Mother’s Day 2022 is quickly approaching and will be celebrated in the U.S. on Sunday, May 8. How will you be celebrating?

The idea of dedicating a day to celebrating motherhood first arose in the United States in the early 1900’s, thanks to a woman named Anna Jarvis. After her mother passed away in 1905, Jarvis felt there should be a day to honor the sacrifices mothers make for their children. Not long after Jarvis’ efforts to make Mother’s Day a reality, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May as a national holiday in honor of mothers. Since then, over a hundred years later, Mother’s Day has been heavily commercialized as yet another holiday to buy flowers, cards, and candies. But what is the day really supposed to be about?

The idea of a Mother’s Day celebration seems like a no brainer. After all, we’re all here today as a result of the incredible sacrifices and hard work from the women in our lives. The mothers and the mother figures in our lives are more than worthy of our appreciation. The question is, how can we properly showcase that appreciation?

Around the world, Mother’s Day has had various versions and ways of being celebrated. In Ethiopia, families gather in the fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood. In Mexico, Mother’s Day is the busiest day of the year for Mexican restaurants. There the day is filled with lots of flowers and music. 

In the U.S., however, The Greeting Card Association estimates that more than 150 million Mother’s Day cards are exchanged every year, making Mother’s Day the third-largest card-sending holiday after Christmas and Valentine’s Day. This might be why by 1920, Jarvis, the same woman who campaigned for the importance of Mother’s Day, outwardly denounced what the day had become and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards and candies. She had become disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized, and even resorted to an open campaign against Mother’s Day profiteers. By the time of Jarvis’ death in 1948, she had completely disowned the holiday altogether, and actively lobbied the U.S. government to see it removed from the American calendar.

Are giving flowers, cards, and candies wrong? Not a chance, but showing your appreciation to the important women in your life goes beyond just a quick trip to the store. Sit down, share a meal, laugh, listen to their stories and ask them questions. Take them out to do something they love to do. Ultimately, your time together is the most valuable thing you can offer, not gifts. Store bought gifts are nice and always appreciated, but the greatest gift you can bring your mother or mother figure this weekend, is you.