Let's face it, unless your mom's got something she's totally wild about or likes to collect, she's probably one of the toughest people on your holiday gift list. And its not because she won't absolutely love anything you get her. In fact, its for just that reason that she's  difficult.

What does she really want? What does she really need? What would mean the most to Mom?

Well, being a mom myself, and also asking a bunch of my mom friends, I have compiled a list of some thoughtful ways to show the mom in your life some love this holiday season. (and the good news is some of these don't cost a single cent!)

1.) Help a mutha out! I'm not talking about those adorable (and completely useless) coupon books we've all made that say "Good for one back rub" or "Good for one hour of me not pestering you" (although the thought is nice!) You want to give a mom in your life the best gift? Show up and start helping! This is an especially awesome gift for moms who have younger kids. They are guaranteed to have a laundry pile that's out of control, and likely a dishwasher that needs emptying. Grab some hot coffee to bring her, show up and get to work taking care of those little things. Blow her mind and offer to watch the little ones while she showers! If you have tweens or teens you can pimp out, even better! Offer their services for an hour or so. There's not a mother in the world that doesn't have a backlog of little projects she hasn't had the time to tackle, that could easily be completed in an afternoon, had she just the time do concentrate! (Think sock piles, receipt scanning, a basement reorg...those types of things.)

2.) Speaking of getting coffee, gift certificates to a mom's favorite coffee spot, or guilty pleasure (wine of the month, a bakery, even a magazine subscription for her) are inexpensive gifts, but go a long way to brightening a mom's day. Often mom's won't spend money on themselves, or feel immense "mom guilt" on spending on something we don't deem as a necessity. So giving them a way to treat themselves, even a little bit, here or there, is a great way to spread that cheer throughout the year.

3.) Make her feel pretty. Many of the moms I know very rarely feel like they look good. When you're running ragged after kiddos, glamming it up is a luxury! It takes time that mom's often don't have. So getting Mom a gift certificate to get a haircut and color, or a makeover (add in a massage or a manicure for bonus points) and you'll not only be making her outsides look good, you'll be giving her a major boost of confidence. And when Mom feels good, everyone benefits!

4.) Make a photo book for her. But here's the catch, and this one requires a little planning, so maybe put this on your list for next year; take pictures of her being a mom. Mom's take a million pictures of their kids, and often of their spouses with their kids. But aside from the awkward selfie angle, mom's are very seldom photographed in the act of momming (mostly because who has the time for that? not a mom!) Make a mental note, throughout the year, to catch the mom you love in action with her kids, or in moments you notice how awesome she is. Then put those moments together in a photo-book. And prepared for the waterworks and hugs.

5.) Detail Mom's ride! Do you know how gross that grocery-getter is? Food stuck in places you can't reach. Smells! Oh the smells! Take that Mom's van/car and clean it out!

Honorable mention:

A few of the mom's I spoke with said they wished someone would give them a gift certificate for a once-a-month maid, meal, or sitter. When you get at the heart of that, what mom's are asking for is time; either time to do stuff with their kids or with their spouses, or by themselves!  If you can help facilitate them having that time, that can be the thing that gets them through that month--the light at the end of the tunnel!

Sure, chocolates, jewelry and letting them sleep in are all great, too. And you know Mom will like anything because "its the thought that counts"--but why not try to wow your mom this year. And really THINK about her gift. What do you think? What's the best gift for a mom?

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