Mother's Day will be celebrated on May 12, 2024 (Credit: Sharon Tate Soberon/ CC-BY-SA-4.0/ Flickr)

Every year on the second Sunday in May, Americans shower their mothers with lavish gifts and treats. This year's celebration on May 12, 2024, will be no exception. A National Retail Federation (NRF) survey indicates that the 84 percent of US adults who plan to celebrate Mother's Day will each spend an average of $254. This adds up to a staggering total of $33.5 billion. It is just shy of the record $35.7 billion spent in 2023. It is no wonder that retailers look forward to the holiday almost as much as mothers.

“Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate the women who play a meaningful role in our lives,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Retailers know the significant importance of this day and are ready to help their customers with a wide selection of meaningful gifts for loved ones to show their appreciation.”

2024 Mother's Day spending is expected to be the second highest on record (Credit: CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Greeting cards and flowers top the list of popular gifts. But they account for a small portion of the total amount spent. A large chunk — $7.8 billion — will go toward buying jewelry. About $5.9 billion will be spent on special outings, like brunch or dinner. An additional $3.5 billion will go toward buying electronic devices like computers and smartphones. Gift cards, clothing, and personal services, like massages, round up the list of the top presents.

Motherhood has been celebrated worldwide in some form for centuries. But the official US holiday is credited to Anna Jarvis. The Philadelphia teacher came up with the idea in 1905. She wanted to honor the sacrifices moms make for their families. The first celebration was held in 1908 at a church in Grafton, West Virginia. Its success inspired Jarvis to start a campaign to make Mother's Day a national holiday.

A large chunk of the money will go toward buying jewelry (Credit: CC-BY-SA-2.0)

Jarvis's hard work finally paid off in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day. Her idea of the celebration involved wearing a carnation and visiting one's mother or attending a church service. However, retailers seized the opportunity to convince consumers to buy readymade cards and other gifts. Jarvis spent years fighting the trend. She even filed lawsuits against the "profiteers." By the time she died in 1948, Jarvis had disowned the holiday she had fought so hard to create.

Mother's Day has since become increasingly commercial. But most moms would choose quality time with loved ones and a break from daily chores over expensive gifts. This May 12, show your love by serving her breakfast in bed or doing laundry. Most importantly, give your mom the undivided attention she deserves!

Happy Mother's Day!