When is Mother’s Day & Everything Else You Need to Know

Before the second Sunday of May, learn all about the surprising history of Mother’s Day, how it’s celebrated around the world and what to plan or give.

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It’s almost that time again. Little ones are putting markers to construction paper to make homemade cards, older kids are ordering last-minute gifts and partners are searching for a gift that’s a “thank you” and “sit back and relax today” all-in-one. If you haven’t guessed yet, it’s almost Mother’s Day.

This special day, which actually dates back to the 19th century, is a time where we get to shower our caregivers with all of the love and attention they deserve. Of course, this means planning a fun celebration or getting the special people in your life a Mother’s Day gift, too. If you’re stumped for Mother’s Day gift and celebration ideas, you’ve come to the right place. Consider this Gopuff guide the only one you’ll need for gift and celebration ideas (and a little Mother’s Day history for good measure). 

Mother's Day infographic

5 Facts About the Origin of Mother’s Day

Honoring Motherhood Started with the Romans and Greeks

Believe it or not, the idea of Mother’s Day can be traced back to the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Back then, the Greeks and Romans hosted festivals to honor the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele.

Mother’s Day Started as an Anti-War Movement in the U.S.

Prior to the Civil War, social activist Ann Reeves Jarvis helped to establish “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach women how to care for their children. Later on, Jarvis created “Mothers’ Friendship Day” in 1868 for mothers to meet with former Union and Confederate soldiers to encourage peace.

The First Mother’s Day Celebration Was Created by Ann Reeves Jarvis’s Daughter

Thanks to the efforts of Anna Jarvis (the daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis), the official Mother’s Day holiday was born in the 1900s. After her mother’s passing in 1905, Anna Jarvis came up with the idea of Mother’s Day as a way to honor the sacrifices moms make for their kids. In May 1908, Jarvis planned the first official Mother’s Day celebration at Andrew’s Methodist Episcopal Church in West Virginia

Mother’s Day Technically Has A “Father”

After Jarvis’s successful first Mother’s Day, she worked hard to convince others that Mother’s Day needed to be added to the national calendar. To help, she started a letter writing campaign to politicians promoting the holiday. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson, also known as the “Father” of Mother’s Day, signed a document establishing the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day.

The Founder Hated the Commercialization of Mother’s Day

Once Mother’s Day became an official holiday, florists, card companies and other merchants capitalized on it, which didn’t make Anna Jarvis very happy. By 1920, she had become so angry with how the holiday had been commercialized that she publicly criticized the transformation and told people to stop buying Mother’s Day gifts. She eventually even urged the government to remove the holiday from the American calendar altogether.

Mother’s Day Traditions Around the World

The United States isn’t the only country that celebrates Mother’s Day—practically every country around the world has a day dedicated to honoring mothers. We’re often so used to our own holidays that it’s easy to assume everyone celebrates the same way and on the same day. Although some of the traditions can be similar, most Mother’s Day holidays around the world were born out of different historical events, and each has a unique cultural significance.

In Mexico, for example, Mother’s Day is a big, joyous celebration and is always on May 10. Typically, the day starts with a morning serenade of the song “Las Mañanitas” by mariachi singers. The most popular gift to give in Mexico is flowers, but the day is also filled with music, good food and celebrations.

Russia started celebrating Mother’s Day on the last Sunday in November in 1998. But a majority of the gift-giving actually happens in March. Why? Well, motherhood used to be celebrated on International Women’s Day on March 8 in the former Soviet Union. The date of Mother’s Day may have changed in post-Soviet Russia, but International Women’s Day is still celebrated around the globe. The global holiday is celebrated every year on March 8 to honor the cultural, political and achievements of women.

Celebrating Mother’s Day

It’s never a bad time to tell your mom and caregivers—biological or otherwise—just how much you appreciate everything they’ve done for you, from the days they’ve had to haul you around in a stroller to now when they text you videos of the family pet to brighten your day. But Mother’s Day is an especially good time, and that’s where a celebration plan or a good gift comes in.

Who to Celebrate on Mother’s Day

As we start getting ready to celebrate mothers and mother figures across the United States, it’s important to remember that not all family structures resemble 1950s TV shows. Holidays like Mother’s Day are a chance for us to recognize the diversity of family structures. Many kids are being raised by single parents, adoptive and foster parents, same-sex parents or they’re in blended families. 

Thousands of other kids are living with a mother who’s incarcerated, and others are dealing with the loss of their mother. No matter the family structure, they all deserve respect and support and should be made to feel included. To help make holidays like Mother’s Day (and Father’s Day) more inclusive, you should start by recognizing that not all families look the same—and learn about how different families might celebrate. When in doubt, do research! There are a lot of resources available online that can help.

Fun Ways to Celebrate Mother’s Day 2021

Mother’s Day 2021, which falls on Sunday, May 9, in the U.S., is approaching quickly. If you don’t already have this day marked on your calendar, then do it now. (We’ll wait.) You do not want to be the child or partner who forgets Mother’s Day. Your family will never let you live it down.

This is the time to start game-planning for Mother’s Day celebrations. There are parts of life that are kind of back to normal (well, back to the new normal), but your usual Mother’s Day celebration still might not be an option this year.

If you’ve got a long-distance—or socially distanced—family and you’re looking for a way to honor the most important people in your lives, you should think of a way to spend time together. Studies do suggest that sharing experiences can create stronger bonds than exchanging material items. If you can, pick up the phone and give your loved ones a call—or better yet, set up a virtual brunch, happy hour or trivia night. For those who love to garden, there are stunning virtual garden tours that groups can take together from the comfort of their own couches. For creative moms and caregivers, groups can take a virtual class together, like a painting class, which will provide everyone with a special keepsake. You can even Gopuff your special ones a surprise package of their favorite snacks and drinks.

There are also a ton of Mother’s Day activities available for families who are comfortable with getting together in person, all of which can fit different interests and budgets. To keep it economical, consider planning a hike, movie marathon or day at the beach if the weather is nice. To get a little fancier, you can plan a small getaway or spa day together. Don’t forget, if your loved ones appreciate food and wine, you can always plan a wine tasting at home, cook together (better yet, for them) or go out to dinner with a small group. Either way, no matter how you choose to celebrate Mother’s Day, it’s bound to be a holiday none of you will forget.

Best Mother’s Day Gifts

Caregivers always appreciate the gift of their loved ones’ time, but you can also make the day special for the people in your life with a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift they can unwrap. If you’re unsure about what to get for Mother’s Day 2021, don’t worry—we’ve all been there. As much as we adore our caregivers, knowing what gift they’d love can be tough to figure out. 

The best way to get started (other than checking out Gopuff’s awesome guide) is to consider your caregiver’s likes, dislikes and hobbies. If they’re a music lover, consider a pair of great headphones or a pair of tickets to a concert (either virtual or, if the option is available after COVID-19, in-person). For caretakers on-the-go, you can get a pair of leggings they’ve been eyeing or a subscription to a meal delivery service. If you’re buying for a grandparent or an older loved one, you can opt for a pair of cozy slippers or a framed family picture. You can also never go wrong with more traditional gifts like a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a box of chocolates or a homemade Mother’s Day card.

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No matter what you decide to plan or gift, we’re willing to bet your caregiver will love it, especially since you selected it with care. And hey, if you’re looking for that last-minute finishing touch on your Mother’s Day 2021 celebration—maybe some champagne for those mom-osas at brunch, or a card—Gopuff can deliver it in 30 minutes or less. 

Do you have the Gopuff app yet? Download it from the Apple Store or Google Play to make ordering even easier. 

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