CHRISTMAS shopping can be stressful at the best of times.
Shopping for your mother can make it more so.
Mothers are notoriously difficult to buy for because of the emotion usually involved - for many of us it is also a thank-you gift for the all the things she does to make our lives easier.
And if your mum is like mine then the question of "What would you like for Christmas?" is often answered with, "nothing love, just to spend time with my family".
Of course, getting nothing is not an option and if you opt not to go with a home-made gift, here are a few ideas to tickle your fancy.
Creams and potions as well as make-up and perfumes are always a fail-safe choice.
Mums are girls at heart and like the notion of sweet-smelling gifts and a little pampering.
Most department stores have shelves filled with beautiful looking jars and if your mum has sensitive skin or cares about how the products she uses are made, try stores like The Body Shop.
Hand creams start from $9.95 if the budget is tight or go for one of their gift packages where the hard work is done for you (from $19.95).
Perfumes used to be the preserve of the wealthy but with more choices on the market and with discount chemists entering the fray you can now get a bottle of mum's favourite fragrance at a modest price.
Chemist Warehouse has a discount of up to 80% on perfumes at the moment with celebrity endorsed products like Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker and Purr by Katy Perry around the $30 mark.
Nail polish makes an excellent stocking filler with Big W carrying a large range in the season's brightest colours from $2.
It used to be best to stay away from household products or kitchen appliances as gifts for Christmas.
After all mums who spend so much time cooking and cleaning hardly want to be reminded of those chores during the festive season.
But with so many funky looking labour-saving devices around it would be silly not to include them as a possibility on your list.
I find it difficult to function without a cup of coffee in the morning and how much nicer if that brew has a cafe quality rather than the aftertaste of instant.
Coffee machines come in all shapes and sizes and all price points.
Harvey Norman is offering bonus credit with Aussie Farmers Direct Produce with any machine over $150 and their range includes the Delonghi Espresso coffee machine and grinder pack at $598 as well as the bells and whistles Jura Z7 fully automatic coffee machine at a whopping $2999.
The Good Guys Cafe Crema 2 machine at $198 is affordable and easy to use but the trend these days seems to be for the capsule machines which seem to take all the fuss out of the exercise.
Aldi is offering their Expressi featuring a slim new design at $99 with Big W offering their Nescafe Dolce Gusto Piccolini at the same price and Woolworths joining the fray with the Caffitaly also at $99 or $79 for their Everyday Rewards members.
Mums with small kids or messy teens will appreciate the prowess of a handheld vacuum cleaner.
The bagless Stickvac Dirt Devil ($79) from Bunnings has a motorised rotating brush that also makes light work of pet hair while there are a host of choices available from Godfreys, Target, Kmart and the Good Guys starting from $59.
Books, especially cookbooks, are a popular gift.
Most of the top celebrity chefs manage to produce a book of their latest recipes or an adjunct to a television series usually with promises they can be easily replicated at home.
Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals (from $49.95) is available at most book stores as is Manu Fidel's French Bistro (from $43.95), Matt Preston's Best 100 Recipes ($49.95) and Donna Hay's Fresh and Light ($39.99).
Be sure to keep an eye out for cookbooks at stores like Big W, Kmart, Target and Myer who often stock them at reduced prices.
Clothing and bags are also a relatively safe go-to.
Summer means bright flowery prints and flattering beach ware as well as appropriate accessories.
Try Target for cover-ups (from $19.99), beaded straw hats ($16.99) and beach towels ($29.99).
Popular picks for mum
- Gift vouchers
- Pamper gift packs
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