Mother’s Day 2015: We’re spending more.

th-1The typical U.S. resident will pony up big-time on or around May 10. According to a recent survey from the National Retail Federation, we’re planning to spend an average of $172.63 on things like brunch, jewelry, gift cards and, of course, flowers.

That’s about $10 more than we spent last year. It isn’t clear whether that’s due to an improvement in the economy of just plain old guilt.

Or maybe the things we want to give (more on that below) are pricier this year?

My mother died in 2003. I never came anywhere close to spending an adjusted-for-inflation $172.63 for a Mother’s Day gift. If I had, she would have raised the roof.

On the other hand, I did visit her whenever I could – and since I was coming from Alaska those were some pretty pricey tickets. Travel definitely averaged out to more than $172.63 per year, especially when I brought my daughter and/or then-husband along for the ride.

If I could recommend one Mother’s Day gift, it would be “time.” Not everyone can make the trek back home to see Mom, due to finances or lack of vacation time or a too-full plate of responsibilities.

And frankly, not every mother deserves to be visited; I’ve heard horror stories of abuse, neglect, identity theft and other issues that keep now-grown children far, far away. (Interesting how some of those moms and/or dads seem to feel that they’re owed those visits anyway.)

But if you love or at least respect your mom, try to see her as often as you’re able/comfortable. It’s much better to go for a visit than a funeral.


Win some free flowers

Does your mom like a bouquet on the big day? Savings.com and 1-800-Flowers are giving away 10 floral arrangements this week. Winners can choose from five specific types, whose values range from $59.99 to $79.99.

You can enter one time through this link; do so before 11:59 p.m. EDT Friday, May 1. Winners will be notified on Monday, May 4, and will have just 24 hours to respond. If you enter, be sure to check your e-mail before you go to bed on Monday.

And if you don’t win? Save some money with these coupon codes:

Some exclusions apply when using these codes, which are good through May 10.

Speaking of flowers: The NRF says we’ll be spending $2.4 billion on blooms for Mother’s Day. That is not a typo: I said “billion.” Wow.

Here’s how the bulk of our spending will shake down:

  • Greeting cards, $786 million
  • Apparel and clothing items, $1.9 billion
  • Brunch or other special activities, $3.8 billion
  • Electronics, $1.8 billion
  • Spa day, $1.5 billion
  • Housewares/gardening, $890 million
  • Books and CDs, $480 million
  • Jewelry, $4.3 billion
  • Gift cards, $2.2 billion

Since my mom has passed, I can’t spend anything on her; instead, I’ll make a donation to a Nepal disaster relief fund. If she were still with us I’d fly her to Alaska to meet my partner. Of course, I would have done that by now anyway.

You know how they say you can tell how a man will treat his wife by the way he treats his mother? In DF’s case this is true, in spades. He enjoys spending time with his 87-year-old mom but he never tries to interfere with her independence or second-guess her ways of doing things.

He doesn’t tell her that plein-air painting or flying to Iceland with her own partner would be too much for her. DF just lets Maggie be her own person.

He’s that way with me, too, and it’s hard to express how wonderful that feels after having been in a bad long-term marriage. DF doesn’t criticize my decisions or tell me how to run my writing business. He doesn’t kvetch when I visit my daughter or my dad or attend conferences.

Bonus: When I come back from those visits/business trips, I walk into a clean house with air-dried bed linens and freshly baked bread – or maybe even freshly boiled whale. The man is a keeper.


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  1. Last year was my mother’s last Mother’s Day. She was very aware of that fact. We asked what she wanted us to do and we did everything she requested. She declared it her best Mother’s Day of her life. She passed away on May 19, 2014, but she had a good day on Mother’s Day. Make that an excellent day on Mother’s Day. She had her loving husband of over 66 years, her two daughters, 3 of her 4 grandchildren and her two great-grandchildren. We just had to be careful not to tire her too much.

    We got some great photos that day since she was having a good day.

  2. This year I’m putting together an album for my mom since me and my daughter live overseas. I decided that I want to get a glimpse of all she has missed while we were gone. The best gifts are the ones that a person put thought into. It’s always feels good to know someone cares so much that they took the time to think about what they wanted to give instead of just buying flowers.

  3. lostAnnfound

    We will be having a family brunch here at our house (which we usually do every year). It’s my side of the family as my husband’s mom passed almost 18 years ago. My sister & brother will each bring something for the brunch. As I rule I give my mom potted flowers, not cut flowers, so that she can put them outside to enjoy for the whole summer on her patio. Spending a few hours together with everyone in the famiy on Mother’s Day is the real gift for my mom!

  4. DMIL thinks that Mother’s Day is a made-up holiday that only benefits the card companies and the floral industry! What a change from my own late DM, who thought Mother’s Day was a holy day of obligation!

  5. Cathy in NJ

    Happy Mother’s Day to all:)

    I am taking my Mom and her girlfriend out to a delicious brunch at a historic Inn near where Washington Crossed the Delaware River. The Mother’s Day flowers will be outside in the plantings surrounding the Inn. My Mom is going to get a dollar store Mother’s Day Card. Because $4 for a card is ridiculous.

    • Donna Freedman

      When I was a kid we took a field trip to that area. And I agree that a $4 card is a bit much. DF is going to give his mom an art-themed card from our collection, with a personal note inside. If he tried to buy her something she’d be irritated — right now she’s about getting rid of stuff rather than collecting it.

  6. I’ve boycotted Mother’s Day since Mom passed, it was always too hard not to feel like I could and should have done more for her, but I try to always send cards to people I care about who are honorary mothers/grandmothers. We’ll send flowers this year, unless I can think of something better soon, since they were instrumental in keeping me alive after LB was born!

  7. Punkin Pye

    I am taking my mom and my mother-in-law to see “Far From the Madding Crowd” and making either dinner or lunch for them at my house. They were both thrilled as it gets them out of the house.

  8. Oh how nothing can make us come out of pocket except for the love of our mothers! I have some things planned for my mom this year, but she is a great person and well worth it. Great post, I wish that we had a child day like parents get!

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