Mother's Day Isn't About Expensive Gifts
It's About the Role Mom Has Played in Our Lives
Despite the rising costs of living, our current gas and food prices, Mother’s Day continues to be one of the largest holidays of the year in terms of spending. That was easy to see as I sorted through hundreds of Mother’s Day videos in order to find the best ones available. Only Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Valentine’s Day exceed the amount we spend on our mothers.
A lot of that has to do with marketing. Those with a financial interest in enticing us to purchase expensive gifts for mom have convinced us those gifts are necessary, but a lot of the responsibility for how we choose to honor our mother falls on us. Honor and appreciation isn’t about money. It’s about recognizing the essential role that our mother has played in our life.
That makes these 6 best Mother’s Day videos extra special. They celebrate life and mothers, as life and mothers should be celebrated.
How Much Do We Spend on Mother’s Day?
Recognition can be carried out in a variety of ways, but it seems that florists, card companies, electronic retailers, and other merchants have taken what Anna Jarvis attempted to do back in the early 1900s, and have tweaked it into something unrecognizable.
Anna Jarvis was the daughter of Anne Reeves Jarvis. Anne Reeves Jarvis helped organize “Mother’s Day Work Clubs.” These clubs focused on teaching women how to take care of their children. In 1868, she also organized “Mother Friendship Day,” which tried to bring a unity and forgiveness to the nation that had been broken up because of civil war.
Upon her death in 1905, her daughter Anna quit her job, and began campaigning for a national tribute day to mothers. Her idea was to celebrate the sacrifices that mothers make for their children. She succeeded when President Woodrow Wilson made the second Sunday in May a national holiday. But what started out as a day for personal celebration between mom and family has grown into a large commercial venture that rivals all of our major holidays today.
In fact, recent surveys conducted over the past few years have shown that the average person living in the U.S. spends over $150 for Mother’s Day, some more and some less, yet many mothers still feel unappreciated. They continue to go un-honored. Despite the upswing in extravagant gifts, or being taken out to dinner at her favorite restaurant, the day after Mother’s Day returns her to a world where nothing has changed.
Although the bloated $18 million we spend on Mother’s Day gifts and other tokens might be in keeping with President Woodrow Wilson’s request to publically thank our mothers, and all of the mothers in the world, it’s not really making a significant difference in their lives.
So What Do We Give to Mom?
We give her “things,” rather than love. Some of us give her the traditional tokens of flowers, candy, cards, pictures, and a long overdue phone call, but as the holiday continues to evolve away from what Anna Jarvis intended, those inexpensive gifts of appreciation have morphed into marketing schemes that coax us into buying:
- iPads and other tablet devices
- expensive handbags
- electronic gadgets
- fancy gift baskets
- cookware and kitchen gadgets
- gift cards to mom’s favorite stores
- overpriced, decorative, scented candles
- perfumes and colognes
- extravagant jewelry
- clothing and clothing accessories
- bathrobes and shower wraps
- personal services, such as a trip to a spa
- a nice dinner out, or maybe brunch
But the expensive gifts don’t stop with just mom. Today, we’re more likely to also buy for our wife, daughter, sister, grandmother, aunt, female friend, or even our godmother. We might even throw a huge Mother's Day party and cook for a crowd. We splurge on all of the women in our lives.
And while there’s nothing wrong with giving, provided it’s a conscious choice we make rather than a reaction to advertisements or the expectations of others, Anna Jarvis hated what Mother’s Day had turned into after it became a national holiday in 1914. In fact, she denounced the Mother’s Day she’d spent so many years campaigning for, and actively worked to get it reversed.
That didn’t happen, of course. It was too good for business.
6 of the Best Mother’s Day Videos
The first Mother’s Day celebration was held in a Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908. It was held in the church Anna’s mother used to attend, on the anniversary of her death. On the same day, John Wanamaker, Anna’s financial backer, also held a Mother’s Day event at one of his retail stores in Philadelphia. Those events were such a successful venture, that they decided to take the idea to a national level.
While Anna couldn’t foresee what that goal would morph into, her strong conviction that American holidays at the time were biased toward male achievements drove her forward. By 1912, many U.S. states had declared Mother’s Day to be a state holiday, and Anna had created the “Mother’s Day International Association” to help further her cause.
