Mother’s Day is nearly here; for those who aren’t on the ball and still scratching their heads for ideas, here’s a quick-and-dirty short list of ideas.


Photo courtesy of Collage Gallery.

For the Fragrance-Oriented

Rather than a fragrance gift set from the nearest department store, customized hair and skin care products from Heliotrope in Noe Valley express much more thoughtfulness. Heliotrope’s founder Jonathan offers all-natural products with an emphasis on local suppliers and simple organic ingredients.

The products begin unscented, and the Heliotrope team consults with each client to create personalized scent blends using all-natural essential oils. With goodies like Soy & Shea Butter Massage Candles (melted wax doubles as moisturizing massage oil), Walnut & Botanical Exfoliating Wash and various sampler kits, Heliotrope is an ideal destination for those looking for natural body product gifts.

ElizabethW in Ghiradelli Square identifies as “a truly local perfumery”, sourcing locally and handcrafting goodies in their San Francisco workshop. Though some may think perfumery is limited to, well, perfumes and bath and body products, ElizabethW’s extends the concept to the home with their “Perfume for the Home” collection, replete with candles, perfume diffusers, room sprays, dryer sachets and scented linen water.

The Sweet Dreams collection’s scented Flaxseed Eye Pillows, Hot-Cold Flaxseed Packs, Buckwheat Neck Rolls and Sleep Masks come in beautifully patterned silks and are perfect for moms who need a little R&R. ElizabethW’s enticing scents combined with beautifully designed packaging make ideal gifts for ladies who love scents.

Image credit: Succulence

Low-Maintenance Greenery

For recipients who need their plants low-maintenance yet intriguing, Utsuwa Floral Design fits the bill. A full-service bonsai, flower and plant shop in the Polk Gulch specializes in bonsai, air plants, terrariums and succulents. From green moss balls in tall vases filled with water to air plants set in hanging terrariums to live greenery arranged in picture frames, every arrangement is a work of art.

Succulents make great gifts; unlike bouquets, they’re longer lasting and can serve as a constant reminder of the bestower. Another fantastic place to shop for these is Succulence in Bernal Heights. The very knowledgeable staff complements “supplies for succulent living”. Prefer to put together a custom arrangement or terrarium? They’ve got anything and everything one could want. If Mom is into taking classes, Succulence also offers those for Vertical Gardening; check the website for details.

The Gourmand

If Mom goes gaga for cheese, she’s sure to love Cowgirl Creamery’s “Milk to Cheese” tour at the Petaluma creamery, a tour of cheese-making from the cow onwards. Prefer to stay in the city? There’s also the Cowgirl Ferry Building Experience, a half-hour guided visit and tasting for groups of ten ($100 for the group).

For giving the gift of cheese, Cowgirl Creamery offers several cheese clubs ranging from three-, to six-, to 12-month subscriptions. With cheese often comes wine, and San Francisco has no shortage of wine clubs. The San Francisco Wine Trading Company offers three club packages: Tour the World ($29/month), California Dreaming ($49/month) and Cellar Club ($99/month). Members of any of these clubs receive two carefully selected wines a month.

Beautiful Baubles

For the mother who enjoys jewels, independently-owned elle-même has a lot to offer including expert help for shoppers who know nothing about jewelry or have no idea what their giftee would like. Owner Denise Kohne handpicks vintage and antique jewelry and has been known to recommend perfect pieces based on as little as a photo or description of other things the giftee enjoys. Vintage costume jewelry, Bakelite, brooches, antique lockets, cocktail rings — nothing here is under 25 years old.

For another flavor, Collage Gallery in Potrero Hill showcases jewelry from local female artisans as well as silk scarves, refurbished clocks and cameras, and other pretty trinkets that make for great gifts

Image courtesy elle-même