I don’t buy Mother’s Day cards.
I used to love going through the card aisle and reading the “funny” Mother’s Day cards. The creativity and hilarity of what people came up with to put on a card was amusing to me. Of course, that was all before kids when I could actually stand there and open up the different cards.
Nowadays, if I do happen to stroll through the card aisle, suddenly there are what seems like hundreds upon hundreds of cards all on the floor due to my oldest son deciding to reach out from the cart and grab as many cards as his chubby little hands can hold. Meanwhile, my middle child is saying “nooo” to him and crying to get down so he can “help” pick them up and examine each and every card that was thrown onto the floor.
That’s one reason why I don’t buy Mother’s Day cards.
The other reason? In my husband’s words (yes, he actually asked to be quoted in this), “Why would I spend money on a piece of paper that someone else wrote on?”
Personally, I would much rather add an extra five dollars to my mother’s day gift rather than spend five dollars on a card.
However, the biggest reason I don’t buy Mother’s Day cards is because of Anna Jarvis.
The Story Behind Mother’s Day
Anna Jarvis is the lady behind putting Mother’s Day on the American calendar. She rallied for Mother’s Day to be a day to honor mothers for all the sacrifices they make (such a lovely idea) after her own mother passed away. Did you know Anna’s mother was responsible for organizing Mother’s Day work clubs that met to improve sanitary conditions in order to lower infant mortality? They also met to help wounded soldiers during the Civil War. Pretty hardcore! I can see why Anna wanted to honor her mother and all she did for Anna and for others.
Before Anna began advocating, though, she had to make sure others were on board with the whole Mother’s Day idea. In May of 1908, Anna organized the first ever Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in West Virginia. It was a huge success! Anna then began the intense process of campaigning for Mother’s Day to become a national holiday. An extensive letter writing campaign to newspapers and politicians then ensued. Finally, in 1914, Woodrow Wilson officially declared the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. However, many churches and organizations had already been celebrating the special day for mothers since 1912.
And Then She Went Backwards …WHAT?!
While Anna Jarvis had spent years of her life advocating for the importance of having a day dedicated to mothers, she decided to spend the remaining years of her life DENOUNCING Mother’s Day. What?!? Why would she denounce something she worked so hard to establish?
Well, as with any holiday, businesses pounced on the chance to make some extra money. As a result, Mother’s Day very quickly became commercialized. Anna did NOT like this one bit, so she urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day cards. She was outraged by the commercialization of the holiday and all the money Hallmark discovered that it could make. She eventually disowned the holiday altogether.
The purpose of the day is to celebrate your mother and to thank her for all she has done for you instead of relying on a card to do it. I’m certainly not opposed to handwritten cards. I’m pretty sure Anna Jarvis would be OK with me taking out a pen and paper and writing a card myself to share how much I appreciate all my mother has done for me.
While you may not spot my husband at the store buying a card for me from my adorable three boys, I hope you see him buying me a gift. I don’t know if Anna Jarvis would approve of gift buying, but I do! Is it because I secretly want gifts from this super awesome LIST? I won’t say. But, seriously, check out that great list … hint, hint.
Whether it’s buying a gift, writing a handwritten note, getting your own kids to put their handprints on mugs (thus creating a disaster in your own home … a housekeeper is what I want now), or personally spending the day with her, YOU know what your mother or mother figure would appreciate most.