With Mother’s Day approaching, the buzz is on the best gifts for mom. Mother’s Day is one of the top holidays spending-wise; there’s a lot of competition for our gift-giving buck. Stores and vendors are ripe with advice about what mom supposedly wants.
For Mother’s Day shopping, the best tips I found come from Denver Post $MART columnist Amber Johnson, who surveyed moms about what they wanted most. Essentially, the consensus was to dial down the spending and pay attention to the individual mom’s preferences.
But dialing down is something we won’t be doing, says a National Retail Federation survey. Mother’s Day spending is predicted to jump from $140.73 per holiday shopper in 2011 to $152.52 for 2012. Figures like these beg the question: Are we spending mindfully, seeking out gifts that match mom’s individual tastes, or are we caving to marketing ploys?
As a mom, I know how hard my kids and husband work for their money. I want them to spend wisely. I’m delighted when they make me something.
Ironically, the gifts that make most moms happiest are not always the traditional ones. The NRF survey found that two-thirds of holiday buyers will get mom flowers, spending $2.2 billion. But Johnson notes that no mom she polled asked flowers. I think we could safely add greeting cards to that list. Though stationer’s racks overflow with lavish, pricey cards, I’ve yet to meet a mom who wants one for her special day.
What’s wrong with cards and flowers? Like me, I think most moms find them over-priced, impersonal and common. I don’t want my kids paying $5 for a canned sentiment. I don’t want costly cut flowers that are going to die in a few days. Neither of these are eco-friendly, either.
Cut flowers and greeting cards are dust collectors that mostly end up in landfills. In place of cut flowers, how about a more green living plant or tree? Instead of a mass-produced card, why not a handwritten note? Kids might also enjoy making their own card or craft from free online printables.
Family Fun has some great ideas. Saving money on a card means I can get a nicer, more usable gift. This makes good fiscal sense. Most importantly, the best gift inspirations come after taking time to get to know mom’s personal tastes, hobbies and interests.
This Mother’s Day, let’s outsmart the commercial hawkers and think outside the vase and envelope. Let’s listen to mom and find out what makes her really happy. Let’s return the holiday to its true purpose–celebrating our uniquely special ladies.