MoviePass customers are able to use their subscriptions for Chakeres Theaters in the Springfield area. File photo
Sponsor lots of nights at the movies
No matter what generation your mom is part of, chances are she thinks seeing movies in the theater is a luxury. Treat her to several with a gift card to a local theater you know she enjoys. Add enough to the total for concessions and make sure she's a member of any applicable rewards clubs so you both get top value for the gift.
Or, give MoviePass a whirl. This newfangled movie subscription service reduced its prices substantially in August 2017 and is accepted at more than 4,000 theaters. In just a few steps (an iPhone or an Android phone is required), mom can see a new movie every day for a monthly fee of around $10. Check in often to make sure the deal hasn't changed, though. MoviePass doesn't require any contracts, but some consumers have waited weeks for their card and industry experts question whether the enterprise can stay afloat charging such low prices.
Take a tiny home vacation
Any vacation is a great gift idea, but a tiny home rental is particularly appropriate if mom is considering downsizing. Tiny ranch and beach rentals are always a possibility, but rentals in suburbia or even your own home town (for a sort of "staycation") are also great options. Check out Tiny House Listings to start.
Display her memories while you stay in touch
If your empty nester mom is also the queen of social media, or wants you to stay in better touch, or adores nostalgia, consider a digital photo frame. One top-rated Amazon choice is the Nixplay Original 12-Inch WiFi Cloud Digital Photo Frame. It allows you to place the frame in mom's home and email or send photos using the Nixplay Mobile App for iPhone & Android. Presto! Photos from past and present are playing at her breakfast table.
Bring a book club within reach
Perhaps mom envisioned her empty nest years as the time when she would catch up on her reading? Put that pleasure within reach by helping her find a local book club and then purchasing the first season's worth of reading material for her. Want to be her favorite child? Consider joining yourself.
President Obama speaks at the opening of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 24. The opening ceremonies of the 400,000-square-foot museum attracted thousands.
Open the doors to museums across the nation with one membership
If mom has more free time now, a museum or botanical garden membership is always a great gift. Make it even more thoughtful by choosing a membership to an institution that is part of the North American Reciprocal Museum Association. That way, mom gets free admission to her museum and 944 other member institutions, including botanical gardens, children's museums, science and technology centers and more.