Let's agree that a macaroni necklace will be treasured always.
Breakfast in bed shall be forever remembered. And paint handprints on construction paper will be saved till the end of time.
Many moms don't feel they need any presents beyond that. A random and completely informal survey of mothers I know reveals that all would be content to get peace of mind, their children's happiness and, at the very most, a small pot of pansies planted by wee hands.
Yet Mother's Day, according to the National Retail Federation, has become a $13.8-billion spending spree in the United States, ranked third behind Christmas and Valentine's Day. (Poor Dad, his day ranks sixth.)
It's unclear, then, where exactly that $13.8 billion is going, but someone is getting a lot of great stuff.
''We know cool stuff doesn't make the mom, but it certainly helps make life a little better,'' say Kristen Chase and Liz Gumbinner on their style-savvy Coolmompicks.com. ''We didn't lose our identities when we started spawning.''
Many moms have no difficulty conjuring up a wish list.
Lisa Dilich, a fitness-fond pharmacist and mother of three in suburban Chicago, dreams big, given the opportunity: ''A backyard pool - you can throw in a hot tub too - or some of those sparkly black diamonds which are so popular right now.''
Mothers of teenagers or college-age kids are further removed from the time when a No. 1 Mom bookmark ruled the day. Jackie Carroll, a real estate agent in suburban Westchester County, N.Y., notes that help at home is still a high-value gift.
But she adds, ''I'd love a gift certificate for a massage, or someone to redo my closet. Also anything from Simon Pearce, a cashmere throw or a blown-glass bowl. I'd also like Celerie Kemble's new design book.''
Gabrielle Blair, maven of the blog Designmom.com, doesn't believe that sentimentality should come with a price tag.
''Getting spendy on a gold-plated I-Love-Mom bracelet is no good - it can't beat the macaroni necklace. But if money's going to be spent, then it might as well be on something I'd really covet, like a new pair of shoes,'' she says.
There are dozens of fun, relatively inexpensive Mother's Day gifts with personality, that may please mom without breaking the bank.
Z Gallerie offers a girly, pink, bejewelled photo frame, as well as a lustrous mirrored copper one; either would be pretty on a bedside table or home office desk. Also for mom's desk, crystal-encrusted desk accessories can give her workspace a dash of glamour.
Delight.com has a practical and trendy shopping cart that combines a roomy zebra- or giraffe-printed backpack clipped to a handy dolly. These carts have been de rigueur in Paris for years; many women tote them to do their daily shopping. Delight's version lets you unclip the bag so the trim yet sturdy dolly can be used separately.