Prince Frederick, MD –
The modern observance of Mother’s Day was started in 1908 by Anna Jarvis. The initial observance was a memorial Jarvis held for her late mother at a Methodist Church in West Virginia. A few years later Congress declared Mother’s Day as an official observance. Legend has it that Jarvis grew disenchanted with Mother’s Day due to the ensuing commercialization of the day. Who could blame her? Consider some of the crummy gifts Mom has received over the years. This is the thanks she gets for the great gift of life?

Gift-giving etiquette experts cited in the Huffington Post have stated that the number one rule in selecting a gift for Mom is this—“get her what she wants, not what she needs.” Rule number two is “avoid gifts that are more work for her than anyone else.”

While finding your Mother or any mom on your shopping list a suitable gift is hard, finding one that is tacky is pretty easy, especially for new moms. A website called, which doles out advice on pregnancies and post-partum life, lists some of the worst gifts for the occasion. They include: a treadmill, a post-partum corset, given while the recipient is still expecting; a vacuum cleaner, an alarm clock and a tattoo for the new baby dedicated to the new mother.

Huffington Post lists as some of the worst gifts that clearly break rule number two: kitchen appliances, back-handed compliment signs, a pet (as in live animals like dogs and cats), her “name” (Mom) on a hat, “jewelry you can hear” or “miracle cream” such as one that claims to eradicate cellulite.

Another website, Chicago Now, once featured a list of terrible Mother’s Day gifts that were actually given. Some were beyond tacky and quite crude. The ones we will mention include: a McDonald’s carryout breakfast in bed, cash, an “I love your Dad” T-shirt and an Xbox.

On their worst Mother’s Day gifts list, Money Talks News listed several items that might indeed at this moment be wrapped and waiting for Mom under the Mother’s Day Tree (or wherever you put a collection of Mother’s Day gifts). The list includes: diet or fitness products, wrinkle cream, perfume and anything that reminds her of her mother (shower caps, muumuus, flowery bath robes). Also listed: an empty photo frame or worse, a framed photo of yourself. Candles are out too. Gift etiquette experts declare, “you might as well give her a flashlight.”

As you desperately seek a suitable gift for Mother and realize how hopelessly daunting this task is, you suddenly realize why Mother’s Day is a bonanza for the restaurant business. All sons, daughters and husbands love the look on Mom’s face when she enjoys a meal she didn’t have to cook. The day is made sweeter when she unwraps her gift, too. “Wow, just what I always wanted! A flashlight!”

Happy Mother’s Day!!

Contact Marty Madden at