It was a good cause. Mom’s do need to be appreciated and honored for the job they do, but true appreciation doesn’t come with money and expensive gifts. It doesn’t come from those who see Mother’s Day as a sort of obligatory action, something just expected. So with that in mind, here are the 6 best Mother’s Day videos I could find that celebrate motherhood in its true light.
6. Thank You Mom!
Kids live in a world of innocence, and many of them simply tell you exactly how things are. There’s no pretence. While there were dozens of kids’ videos to choose from, this particular group of kids stuck out from all of the rest. They have a personality and charisma that draws you into their remarks, and many of them chose to dramatize their feelings about their mother, rather than simply answer the questions. That made this Care.com video extra-special.
Thank You Mom For All That You Do
It's the Job You Do Everyday That Makes You Our Hero!
5. Cutest Mother's Day Song
A real cutie sings an alphabet song to his mom for Mother’s Day. While there wasn’t as many kids’ songs on video to choose from, as there were kids talking about their mothers, this video reminded me of my own four sons. Often, they would get together and break out singing to me, whenever they got the urge.
It's Fun to Walk Through the Alphabet With You
To Tell You What You Mean To Me
4. Trying to Take a Picture For Mother's Day
There are two sets of videos for this same Brats and Berta script, but I liked this one done with Legos the best. If you grew up in a family with at least one brother or sister, you’ll completely get a kick out of what’s going on here.
Taking a perfect family portrait is next to impossible, as each child’s personality bumps up against the others. This reminded me so much of my own family when I was growing up. We had popcorn fights every Sunday night, and taking pictures or making a recording on cassette tape to mail to our grandparents was always a major event that ended up in a fight. I could easily relate to this video.
Luckily, I didn’t have as much trouble getting my own kids to hold still and behave themselves for our family portraits.
Taking a Picture For Mother's Day
Picture Adventure In Lego
3. Tribute to 21st Century Mothers
Mothers come in all sizes, shapes, and colors. Moms have different interests, different personalities, and different styles. No two mothers are ever the same. This Stuart Ross video, with the vocals done by Corinne Ross, is the best overall tribute to mothers I’ve ever seen.
21st Century Mothers
There are So Many Types of Mothers in the World!
2. Special Tribute to Mothers Touched By Autism
No list would be complete without recognizing the mothers who hold it all together for families that have been touched by autism. These mothers are unusually strong and courageous, but tend to be looked down upon as being overly permissive by those who don’t understand what autism is, and is not. As a mother of a teenaged boy with autism told me once, “The greatest lesson I have learned is that I am not in control.”
Everyone is Born With a Guardian Angel
On Her Wings, She'll Let You Soar Higher Than You Every Thought Possible!
1. A Special Mother's Day Dedication From the Heart
Cloe and Annie are two teenage girls who have decided to share a story about their mother, and something that happened to them when they were 7 and 5. Their little brother was 3. They’ve written out their story on paper signs they hold up, one at a time, so you’ll have to follow along. Don’t look away, or you’ll miss the overall effect of the video.
Out of the hundreds of Mother’s Day videos I watched, this one touched my heart more than any of the others. It literally made me cry, because as a mother, I could understand the choice the kids’ mother had to make, as well as her feelings today about that choice.
How Far Would a Mother Go To Save Her Children?
This Mother Did the Unthinkable
Mother's Day is a Gift -- Use It Wisely
Mother’s Day is a gift we’ve been given to celebrate the joy that mothers bring to our lives. It’s a time to make amends, to repent of not having spent enough quality time with mom throughout the year, and to do something that shows we care. That something may or may not include a card, flowers, candy, or a gift. It all depends on what your mother needs to feel loved.
Too often, we assume we know what will make our mom feel appreciated, but most of our ideas and assumptions are not even close to the truth. Most mothers are not looking for expensive gadgets or a once-in-a-lifetime trip as much as they are looking for warmth, kind words, and heartfelt messages.
Lightening her load for even a single day can mean so much more than you realize.
Mother’s Day is a gift to celebrate the person who gave you life, so use it wisely!