Where and why?
Mothering Sunday is said to date back to the 16th century, when worshippers returned to their ‘mother’ church on the fourth Sunday in Lent.
The tradition had begun to fade by the middle of the 20th century, until the influence of American troops in the UK, and within Allied forces, during the Second World War drove a link between Mothering Sunday and the US’s own Mother’s Day, which had been declared a nation holiday in 1914.
By this time the American version had already been widely commercialised into a sales boon for flowers and chocolates, which the British version soon took on – though at least we kept the March date of the original Mothering Sunday (the US Mother’s Day takes place on the second Sunday in May).
What do we buy on Mother’s Day?
A survey by Verdict Retail found that last year 42% of shoppers spent money on their mum on Mother’s Day, at an average of £35 each.
However, last year figures from Dot Com Gift Shop found that what mums really want on Mother’s Day is not so much an expensive gift but something a bit more homely. Almost 6 in 10 said they wanted a hug, with other top answers including a card and a lie-in.
While flowers, chocolates, perfume and so on are always gratefully accepted, many mums prefer to get something a little closer to home; something that maybe wasn’t just purchased at a superstore the day before.
Nice surprises like a home-made cake and card, a family day out or breakfast in bed can be just as well-received. If you want to show you’ve given a lot of thought to it, it needn’t cost much to get hold of personalised items like photobooks (all you need is a folder full of photos from your smartphone), framed photos or crockery items like mugs – a lot of online suppliers do reasonable deals on those.
If your mum lives far enough that you rarely get to see her, a well-timed video call or text can be a great surprise. And if mum is enjoying her first-ever mother’s day as a mum, then dad had better make sure that a card arrives in the name of the little one!