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May 10, 2020, 4:06 p.m. EDT

Weird and wonderful Mother’s Day gifts to stay connected — vibrating bracelets, virtual classes with top chefs and ‘friendship lamps’

If you are looking to splurge on mom on May 10, consider one of these five social distance friendly gifts

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By Elisabeth Buchwald


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Mother’s Day spending is expected to reach $26.7 billion this year, up from $25 billion last year, despite the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 10 this year.

There are no rules for Mother’s Day during a pandemic or any other year, but there are ways you can use technology to say connected in surprising ways.

Mother’s Day spending is expected to reach $26.7 billion this year, up from $25 billion last year, despite the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the National Retail Federation, the highest level in the trade group’s 17-year-old survey. This year, nearly 8,300 adults were surveyed between April 1 and 6. They’re expected to spend $205 each on gifts and celebrations on the day, $8 more than last year.

See also: 4 tips for sending Mother’s Day flowers during the pandemic

Diane Gottsman, author of “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life,” and founder of The Protocol School of Texas, said Mother’s Day may not be until May 10, but advises planning now. “The etiquette for Mother’s Day is you do your best,” she said. “What would be hurtful is forgetting mom completely — you want to make sure she feels acknowledged and appreciated.”

‘Regardless of what’s happening in the world, Mother’s Day gifts should be something memorable and individualized.’

Elaine Swann, founder of The Swann School of Protocol

That doesn’t mean rushing to Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +2.49%  or other sites to buy presents that cost a lot of money, especially when up to 30 million Americans have filed unemployment claims over the last month and a half due to the economic impact of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

“Regardless of what’s happening in the world, Mother’s Day gifts should be something memorable and individualized,” added Elaine Swann, founder of The Swann School of Protocol in Carlsbad, Calif. During a time when many families are apart, she suggests a digital montage of photographic or even video memories, Swann said.

Another way of showing your appreciation: Make one of your favorite dishes so your mom doesn’t have to cook, if you live nearby, or simply share one of your favorite books with her. If you don’t live near each other, you can ship her baked goods or arrange to have a food-delivery service do food shopping for her. Here are other ideas for your mom this Mother’s Day:

1. Long-distance friendship lamp

This lap (pictured below) works by connecting to your Wi-Fi. Each time you wave your hand above it, your mother’s lamp will generate the same color, and she will know that you’re thinking of her (and vice-versa). There’s 20% off the listed price (below) in a Mother’s Day sale.

friendshiplamps.comDMAMBMCMDMEMGPREVIEWZBZDZQZRZSZTZU Sold on Etsy for $80 each.

2. Bond Touch Bracelets

While it’s no substitute for an in-person hug, wearing these bracelets can generate an effect from every corner of the Earth. Tap the band twice, and your mom will feel two taps on her wrist that is supposed to mimic your touch. You’ll also get notified when you miss a touch through the app.

Set of two bands are sold on Amazon for $98

3. Virtual cooking class

If you can’t take mom out for a meal in person, why not cook one with her? On The Chef & the Dish site books a Skype cooking class with top chefs from around the world. They’ll provide you with a shopping list in advanced. ( Online delivery services will send her all the ingredients she’ll need.)

Classes start at $299 each and are 2.5 hours long. You can find more details on classes here. the chef & the dishThe Chef & the Dish offers virtual cooking classes which people can take together from different locations.DMAMBMCMDMEMGPREVIEWZBZBRZDZDRZFZGZQZRZSZTZUPhoto

4. Book of the month

For every month, your mom can select five new books to get lost in. You can join her for a special rate of $9.99 a month. If you or your mom prefer to take your time reading a book you can skip a month without being charged before getting your next shipment.

Gift plans start at $49.99 for a three-month subscription.

5. Fitbit

Make sure mom is getting her steps in by making daily step challenges on the app (if you also own a Fitbit /zigman2/quotes/202323205/composite FIT +1.08% ). Fitbit is now offering free 90-day trials of Fitbit Premium which generates personalized health insights, workout plans and relaxation tools.

Fitbit trackers start at $49.95.

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Elisabeth Buchwald is a personal finance reporter at MarketWatch. She is based in New York.

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