Now that Valentine’s Day has been and gone, we can start seeing the supermarkets stacking the shelves with Easter Eggs and Mother’s Day gifts. Understandably, many people view Mother’s Day as nothing more than a commercial gimmick designed to increase the sale of flowers and chocolates; or an excuse for restaurants to hike their prices and get more bums on seats than any other day in the year (including Valentine’s Day).
Yet, mother’s day is not a recent trend invented by Hallmark. In the US, Mother’s Day became an official holiday in 1914 and was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 in an attempt to honor motherhood and provoke appreciation for all mother’s do in the world. Interestingly, Anna Jarvis later denounced the commercialization of Mother’s Day and tried to remove it from the calendar due to feeling the concept had lost its meaning and had been bastardized into nothing more than a commercial gimmick.
Anna’s original notion was to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children, and after gaining financial backing from a department store owner, in May 1908 the first Mother’s Day celebration was born.
Following the initial success of the day, she resolved to see the holiday added to the national calendar; where she argued the case that American holidays were biased toward male achievements – and with the tenacity of a major letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a day to honor motherhood, by 1912, many states had adopted the day as an annual holiday – and in 1914, President Wilson officially established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
Initially conceived as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families, her version was to wear a white carnation as a symbol and to visit one’s mother – but, once it had become a national holiday, florists and card companies jumped on the bandwagon and turned into something much more familiar with what we have today.
In 1920, Jarvis became disgusted by how commercialized the day had become and publicly urged people to stop buying flowers, cards and candies. Indeed, she went on a crusade, speaking out against confectioners and florist – launching a number of lawsuits against groups that had used the name “Mother’s Day”, and in her later years, spent most of her personal wealth in legal fees. She even lobbied the government to insist that it was removed from the American Calendar.
With that said, the concept behind celebrating mothers and motherhood was nothing new – indeed, it can be traced back to the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans. The clearest modern precedent is the Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday”, which, in Europe, falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent.
Irrespective of the religious or historical roots there’s one common and unifying strand that is present – which is to take some time to show appreciation to our mother’s. There are many gift ideas applicable for Mother’s Day, but in this article, we’re going to look at two of the classics: giving flowers and meals out.
- FLOWER POWER
At first glance, this is all too obvious and something Anna Jarvis would certainly frown upon, but flowers bring such a vibrant and uplifting energy that they have to be first on the list. There’s something about the natural beauty and fragrant essence of a flower that lifts people up on all levels, and in consideration of the fact, many of us have aging parents that are often indoors – bringing the vibrancy of spring inside their home is a beautifully uplifting treat.
If you’re wanting something a little more special than a simple bunch of flowers shipped from the likes of Interflora with a standardized note, you should check out With Our Aloha Hawaiian Flowers that provide a different assortment of fresh flowers from Hawaii every month for 3, 6, or 12 months.
That’s the thing, we sometimes degrade the power of flowers as tokens of appreciation, because it can often feel like someone is throwing money at the problem and outsourcing the task when using a big corporate florist – but it doesn’t have to be that way. You could use a boutique alternative like the above, or for an even more personal touch, you could go into nature and pick some flowers with your own bare hands.
After all, a lot of time, what mothers really appreciate is the effort; as a young child they don’t need a work of art in their home, they are happy with a finger painting!
- DINING DELIGHT
Again, the standard “meal out” experience on Mother’s Day can feel a little staged and for some people, quite awkward – akin to eating out on Valentine’s Night. However, what you could do is create a wonderful garden party (particularly if you have young children) where it’s less about going for an expensive meal and is much more about celebrating the spirit of family and connection.
You could, for example, have a barbecue in your back garden and cook her favorite meats with a variety of freshly prepared homemade salads and hand squeezed orange juice… or, perhaps you could take her to her favorite spot in nature and have a little picnic set-up with all her favorite picnic snacks.
In summary, the overriding point of Mother’s Day is to celebrate your mother in the sense of appreciation – it doesn’t have to be expensive gifts or elaborate fine dining experiences; there’s something about the rawness of a home cooked meal that feels much more congruent with the spirit of Mother’s Day than going out for a perfectly manicured Michelin restaurant experience.
The basic advice, therefore, is to keep it authentic and focused on what actually matters – family. Make it personal and meaningful for that individual… rather than some standardised statement that essentially ticks a box to show that you care by sending a big box of chocolates, but leaves much to be desired on an emotional level – as what mothers really want on Mother’s Day is to feel close to their family, to feel appreciated and valued on an emotional level.