Mother's Day Threatened By Bad Economy

The poor economic conditions appear poised to impact us right in the heart and derail one of the most sacred spending efforts of the year — Mother’s Day. Can financial Armageddon be that far off? But don’t fret, the downturn isn’t that bad. The National Retail Federation reported, “Consumers facing economic headwinds like higher gas prices will spend less to celebrate Mother’s Day this year – an average of $138.63 compared to $139.14 last year.” Less than $1 drop on average and total spending is expected to be $15.8 billion, hardly a cause for concern. But stepping back a bit, doesn’t $139 seem a bit high? ($15.8 billion sure does.) We’re interested in your thoughts. How much do you usually spend on Mother’s Day and on what sort of gift(s)?

(Photo: Listener42)


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  1. Usually I buy flowers but this year I am going all out and surprising my mother with a visit from her grandchild.

    So I guess I am going against the grain then.

  2. Oh crap, I hope she doesn’t read Consumerist. I am a total dorkus malorkus.

  3. B says:

    My mother’s getting a classy birdfeeder for Mother’s day. Does anybody know what makes a birdfeeder classy?

  4. unklegwar says:

    It’s about time these “Hallmark Holidays” got cut back.

    Be nice to your mom every day, don’t wait for one day a year.

  5. Sugarless says:

    I usually send something (flowers and a card) to my mom, grandmother, great-granny and aunt. So yeah, I spend about that much each year.

  6. milk says:

    my little sister was born on mother’s day. she’s the gift that keeps on giving. ;)

  7. Riddler says:

    “But stepping back a bit, doesn’t $139 seem a bit high?”

    If it only included the mother’s day gift for one person, yes. But I would guess it potentially includes:

    – Gift for mother
    – Gift for wife
    – Card for mother
    – Card for wife
    – Card for aunts, grandmothers, sisters
    – Dinner for or with wife and/or mother
    – Gift to wife from child (because the kid won’t buy the gift themselves)
    – Card to wife from child (unless it is homemade)
    – Card to mother from grandchild
    – Etc.

    That adds up.

  8. Copper says:

    I usually buy a card. I’m a college student, she doesn’t expect much.

  9. sleze69 says:

    Flowers, card, and maybe dinner for Mom. Card for grandmother.

    Maybe I will spend $100 total. I must be a bad son.

  10. Zaphâ„¢ says:

    I usually get my mom a Jeff Goldblum movie, but I think I am just going to print off Jeff Goldblum is watching you poop and tape it to her bathroom wall. In all seriousness I dont spend too much on my mom, she just likes the fact that I call once a year.

  11. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Card for aunts, grandmothers, sisters

    @Riddler: Am I missing something? Why are you giving cards to aunts and sisters on Mother’s Day?

  12. B says:

    @Riddler: Only one of those people is your Mother, though. It’s Mother’s day, not female relatives day.

  13. Buran says:

    I think I’m going to get mine a helium balloon instead of flowers — she loves flowers, but I don’t have a history of sending flowers as my Mother’s Day gift. A big balloon and card should do the trick (and I love helium balloons, have since I was a kid). Much cheaper than flowers… and it’ll make her happy.

    Dinner or lunch too perhaps.

  14. Buran says:

    @B: There’s nothing wrong with giving cards to more people, though! And what if they’re parents too?

  15. Narockstar says:

    I send a flowering plant because regular flowers dye off too quickly and everyone loves a plant. It’s usually in the $50-75 range. I went all out and bought her a gold watch last year, but I wanted to do something extra nice before I went back to school and became a poor student again.

  16. Bladefist says:

    god dang it, Bush ruined mothers day.

  17. B says:

    @Buran: Then their kids can give them stuff. Really, I only object to people who are under the impression that Mother’s day is a day for husbands to give gifts to their wives.

  18. mmaxfield says:

    I am doing framed pictures of the kids this year for the two moms and grandmoms. Nice $10 frames from Walmart, printing out pics on own printer and wrapping paper then shipping cost. I did cards from us and then from the kids–it adds up. Bet I am pushing $100 too.

  19. EyeHeartPie says:


    If your female relatives are parents too, it’s up to their kids to do something for them for Mother’s Day.

    That said, I don’t wait for once a year to be good to my mother. My mom put up with my crap 24/7 for 16 years (went to college early), so I repay the favor by talking with her 4 or so times a week, visit when I can, and give her gifts when I see something she may like.

    Believe me, a 5 minute phone call to your mother a couple of times a week “just to talk to her” will make her so much happier than a once-a-year card and gift.

  20. I would say that some years I easily spend that much. Gift for mother and Aunt (shes like a second mom to me, and has no kids). Usually a pair of flower bouquets delivered to the office (Lets them show off to the coworkers). Plus dinner.

    Last year my sibs and I didnt spend as much, we spent the day painting in my moms house.

  21. ArgusRun says:

    I never spend over $100 on any family member, birthday or otherwise, unless I find the perfect gift.

    Example: Don’t know what to get brother for birthday = $100 giftcard or cash.

    Ex.: Don’t know what to get mother for mother’s day = Peonies (her favorite flower) or something I think she might like approx. $60.

    Ex: Dad …. Never over $100. He doesn’t like new things. Palm pilots, dvd players, laptops… They’ve all been wasted on him and never used.

