With Mother's Day fast approaching, sons and daughters across the land are racking their brains to think of the ideal gift for their Mum. Having to give gifts not just on Mother's Day but also birthdays and Christmas, however, can sometimes leave the creativity reserves running dry. As such, gift-givers are left wondering whether they can justifiably give the same bottle of perfume for three years running.
This needn't be the case, as there are plenty of options for more heartfelt gifts that also provide a departure from the norm.
As noted above, perfume is an old favourite on Mother's Day and often resides in the back-up arsenal of gift-givers. It needn't be so predictable, however, with just a little creativity.
For example, there are a number of perfumeries on the market which allow people to design their own scents from scratch. You needn't be an expert either, as doing so is easier than it may appear on first thought, thanks to handy guides on 'top notes', 'middle notes' and 'base notes' which can all be tweaked. Armed with this information, shoppers can create a scent that isn't too much of a departure from their Mum's favourite (to alleviate risk), but also provide something a little different in the process.
Another Mother's Day staple, chocolate can also be spun in a way that ensures it doesn't look like the last box on the shelf was picked up in a last-minute dash.
One such way is to buy a box of chocolates that comes emblazoned with a photograph of the gift-giver with their Mum, or a personalised message to her. Alternatively, individual letters can be purchased to spell out a specific message, or a slab of chocolate can be iced with a unique message, often free of charge. Small touches, undoubtedly, but ones which make all the difference on the day.
The last of the "Big Three" Mother's Day gifts, flowers - just as with perfume and chocolates - can be given a much more heartfelt twist by simply moving away from the tried-and-tested bouquet.
A great way of doing this could be for gift-givers to purchase a bouquet of roses which share a name with their Mum. There are ready-made kits on offer to those who want to name a new rose, but that's not the only option on offer. Many roses have already been given feminine names, so a quick search is likely to provide just what buyers are after. Then, a Jean, Helen, Susan, Christine - or almost any other - can receive a floral gift that's immeasurably more thought-out than a garage forecourt bouquet.
Mother's Day jewellery needn't start and end at a new necklace or pair of earrings. Instead, a more heartfelt gift may come in the form of a 'Russian Ring', which are made up of two (or more) rings that intertwine to illustrate a constant, never ending bond. Russian rings can then be worn on the fingers or around the neck attached to a chain.
Those really looking to push the boat out could even get the rings engraved with their Mum's name and their own, to make the gift even more personal.
Thankfully, paper cuts in this sense don't concern the searingly painful slice that paper can take out of your finger, but instead a new crafting phenomenon that is rapidly growing in popularity. It simply involves taking one piece of card then - using a sharp craft knife - cutting pieces out to create a stencil-like finished article.
Those wanting to set themselves a challenge could create their very own paper cut using a design that means something to them and their Mum. Otherwise, there are plenty of dedicated paper cutters out there who can be commissioned for a project or have off-the-shelf options to buy.
Experience days have become hugely popular in recent years, so much so - in fact - that packages can be picked up from many retailers on the high street. This has the added impact of being a gift likely to be remembered for years to come. After all, if you pressed any Mum on the box of chocolates they received a year or so ago, you'd be hard pushed to find any that remember even what brand it was. The opportunity to go hot air ballooning, rally car driving or just pampering at a spa, however, should stick in the mind a great deal longer.
The advent of new technologies has meant that deciding how to have your photographs printed stretches much further than just 6x4 or 7x5. Now, it's possible to get images on fridge magnets, box canvases, mugs, placemats and many, many more. This means gift-givers can depart from the photo-in-a-frame option of old to provide something rather different.
Plus, seeing as most photos are digital-only these days, it can be a lovely surprise for Mums to get their hands on physical copies once again.
Buying Mum a book can be rather precarious at the best of times. Whilst everyone has their favourite genre, there's nothing to say she'll enjoy the book, or hasn't already read it. That's not to say books should be avoided altogether, but instead that there are alternative routes to take.
For example, gift-givers who know their Mum's favourite book may be able to purchase a framed print of its cover to be hung on the wall. Most of the classics have already been rendered in this way, so if her favourite book is a well-known one, chances are it should be easy enough to find. Other options include the 'Spineless Classics', which print the entire text of a well known book onto a single poster, then wrap this text around a shape which plays a central role in the book.
For green-fingered Mums, something for the garden could go down very well indeed. It could also be emblematic to really make the gift a thoughtful one.
The appropriately named roses noted above could be a good start, or instead a sapling that could one day grow into a full-sized tree. Other options include flowers or herbs which could be used later on down the line in craft or cooking. Someone giving their Mum a strawberry plant could even include with it a promise to use the harvested fruits to make a jam once they are ripe enough.
Another old favourite is wine, with many people opting to bulk out their flowers or chocolates with a bottle of plonk. As this can be picked up at any supermarket or corner shop though, it sometimes looks impersonal or even indifferent. Instead, with just a little effort and forward-planning, gift-givers can instead brew their own special batch of wine for their Mums.
Starter kits are easy to come by and can be infinitely customisable - depending on preference. So for a Mum that loves raspberries, they can be added during the brewing stage for something really different from the norm. Be careful, though, as fruits contain sugar which is what's turned into alcohol during the brew, so be careful not to make it overly proofed!
Lastly, adding a home-made label to the bottle can finish the whole thing off with a flourish.
All of the above suggestions should illustrate one key point: even some of the more tried-and-tested Mother's Day gifts can be tweaked to make them much more personal and heartfelt. That way, there's no need to spend hundreds of pounds on your Mum to make an impact, but instead just give it a little thought and preparation in advance.