mother's day

The Best Virtual Gifts for Mother’s Day

Photo: FG Trade/Getty Images

Right now, it’s understandable if you’re not able to see your mum in person this Mother’s Day. And while it’s never been easier to send something in the post (whether you usually get her a small gift or simply a bouquet of flowers), a virtual gift is a nice way to let her enjoy something quintessentially pre-COVID — like theatre or a fitness class — that can be enjoyed safely in the home.

Some of the digital offerings listed below are live events, while others come in the form of videos you can watch at your own leisure. And some are solo, while others involve groups. We’re confident that, if you’re stumped how to show your mum some love in a decidedly weird time, our suggestions will inspire you to find a great gift this Mother’s Day.

Virtual learning gifts

For the mum already on her third Bridgerton rewatch

Taking place across 30 videos (totalling six and a half hours), this Masterclass with Shonda Rhimes covers things like how to create compelling characters and tips on pitching your idea, and includes original pilot scripts and pitch notes from Rhimes’s shows.

For the mum who has started talking to the cat

If she is desperate for some highbrow conversations, the V&A hosts all kinds of talks that might pique her interest. Recent guests have included fashion designer Jenny Packham and artist Katerina Jebb. Some talks are even free — and many include a link to a recorded video of the discussion so you can rewatch it later.

For the mum who misses people-watching in the interval

The National Theatre offers subscription packages — £83 a year or £8 a month (they also do one-off purchases for individual plays from £6). So if she’s still not seen Angels in America, you could treat her to a night at the theatre (dress code entirely optional, of course).

For the mum who spends an hour rearranging her daffodils

Perfect for the mum who has arranged more than a few Bloom & Wild bouquets and wants to take it to the next level. This online class is inspired by the work of Constance Spry, considered to be the 20th century’s most influential floral decorator, and covers both conceptual and technical aspects of floristry. During the course, which consists of nine modules that can be viewed or paused at any time, attendees will create three designs — a root floral arrangement, a bridal bouquet, and a green arrangement. The course also comes with a downloadable workbook with step-by-step instructions and extra resources.

For the mum who always says ‘yes’ to dessert

This live workshop from the Borough Market–based bakery is their most popular — and teaches you how to make donuts, creme patissiere, and raspberry jam. It requires a bit more prep than other courses, but Bread Ahead sends out instructions beforehand, as well as an ingredient and equipment list (though they use an air fryer to cook their donuts, at home a heavy-bottom saucepan is used). As this is a live workshop, attendees must book in advance, and the class takes about two and a half hours in total.

For the mum who calls kombucha ‘booch’

If she’s been talking up the benefits of fermentation for a while, then a class might be a good option. Less daunting than an hours-long cooking class, this fermentation class lasts just 60 minutes and is perfect for beginners. It is taught by Alice MacKinnon, a plant-based chef and product consultant, and covers different kinds of fermentation and the basic principles. It also teaches three recipes: a classic kimchi, lacto-fermented vegetables, and a fermented hot sauce.

For the mum who misses the great outdoors

There have been plenty of virtual drawing classes popping up in the last year, but Wild Life Drawing combines that with live-video links to different species of animals. Their upcoming slate includes sloths from the Jaguar Rescue animal sanctuary in Costa Rica, sea turtles from the Charles Darwin Foundation in the Galapagos Islands, and a lizard-drawing session with a chameleon named Captain Jack from Snakes Alive, a reptile centre and sanctuary near South End. Each class includes an introduction from WLD founder Jennie Webber, who goes through a basic demonstration of how to draw each session’s animal by breaking them down into different shapes. The class is perfect for beginner artists, as it offers hints to capture the animals’ more difficult features (such as the chameleon’s scales and spikes), and attendees are encouraged to ask questions throughout. Fifty percent of each ticket sale is donated to the causes featured in each session, and they change each month.

Virtual exercise gifts

For the mum who is Peloton-curious

Though the Peloton bike has become something of a lockdown status symbol, you don’t need to shell out £2,000 to get involved. The company’s digital membership starts at just £12.99 a month and allows access to their entire library of classes. You can access classes via the Peloton app, which works on smartphones, tablets, and TV screens, so Mum can sneak in a quick workout before her next Zoom meeting or even coordinate a weekly class with her mates on the weekend. The classes include HIIT, yoga, meditation, and strength training.

For the mum who yearns to go dancing

If your mum has a pretty unpredictable schedule, consider a membership to a yoga studio where she can pick and choose classes to fit around her other commitments. MoreYoga has freelance teachers doing classes online, but you could also book her a one-off class with a specific instructor. Jo Joseph, a.k.a. Smokin’ Jo, is a yoga teacher slash international DJ (she’s opened for Grace Jones and used to have a residency at Space in Ibiza) whose classes incorporate house music, contemporary dance, and subtle twists on typical Vinyasa-flow poses.

Virtual Doing Gifts

For the mum who always tries the free samples

While visiting La Fromagerie (who have locations in Bloomsbury, Marylebone, and Highbury) is out of the question, they have curated cheese-tasting boxes, complete with virtual tasting sessions, that she can enjoy at home. There are three boxes to choose from (French, British Isles & Southern Ireland, and Italian), and customers can also add a half-bottle of wine or charcuterie to their order for an extra fee. La Fromagerie deliver nationwide for a flat rate of £8.50.

For the mum who likes a dram

This Zoom tasting class, which is hosted by World Whiskies Awards judge Felipe Schrieberg, includes a curated selection of whiskies sent to you by subscription-box service The Dram Team. Schrieberg goes through tasting notes throughout the class, which takes approximately two hours, and as the class takes place in real time, the day and time must be booked in advance (a full list of times and dates are available on their website). You can also add in a trio of cheeses to complement the whiskies — just in case Mum wants to line her stomach.

For the mum who insists on sitting dead center

Photo: retailer

Whether Mum’s tastes lean more Picturehouse or Odeon, she’ll likely be missing the chance to duck into the cinema for an afternoon. Celestial Cinema started as a pop-up drive-through cinema company, but has launched a gift set so that people can bring a kind of cinema-style luxury to their home. The gift box includes essential tools, like a mini projector, a 72-inch projection screen, and a Mirascreen HDMI device (so you can use screen mirroring from your laptop), as well as mini bottles of Moet, popcorn, and a bag of pick ‘n’ mix. It’s also compatible with Fire Sticks, if you want to watch content from Amazon Prime, Netflix, or Disney+.

For the mum (still) singing ‘UK, Hun?’

You can book all manner of people to deliver personalised messages on Cameo. We think Drag Race UK’s Lawrence saying, “Happy Mother’s Day, hen,” would be quite charming.

The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

The Best Virtual Gifts for Mother’s Day