05/10/2013 01:30 pm ET Updated Jul 10, 2013

What Mom Wants More Than Flowers This Year

For Women & Co., by Laura Vanderkam,

A bouquet is nice, but the world is full of flowers in May. Why not get a little more creative for Mother's Day? Celebrate the mothers in your life (or drop some hints for your own gift) with these non-floral ideas:

Give her time.
What major chore does she hate? Getting her car serviced? Cleaning out the garage? Knock some major item off her to-do list so she has time to stop and smell the roses.

Donate creatively.
At, a charity that supports public schools, you can choose projects to fund in classrooms in your community. Search by "gardening" and a donation made in mom's name could help children grow their own bouquets. If she's into international development, make a loan in her name through the microfinance organization Kiva, and maybe you could help an agricultural entrepreneur in a developing country make a living selling flowers (or support any of hundreds of other projects).

Upgrade the bouquet.
Take the same concept as flowers -- a bunch of similar items bundled attractively - and take it up a notch. Cookies by Design delivers bouquets of cookies in many cities. You can bundle seeds and gardening tools, hobby supplies, boxes of chocolates, Patrick Swayze movies, or even romance novels if she's into those.

Nurture her wild side.
If she bristles at minivan-driving domesticity, help her tap into her adventurous inner-self. Give her a gift certificate for a zip-line tour, for surfing lessons, or a race car driving experience. If she's the kind of mom who's already conquered a half-marathon, pay her entrance fee for a regional Tough Mudder 10-12 mile obstacle course race and be there at the finish line to cheer her on.

Give her wellness.
Moms sometimes neglect themselves as they look after everyone else. A few sessions with a personal trainer at a local gym could get her back on track. Mom might also love a membership at a gym - particularly one with babysitting if she's got little ones. Or upgrade the usual spa package with a 1-year-membership at Massage Envy (franchises nationwide) so she can get a massage every month.

Let her shop.
Maybe mom wants to buy her own bouquet -- or floral purse, dress, shoes, etc. Why not take the kids off her hands and send her to her favorite store for a little Mother's Day shopping spree.

Make the bouquet last all year.
A membership at a botanical garden buys her the ability to admire beautiful flowers (without any of the gardening work) for 12 straight months. Or nab an art museum membership, so she can admire the still life paintings of flowers admission-free all year round.

Women & Co., a service of Citi, is the go-to personal finance source for women. By providing financial content, commentary and community, Women & Co.'s mission is to get women thinking and talking about personal finance. Founded in 2000, Women & Co. is one of the longest running personal finance websites dedicated to helping women strengthen their financial futures.