7 Things You Don’t Know About Mother’s Day

UNITED STATES

Mother’s Day seems harmless enough. Treat mom to brunch. Buy flowers. Good times. But the story of the modern holiday is rife with controversy, conflict, and consumerism run amok. Learn some of these strange-but-true facts. (Nat Geo News)

Use our resources to get some ideas for indoor and outdoor family fun with mum.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers’ Toolkit.

What are you doing for Mother’s Day? If you’re like 67% of Americans, you’re giving her beautiful flowers like these. Photograph by James L. Stanfield, National Geographic

What are you doing for Mother’s Day? If you’re like 67% of Americans, you’re giving her beautiful flowers like these.
Photograph by James L. Stanfield, National Geographic

Discussion Ideas

  • The Nat Geo News article reports that Mother’s Day has a “dark history.” How was Mother’s Day founded?
    • Some of the earliest events were anti-war movements that promoted “global unity after the horrors of the American Civil War and Europe’s Franco-Prussian War.” According to Nat Geo, “These early Mother’s Day movements became popular only among peace activist groups and faded when other promoters took center stage.”

 

  • Read through the Nat Geo News article. Why did Anna Jarvis, recognized as the “mother of Mother’s Day,” oppose the holiday’s growing popularity?
    • Jarvis wanted the day to focus on the children celebrating their mothers. She opposed the commercialization of the holiday, and was concerned that Mother’s Day would turn into “the burdensome, wasteful, expensive gift day that Christmas and other special days have become.”

 

  • Mother’s Day isn’t just for mothers. Who else is celebrated on the holiday?
    • According to retail and floral statistics, people buy gifts for: mothers and stepmothers, mothers-in-law, wives, girlfriends, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, friends, and godmothers.

 

  • So, how are you celebrating your mother or other important women in your life?
    • If you’re like most Americans, you’re going shopping! According to the Retail Insight Center:
      • 80% will buy a greeting card
      • 67% will buy flowers
      • 54% will buy a special outing, such as dinner or brunch
      • 44% will buy a gift card or gift certificate
      • 36% will buy clothing or clothing accessories
      • 34% will buy jewelry
      • 25% will buy something not categorized elsewhere
      • 21% will buy a personal service, such as a day at a spa or a massage
      • 20% will buy books or CDs
      • 19% will buy housewares or gardening tools
      • 14% will buy electronics

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

Nat Geo: 7 Things You Don’t Know About Mother’s Day’s Dark History

Nat Geo: Indoor and Outdoor Family Fun

National Retail Federation: Mother’s Day Overview

(extra credit!) National Retail Federation: 2015 Mother’s Day Spending Survey

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