Eco-friendly gift ideas that will keep giving long after Mother's Day

Buy your mom a bee house, help her start a butterfly garden or beautify her tablescape with sustainable napkins

If the mother figure in your life cares about leaving our planet a better place for the next generation, then maybe jewelry isn't the way to go for Mother's Day. 

Flowers can be a nice gift for your mom, but shortages are driving the prices up this year, and it could be time to look for other ideas.

Here are some sustainable gift ideas that will continue to tell her she's special long after mom's day, which is really every day. 

P.S. In case you forgot. Mother's Day is this Sunday, May 8.

Adopt a wild animal (but it stays in the wild)

If the mom or grandma in your life is an animal lover, she will think the following two ideas are extraordinary.

Save the Manatee Club's Adopt-A-Manatee program enables you to donate to help fund the protection of manatees and their habitats. In turn, you get a certificate, information and a photo of a real manatee. Your mom will get updates on her manatee and enjoy knowing her gift went to help one of these beautiful creatures.

Maybe your mom likes big ears instead of sea cows. How about an elephant? 

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates a nursery at Nairobi National Park in Africa, where orphaned elephants are rehabilitated before returning to the wild. Choose from one of the rescued orphans the organization is helping to adopt in your mom's name. The digital adoption includes a personalized adoption certificate and a monthly email about the orphan, and additional access to photos and video. 

Native plants to attract bees and butterflies

Check with your local garden store or flower farm to ask about a seedling starter tray. These trays can include flowers and plants that will attract bees and butterflies. Just make sure they are native to the area where your mom lives. 

Milkweed is a great plant to attract monarch butterflies and their primary breeding ground during the Monarch migration. 


A hanging blueberry plant can fit on most patios or make a beautiful addition to a garden. Berry bushes are a favorite for bees to pollinate in the springtime.

Buy her a (bee) house

Managing a beehive for honey can be a lot of work. But there are many types of bees, and they all help plants and trees cross-pollinate. 

Mason bees, for example, are excellent at pollinating fruit trees and home gardens. Mason bees nest in holes rather than hives, which can be made out of hollowed wood or other natural sources. 

Buy the mom-like figure in your life a Mason bee home. Usually made of bamboo or other wood, these homes will ensure bees will want to stick around and pollinate plants in your garden. 

Bee homes for Mason Bees can be found at your local gardening stores, Costco, Lowes and Home Depot. If you want to build one, the Michigan State University Extension has these helpful step-by-step instructions to care for wild bees. The guide called "Building and Managing Bee Hotels for Wild Bees" is also available in the online MSU bookstore.

Don’t have room for a bee home? The World Wildlife Foundation offers a virtual bee adoption kit. Donate to WWF, and a honeybee-themed certificate will be sent to your mom along with a photo and a plush bee. 

Eco-friendly, beautiful packaging

Speaking of bees, if your mom is trying to use less plastic. Bees wax wraps are a good alternative to plastic bags or other containers. Bee's Wrap offers some beautiful prints in different sizes to keep fruit, veggies, bread and sandwiches fresh. 

The wraps can be used many times for a year or longer with proper care. When you are ready for new ones, the wax wraps can be composted or used as a fire starter, according to Bee's Wrap. 


Elevate her tablescape but make it good for the Earth

Maybe it seems a bit fancy, but reusable cloth napkins are more affordable in the long run instead of buying and throwing away paper napkins with every meal. Also, they are stunning.

This botanical set of napkins on Food52 is made of flour-sack cotton, making them soft and absorbent. Or pick her favorite color in these vintage-inspired cotton napkins.