Mother’s Day is a special day for mother’s and grandmother’s everywhere. Mother’s Day is a day where you get to spoil the important mom’s in your life for all of their hard work with gifts, candies, and jewelry.
So what's the point of Mother's day? The answer is, Mother's day is a day to show your appreciation for all the sacrifice and hard work that your mom has shown to give you the best life possible.
But, how did it start? Is there a rich history to Mother’s Day? Or, is it simply a day the big companies made up to make the big bucks (kind of like Valentine’s Day).
Regardless of whether it was originally idealized by big companies or a historical event, it’s still a celebrated worldly holiday (though we mom’s still can’t seem to get the day off work).
The Start of Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908 at a memorial service at St. Andrews Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. It was originally conceptualized in 1905 by Anna Jarvis to commemorate her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis.
Ann Reeves Jarvis was a peace activist who cared for all wounded soldiers during the American Civil War - regardless of the color of their coat. Ann Reeves Jarvis had also created “Mother’s Day” Work Clubs that advocated for public health issues.
Anna Jarvis decided, after the death of her mother, to continue her mother’s work stating, “... a mother is a person who has done more for you than anyone else in the world.” She then continued her journey to set a date for all mother’s to be celebrated.
When she proposed this newfound holiday to Congress, she was all but laughed at. Congress stated that making Mother’s Day an official holiday would eventually lead to a “Mother-in-Law’s Day “ and other variations on the theme.
However, due to perseverance and persistence, Mother’s Day started gaining local and state recognition in 1910 (starting with her home state of West Virginia) and grew to become a nationally recognized holiday anyway by 1911. It was finally and officially proclaimed a national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914.
Unfortunately, Anna Jarvis’ elation didn’t last long due to the increasing over-commercialization of the holiday. In 1914 she trademarked the phrases “Second Sunday in May” and “Mother’s Day” stating that the word “mother’s” was a singular possessive - meaning that the celebration was to celebrate everyone’s own respective mothers, not all mothers around the world.
She also stated, instead of simply purchasing gifts and candy, mother’s day was a day to gift hand-written cards and DIY gifts to show your mother your appreciation and love for her. And, by 1920, Anna Jarvis was organizing boycotts and threatening lawsuit after lawsuit, determined to restore the original concept of Mother’s Day to its former glory.
Unfortunately, and obviously, her efforts were fruitless. Thus, modern Mother’s Day is celebrated with gifted Hallmark cards, boxes of chocolate, and expensive jewelry or other gifts (but mainly jewelry).
Jarvis never profited from her efforts in maintaining the original idea of Mother’s Day. In fact, Anna Jarvis went completely broke in her efforts to fight off the hordes of companies and charities commercializing the holiday. She died at the age of 84, flat broke and in poor health with her mental state in question.
The Difference in Mother’s Day by Country
The concept and day of Mother’s Day varies by region. For example, in Catholic countries, Mother’s Day was adopted as “Virgin Mary Day” and Bolivia’s Mother’s Day is a celebrated day of battle in which women participated.
Greece adds a unique notion to Mother’s Day by celebrating both the modern Mother’s Day as well as the more religious Mother’s Day (which is the celebration of the presentation of Jesus Christ to the Temple on February 2 of the Julian Calendar).
Some ex-communist countries, such as Russia, also celebrate a type of Mother’s Day that they call “International Women’s Day.” Some even celebrate both holidays, such as Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.
Depending on the country, celebrations are uniquely different and can mean many different things, from the more modern United States celebration to more traditional celebrations that take note of historical, legendary, or religious importance.
Early Mother’s Day Fun Facts
Before Anna Jarvis became the “Mother of Mother’s Day” there were others who had eerily similar ideas to the notion. Here are some of the people who may have gotten gipped out of their idea and deserve some credit.
Julia Ward Howe
Julia Ward Howe started promoting a “Mothers’ Peace Day” in 1872. This peace day was an early anti-war movement, and the concept was very unpopular, only adopted by peace and anti-war activists (including Ann Reeves Jarvis!), until the concept was refined and popularized by Anna Jarvis.
Therefore, we may as well credit the entire concept of Mother’s Day as a whole to this woman right here, making her the true “Mother of Mother’s Day.”
In 1904, Frank Hering, a faculty member at the University of Notre Dame and former football coach, proposed an idea to nationally celebrate and commemorate mothers and motherhood.
Though he never specified a day, he did seem to prefer “Sunday” as the universally best day to celebrate them. The Fraternal Order of Eagle’s still disputes that Hering is the true founder of the concept of Mother’s Day.
Anna Jarvis, enraged, blasted Hering and his supporters in the 1920s, claiming that he was attempting to “kidnap” mother’s day. Considering Anna Jarvis never had any children, I wonder if the concept of Mother’s Day was her child.
Or, it’s possible she was simply egotistical, which is best represented in her signature which read “Anna Jarvis, Founder of Mother’s Day” and her statement on the matter:
“Do me the justice of refraining from furthering the selfish interests of this claimant… who is making a desperate effort to snatch from me the rightful title of originator and founder of Mother’s Day, established by me after decades of untold labor, time, and expense.”
