Mother's Day: The gift Mom really wants (you can't buy it)(Read article summary)
Mother's Day spending will reach $20 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation. But the Mother's Day gift most moms say they want isn't available in a store.
Matt Sayles/Invision for Huggies/AP Images/File
I got some good intelligence from my sister last month when we were shopping for cards for our momâs birthday. âShe really reads them,â Karen told me. âShe likes the sappy ones; she hates the ones that are funny.â
That mirrors the ethos behind Hallmark greeting cards, maker of about half the Motherâs Day cards you see on the shelves this week. âOn Fatherâs Day, you can say, âDad, all you want is a sandwich!â or âDad, you nap a lot,ââ Tina Neidlein, a Hallmark greeting card writer,Â told Bloomberg. âBut if you make fun of your mother, sheâs going to cry. And you canât even make fun of that.â
Motherâs Day this week celebrates its 100th anniversary as anÂ officially recognized holidayÂ in the United States. Shoppers are expected to spendÂ nearly $20 billionÂ this Motherâs Day, according a survey by the National Retail Federation. Cards are, by far, the most popular gift to give our mothersâgood news for the card industry, which has been taking on the chin in recent years due to the explosion of e-cards.
Hereâs the top gifts everyone else will be buying Mom this week, according to the NRF. But what Momâs really want wonât cost you a dime.
Most popular gifts for Motherâs Day
- Greeting cards.Â More than 81% of shoppers will pick up a greeting card for Mom.
- Flowers.Â This will be a busy week for florists, too, as two-thirds of consumers surveyed plan to contribute to the estimated $2.3 billion spent on flowers and bouquets.
- Brunch or dinner.Â Get your reservations in earlyâyouâll be fighting for table space. More than 56% of the people surveyed will be going to a restaurant to the tune of $3.8 billion nationwide.
- Gift card.Â Donât know what to buy Mom? Many peopleâ43% of those surveyedâpunt on a decision and just get a gift card from her favorite store.
- Clothing.Â About a third of shoppers surveyed âwill look for spring sweaters and blouses, spending a total of $1.7 billion on apparel and accessory items,â according to the NRF.
- Jewelry.Â Bring on the blingânearly 32% are planning to shell out an estimated $3.6 billion of jewelry for Motherâs Day.
- Spa.Â More than one-fifth of shoppers plan to give a personal experience gift like a day at the spa.
- Books and CDs.Â Nearly 20% of us will get Mom something to listen to or read.
- Housewares or gardening tools.Â Items for the home and garden are popular among 18.2% of Motherâs Day shoppers.
- Gadget.Â Personal electronic devices, such as smartphones and iPads, will be purchased by 13% of shoppers, for an estimated $1.7 billion in sales. Thatâs down from $2.3 billion spent on mother for gadgets last year.
BUT! Higher price does not equal more love
Hereâs a common misconception when shopping for gifts for a loved one: the higher the price, the better the gift, the more I love you. Unfortunately, research shows the affection that may drive you to spend more on a gift doesnât come across to the one unwrapping the presents.
âGift-givers assume that more expensive gifts convey a higher level of thoughtfulness. Gift-recipients, in contrast, reported no such association between gift price and their actual feelings of appreciation,â researchers atÂ Stanford University found in a 2009Â study. A word to the wise when shopping for Mom: Just ask her what she wants. And more often than not, the answer will be timeâtime alone if the kids are still at home, or time with children after theyâve flown the nest.
Thatâs why author Liz OâDonnell argues theÂ holiday should be moved to MondayÂ so that moms can be officially off the clockâat home and at workâwhile kids are at school and husbands are out of the house. âI asked working mothers what they wanted for Motherâs Day and I can assure you, it wasnât brunch, flowers or jewelry. The top responses: alone time, a break, time with my children,â writes OâDonnell, founder of website,Â Hello Ladies. âLet us nap, join our kids after school for some one-on-one time, read a book, relax.â