The Guilt Trip
So, you're looking for a little background on Mother's Day, are you? How sweet. She birthed you, raised you, and fed you for at least 18 years, and now - once a year - you try to remember on which Sunday Mother's Day lands. She's developing crow's feet worrying about you, but you more often download a new app than call the poor woman. There is absolutely no gift in this world that can truly give all a mother deserves or supply an adequate "thank you" for the love she's devoted to you. So, instead we offer Mother's Day gift baskets; the best present you can possibly give mom without looking as guilty as you just may be.
Mothers in the USA
So, we know Woodrow was a momma's boy, but what about the first 27 presidents? From what we know, they weren't all bad seeds. George Washington's mom was (probably) a loyalist and he still invited her to his inauguration. Woodrow was simply the one sweet enough to celebrate everyone's mom, and we've been doing it ever since. But it wasn't easy getting a nationally recognized holiday for mothers.
One Tough Mother
Ann Jarvis was a soldier's mother who organized other moms to tend to wounded on both sides of the Civil War. Following the war, she campaigned for a national Mother's Day to bring attention to the hard work done by mothers during the war, mothers who lost sons to the battlefield, and to honor mothers who just work hard in general. She died before her dream was realized, but her daughter, Anna Jarvis, continued the fight. The Jarvis's struggle, and that of all American mothers, was finally acknowledged by Woodrow Wilson as Mother's Day in 1914.
But let's not think that America invented Mother's Day. The human race has always had moms, and acknowledging them isn't a recent phenomenon.
There Have Always Been Moms...
Look far enough back into just about anything, and you're bound to end up in ancient Greece or Rome; Mother's Day is no different. Around mid-March, the ancient Greeks held a festival called Hilaria which celebrated Cybele, the mother of Greek gods. Amidst all the fanfare, they decided it would be good to recognize their own mothers too, since, well... she was standing right there.
In Rome, they had a festival for Juno called "Matronalia" in which presents were given to mothers. Whether or not the gifts were packaged in decorative gift baskets is debatable, but it wouldn't have been the first clever Roman idea.
Another instance of Mother's Day occurs during the Roman Catholic Church's great campaign to sway the pagans over to Catholicism. In an effort to snuff out all the Matronalias and Hilarias of the world, the Church devised their own maternal event for the liturgical calendar called "Mothering Sunday," a holiday still celebrated today in Europe and around the world. Mothering Sunday was organized around the Vernal Equinox to coincide with the aforementioned Greek and Roman holidays, but its matronly mascot was Mary, mother of Jesus. Oh, and if you need a date for Mothering Sunday, it's the 4th Sunday in Lent.
How to Say Thank You
Anna Jarvis was upset by what happened to the Mother's Day she fought so hard to establish. In fact, she campaigned against the Mother's Day greeting cards that were being sold in stores, saying, "A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world." And she was absolutely right. Just like all other Holiday Gift Baskets, your Mother's Day present needs to be personal. Write a personalized note to mom and pick out a gift basket that features items you know she would love. The importance of the holiday, above all else, is showing her how much you care and how grateful you are for the love she has given you.