When Did People Start Buying Gifts for Mother’s Day? A Fascinating History

Mother’s Day is a popular holiday celebrated in many countries around the world. The day is dedicated to showing appreciation and gratitude towards mothers for all they do. As with many holidays, the origins of Mother’s Day can often be unclear. However, it is widely accepted that Mother’s Day originated in the United States in the early 20th century.

Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day, is credited with starting the tradition of giving gifts on this special day. Originally, Jarvis intended for the day to be a time for families to congregate and show appreciation for their mothers by giving her a white carnation. However, over time, the day evolved to include more commercialization, and gift-giving became a common practice. It is believed that the first official Mother’s Day gift was a personal locket given to Anna Jarvis by her mother.

The Origins of Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a popular occasion celebrated in different ways across the globe. People convey their appreciation and love to their mothers by giving gifts, flowers, or cards. However, when did people start buying gifts for Mother’s Day?

The history of Mother’s Day goes back to ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans, where people celebrated Mother’s Day by honoring Cybele, the mother of the gods. In the early 17th century, the English celebrated “Mothering Sunday,” a day in which servants could go home to their mothers. This tradition gradually fell out of practice.

The modern version of Mother’s Day started in the United States. Anna Jarvis, an American activist, organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration in 1908 as a way to honor her mother and raise awareness about the need to recognize mothers’ contributions. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day as a national holiday, celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

The early Mother’s Day celebrations were not commercialized, and people celebrated it by giving homemade cards or small gifts. This changed in the 1920s when businesses saw an opportunity to profit from the holiday. The Mother’s Day industry began to grow, and the holiday became more popular as people started buying gifts and flowers.

Today, Mother’s Day is celebrated in different ways worldwide, from giving gifts and flowers to spending quality time with mothers. It has become a heavily commercialized holiday, with people spending billions of dollars on gifts, cards, and meals.

In summary, people started buying gifts for Mother’s Day in the early 20th century when businesses saw the opportunity to commercialize the holiday. However, the origins of Mother’s Day go back to ancient civilizations, and it was officially recognized as a national holiday in the United States in 1914.

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When did People Start Buying Gift for Mother’s Day

Many people wonder, when did people start buying gifts for Mother’s Day? The history of Mother’s Day gift-giving is a fascinating one that dates back to ancient civilizations. The Greeks and Romans celebrated Mother’s Day with festivals that honored Rhea and Cybele, the mother goddesses. In 16th Century England, Mothering Sunday was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent, and it was the day when people returned to their mother church.

However, the modern-day celebration of Mother’s Day and the tradition of giving gifts to mothers began in the United States, thanks to the efforts of Anna Jarvis. In 1908, Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother, who was a peace activist, and distributed white carnations, her mother’s favorite flowers, to the attendees. She began lobbying for a national holiday to honor mothers, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day as a national holiday to be celebrated on the second Sunday of May.

From then on, the tradition of sending cards, flowers, and gifts on Mother’s Day became more and more popular. Florists, greeting card companies, and gift shops welcomed the occasion and started promoting it, making it a commercial success. Over time, people came to associate Mother’s Day with gift-giving, and it became customary to buy presents for mothers on this day.

According to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey, in 2021, Americans spent an estimated $28.1 billion on Mother’s Day gifts, with 83% of consumers planning to celebrate the day. Jewelry, greeting cards, flowers, and special outings are some of the most popular gift choices. The survey also found that younger consumers tended to spend more on gifts, and that the trend of ‘self-gifting’ was on the rise.

In conclusion, the tradition of gift-giving on Mother’s Day began in the United States in the early 20th century and has since become a widely accepted practice across the world. While the holiday has become commercialized, the intention behind it remains the same – to honor and show appreciation for all the mothers who make a difference in our lives.

Evolution of Mother’s Day Gift-Giving Traditions

Mother’s Day is an occasion to celebrate the mothers by acknowledging their selfless love, care, and sacrifices. The roots of Mother’s Day go back to ancient civilizations like Greeks and Romans, who honored the motherly goddesses. However, the practice of modern Mother’s Day and gift-giving tradition is much more recent.

In the early 20th century, the concept of Mother’s Day began to take shape, primarily due to the efforts of Anna Jarvis. In 1908, the first official celebration was held in the United States to pay tribute to mothers. During those times, people used to give simple gifts like handmade greeting cards, handwritten notes, and carnations to their mothers as a symbol of love.

With time, the gift-giving tradition on Mother’s Day evolved and grew more elaborate. In the 1920s, florists and gift shop owners started to capitalize on the occasion and began promoting the idea of buying gifts for mothers. The gifts included chocolates, cakes, clothing, jewelry, and household items.

Over the years, the tradition of gifting has become highly commercialized. According to the National Retail Federation, in 2020, people in the United States alone spent a whopping $26.7 billion on Mother’s Day gifts.

However, the essence of Mother’s Day gift-giving has always remained intact: expressing love and appreciation towards the mothers. Regardless of the price tag, the emotion behind the gift is what truly counts.

In conclusion, the tradition of gift-giving on Mother’s Day has a rich history that spans over a century. From simple gestures of love to highly commercialized celebrations, Mother’s Day has come a long way. Nevertheless, what has remained unchanged is the love and gratitude that we express to our mothers on this special day.


In conclusion, we can see that the tradition of buying gifts for Mother’s Day has been in practice for more than a century. It started around the early 1900s when Anna Jarvis campaigned for a national holiday to celebrate mothers in the United States. Over the years, this custom gained popularity and spread to many countries worldwide.

Today, Mother’s Day is a significant event and a highly commercialized holiday. People from all over the world buy gifts for their mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and mother figures in their life. This holiday offers a great opportunity to express love, appreciation, and gratitude to the special woman in our life who has always been there for us.

According to a study conducted by the National Retail Federation, in the United States alone, consumers spent almost $27 billion on Mother’s Day in 2020. This staggering number shows how important this holiday has become for retailers and the economy in general.

It is interesting to note that the type of gift people buy for their mother has changed over time. In the past, people used to give their mothers handmade gifts like cards or flowers, while now they tend to buy gifts like jewelry, gadgets, or even try new experiences like spa treatments, brunches, or weekend getaways.

In conclusion, the tradition of buying gifts for Mother’s Day has a rich history and has become a significant global celebration. This event continues to evolve with time, and the way people celebrate it may change, but the essence remains the same – to honor and cherish the maternal figure in our lives.

Brantley Jackson, dad and writer at 'Not in the Kitchen Anymore' is well-known in the parenting world. He writes about his experiences of raising children and provides advice to other fathers. His articles are widely praised for being real and relatable. As well as being an author, he is a full-time dad and loves spending time with his family. His devotion to his kids and love of writing drives him to motivate others.