    Ex: Mom – I designed custom haggadahs, had them printed on acid-free bond paper, professionally bound with a very nice cover that has our family name on it. Approx: $300 worth every penny when she started to cry

    Save your money for when you find that perfect gift. It really is the thought that counts

  22. Scuba Steve says:

    Mother’s day? I just got milked for Administrative Assistant day, now there’s a mother’s day?

  23. cronomorph says:

    I’m nice to my mom all year round, but on Mother’s Day I typically send flowers. And by send I mean call a florist in her hometown that is a family friend and tell her how much I want to spend. I don’t even have to pick the boquet!

    For my fiancee (who has a kid from a prior relationship) I’ll go with a nice card with a heartfelt message. I’ll get bonus points for saving money for the wedding.

  24. Daniel-Bham says:

    Giving my mom a granddaughter whose due-date is mother’s day.

  25. csdiego says:

    Mother’s Day is one of the most sacred spending efforts of the year? Nobody told me. Sorry, Mom. But then, my family just aren’t big spenders on gifts. Half the time I don’t get a birthday gift from my parents, or Mom will tell me to buy myself something and tell her how much it was and she’ll reimburse me, which half the time never happens. For Mother’s Day, if I think of it, I send a card. It probably happens 50 or 60% of the time.

    $139? Seriously? I’m amazed.

  26. EWGF says:

    Considering how my mom is:

    a) not open with finances, meaning it’s up to my dad and I to take care of our family’s expenses, and

    b) we caught her e-mails saying she sent more than $10 000 to her own side of the family for them to have a nice Mother’s day (ie. my grandma),

    can’t honestly say I feel like spending anything. I used to have the same sentiment as EyeHeartPie (same with Father’s day and Valentine’s day actually), but now that I’m the co-breadwinner, it’s impossible to feel good about such a fake sentiment on even one day.

    I have, however, blown $800 before with an ex in a span of a week, if that could count for anything.

  27. lemur says:

    @Spaceman Bill Leah: I’ve got to ask. Is it the fact that she has a grandchild which is the surprise or is it the visit which is the surprise? :)

  28. DeafChick says:

    My parents didn’t even remember my birthday. They ain’t gettin jack from me.

  29. rbb says:

    Let’s put this into perspective – $139 is still many times more the average for Father’s Day…

  30. coraspartan says:

    I definitely don’t spend anywhere near $139. I generally spend about $30-$35 on my mom. I get her gardening stuff, books, or clothes–depending on what she asks for. I spend about the same amount for her birthday, which is usually on Mother’s Day (May 11). She spends about $35 on me on my birthday. We are not a family who spends big money on gifts, clearly.

    I also send cards to my MIL, stepmom, and sister. So Mother’s Day costs me about $60 total.

  31. magic8ball says:

    My Mom gets a phone call on Mother’s Day. It’s free on my calling plan.

  32. kittenfoo says:

    we send cards, but that’s it. the only thing i’ve ever wanted for mothers day is to sit around and do absolutely nothing while people clean up the house around me.

  33. @lemur: Haha, the visit, not the kid. Thank god. She’d kill me if I hid that from her.

  34. nequam says:

    @B: I’ll bite … what makes it classy?

  35. boss_lady says:

    I may spend about twenty dollars buying new and fancy beads (I make jewellery, and my mom is one of my biggest fans) this year. I also want to get some handmade bath/body stuff for her from a shop downtown. If I spent $139 on Mother’s Day, she’d be more angry than happy.

  36. SeraSera says:

    Damn, I thought I was going all-out planning to get my mom an iPod Shuffle.

  37. Krobar says:

    Guess it’s a good thing I’m on the outs with Mom this year heh

  38. Buran says:

    @B: How exactly is other peoples’ choice of celebration affecting either of you who have replied? Awful arrogant to say other people should celebrate the way YOU think they should.

  39. yagisencho says:

    I told my wife that I’m giving her an LCD monitor for Mother’s Day. She was like, “That’s it? That not very romantic.”

    Is Mother’s Day supposed to be romantic? I’m so confused.

  40. yagisencho says:

    It told my wife that she’s getting an LCD monitor for Mother’s Day. She responded with, “That’s it? It isn’t very romantic.”

    Was Mother’s Day supposed to be romantic? I’m so confused…

  41. yagisencho says:

    Sorry for the double-post. The first one didn’t show up until the second one did. Yo, Gawker, what’s up with that?

  42. Bladefist says:

    @yagisencho: they use caching, and it messes me up too sometimes

  43. amoeba says:

    The good thing for me is that I am a Graphic Designer and I design cards for my mother. I won’t spend any money whatsoever on her. She is coming to visit me and staying with me is enough. Maybe I will go out to have lunch at a local Italian Restaurant or so…

    BTW, why men buy things to their wives? shouldn’t the children do it? is MOTHER’s day not WIFE’s day.

  44. B says:

    @yagisencho: Only if your name is Oedipus.

  45. B says:

    @nequam: Doric Columns.
    @Buran: Ouch..I’ll shut up now. People can celebrate however they feel is best.

  46. azgirl says:

    My mom forgot my birthday last year. And it is like a day away from a major holiday.. HELLLOO.. do I really need to remember this day? WTF? $139? waaaaay too much.

  47. rachaeljean says:

    $50 tops… and I mean TOPS. My Mom’s a total bitch.

  48. Starfury says:

    My Mom will get a card in the mail. My wife will get home-made gifts the kids did in school. I think a remodeled kitchen is enough of a gift for the year.

  49. whatevernever says:

    Thats what those stimulus checks are really for!! What a coincidence that they are coming out in May.