The Best Gifts for Mom on Mother’s Day
To follow the more traditional route, which is to say the more modern of the two, there are plenty of options for gifts out there. Thanks to the commercialization of the holiday, to the extreme dismay of Anna Jarvis, its creator, there are millions of cards and gifts generated every year that you can purchase at virtually any store to express your appreciation and love for mom.
Where to Start
A great place to start here is buying a card. To make sure you have the best card for that awesome mom - or moms - in your life, make sure you’re keeping them in mind. Do they always make you laugh when you’re feeling down?
Humor may be the best way to go. Has she always been soft-spoken and supportive of your ambitions? Try a heartfelt card that aims at melting her heart.
Most people get their mom the basics first. That is chocolate and flowers. You just can’t go wrong with chocolate and flowers (which is probably why these specific companies make out so well on holidays such as this and Valentines Day).
Therefore, when all else fails, get mom a box of chocolates, some of her favorite flowers, and maybe some nice wine so you both can sit back, relax, and spend time together.
A bonus basic is candles. Everybody loves candles.
Picking the Perfect Gift
After you’ve got the perfect card, it’s time to get her a gift that she’ll not just appreciate but one that she can look at or use frequently. Mother’s Day may only come once a year, but we want our mom to know that we love her and think of her 365 days a year.
Think about anything your mom may be needing. Did her favorite vase just break? There’s a present great idea. Does she wear jewelry? If she does, getting her a mother’s ring or a necklace would be perfect!
What are her hobbies? Does she love cooking? Getting her some awesome cookware would be cool. Or, maybe she considers herself a coffee connoisseur. There are some really cool latte and coffee machines out there that she may be eyeballing longingly on the television.
An alternative to these gifts is the gift of relaxation. Giving mom a day at the spa by herself, or with her favorite child (which is obviously you), simply can’t fail. All mom’s need a day of relaxation every once and a while, and this day provides an opportunity for you to give her just that.
Gifts of Love
If you’d like to go the route less traveled and give mom something she’ll keep in her memory forever, there is a way to do just that! You just have to know what your mother needs and what she longs for.
Give her a day of relaxation by insisting she stays in bed while you tidy the house, serve her breakfast in bed, run her errands, and hang out all day. There is no better gift for a mom than spending time with her child. So spend time with your damn mom this year instead of simply dropping by with some flowers and heading out ten minutes later. Not cool.
There are also plenty of DIY gift options you can try that are fairly simple. These are exceptionally special because they take mom back to a time in her mind when we were young and we still desperately needed mom for pretty much everything.
When their children grow, mom’s feel less needed, which is so not the case. So, this year, take your mom back to elementary school and happier times with some heartwarming homemade gifts.
Here are some of my personal favorites:
Marbled Clay Ring Dish
These are gorgeous, and all you’ll need is some oven bake clay, X-acto or plastic clay knife, a small bowl, gold liquid gilding, rolling pin, paint brush, and a large can or jar. See here for the full tutorial [ref. https://abeautifulmess.com/2014/11/marbled-clay-ring-dish.html]
Painted Wooden Utensils
These are decorative as well as useful and can be made very easily. All you’ll need is the wooden utensils (find at your local craft store or supermarket), craft paint, and tape!
See here for the full tutorial [ref. http://www.earnesthomeco.com/have-make-dipped-wooden-utensils/]
DIY Coffee Mugs
This one is a simple polka dot mug, but you can get as creative as you want with this! You’ll need a white ceramic mug, a porcelaine 150 pen (so that it’s permanent and dishwasher safe), and an oven. Just dot, dry, and bake for 35 minutes at 300 degrees.
For some inspiration on designs, see here [ref. https://www.coolcrafts.com/sharpie-mug-ideas/]. These designs are made using a Sharpie, but Sharpie will come off in the dishwasher, so I don’t recommend unless you only want the design to last three days.
Marble Cutting Board
This is an absolutely gorgeous idea for any mother who loves to cook, and a great idea for those who love making things that are useful (and made out of wood using tools). You’ll need is hardwood, marble, birch plywood, scroll saw, tape measure, glue, sandpaper, and wood butter.
See here for a full tutorial [ref. https://themerrythought.com/diy/diy-marble-cutting-board/]
These are elegant, beautiful, and smell awesome! They’re also super easy to make. All you’ll need are a few wine glasses, a candle or candle wax, essential oil (optional), and tweezers. There is also a bonus section in the tutorial on decorating the glass!
See here for the full tutorial [ref. https://www.lanaredstudio.com/2012/05/mothersday-gift-tutorial.html]
For a full list of DIY ideas, visit this link [ref. https://www.housebeautiful.com/home-remodeling/diy-projects/a3701/homemade-mothers-day-gifts/]
Mom is a special person in our life. She kisses our boo-boos, supports our dreams, and loves us unconditionally. She remains understanding during our “I hate you” teen years and always has our back. Who wouldn’t want to appreciate mom? Do something extra special for your mom this Mother’s Day.