A DIY Will Kit. It’s not thoughtful, it’s creepy. Particularly when your Mother finds the first line of the “chief beneficiaries” section already helpfully filled in.


15 Responses to “Presents not to buy your mother”

  1. April 4, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    I ❤ this post.

    I come from a family that does not do mothers day on the basis of “if you need one special day to remember me on. Please do not bother.”. I shall not be inflicting it on my child and I won’t be pleased if others try to guilt him into it either.

  2. April 4, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    I suppose a sex toy would be out of the question.

  3. April 5, 2009 at 12:10 am

    My Mum doesn’t do mother’s day either. Then again, I am nice to her on a regular basis (and she has the benefit of being the only person on earth who can terrify me with a single stare).

    Sex toys are definitely out, GB. Although I’d prefer that to an I heart Mum oven glove.

  4. 4 pinnythewu
    April 5, 2009 at 8:18 am

    This was great, and depressing. I’m coming up for my first mothers day (last year didn’t count because all she could do was shit and puke) and I thought this was a good thing, until my mother told me that she hated mothers day because we would insist on making her breakfast in bed. It would take us an hour to prepare, while she sat there, bored off her arse waiting for us, only to end up with burnt toast on runny scrambled eggs and too much salt.

  5. 5 G
    April 5, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    A great list of what not buy my mother (or my wife for that matter).

  6. April 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    I thought I had become exempt from Mother’s Day madness when my old dear shuffled off to the Big Bingo Hall in the sky. No such luck 😦

    I forgot about the kids (if only I could!)

    When they were little I would buy a card and a present for them to give my wife (their mother) on Mother’s Day.

    Now the buggers have left home and are earning more money than me I’m still buying my wife stuff on Mother’s Day because I can’t rely on them remembering to do so themselves

    The b*stard that came up with the idea of Mother’s Day should have some Garage Forecourt flowers rammed up his (or her) arse !!!

  7. April 5, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    So, if I understand you cackling hens, any kind of recognition is not good enough? Humph…no teapots for you this year.

    And what about Father’s Day? Where is the complaining about it? I can only use so much cologne on any given day without have the entire zoo follow me to work.

    Suck it up, ladies. Suck it up.

  8. April 5, 2009 at 7:51 pm

    When is Mothers (and fathers day) in the UK??

  9. April 5, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Personally, I hate these BS ‘hoildays’ and have told my kids to opt out. I would rather get a call to meet my daughter (who’s in college) for coffee some random Tuesday than get a stupid card that she didn’t want to buy anyway.

    Nice to see Tannerleah getting swearing props across the pond. He’s becoming the James Bond of foul language.

  10. April 5, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    I’m waiting for the greeting card that says simply “Thank you for birthing me.” The one thing anyone can safely say that isn’t a lie. Unless they’re suicidal, I guess. But that’s too depressing a thought – let’s not go there.

  11. April 5, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    A brief glance at the history of Mothers’ Day indicates that the Brits started having a Mothering Day back in the 1600’s to get out of Lent for an afternoon. In the 1800’s an American woman named Julia Ward Howe got riled up about all death in the Civil War as well as the Franco-Prussian War and called for a Mothers’ Day for Peace. http://mothersdayforpeace.com/history.php

    My family was never keen on Hallmark Holidays either. Or KFC for that matter – you don’t have to be a bulimic to need that bucket. Great List.

  12. April 6, 2009 at 1:33 am

    I enjoy this sort of days as an excuse to offer someone special a gift, without them looking at you funny or suspecting your reasons for just wanting to be nice.

    Please accept the Splash award, WIB, your blog rocks!


  13. April 6, 2009 at 4:10 am

    Great list! Do they really have a soundtrack for housework? I guess they do, or you wouldn’t have listed it otherwise. I’m just shocked that it exists.

    Now, I’m not a mother, and since I’m a pod-person I don’t have a mother either. I just have a perti-dish and a gigantic pea pod to buy schmaltzy cards and flowers for. They’re always happy to get them though. Guess I lucked out in that department.

    I added you to my blogroll. Because you’re funny.

  14. April 6, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    Housework Songs? Really? I question the sanity not only of anyone who’d buy this for his/her mother, but even for him or herself. Why do things like that even exist? Seriously?

  15. 15 Spudulika
    April 16, 2009 at 9:40 pm

    The housework songs cd is for people who really can’t stand their mothers and want a ‘subtle’ way to let them know.

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