Free Shipping on Orders over $49 (Retail Only)

Shop Now

If you want to give Mom a traditional Mother’s Day gift – get ready!! Mother’s Day gifts were as ever-changing as they were controversial. At the start, everyone from preachers to politicians protested giving Mother’s Day gifts. Gifts were too commercial. Too irreverent. No matter, Mother’s Day gift sales started surging by the early 1920s and didn’t let up. As for the kinds of gifts – flowers, maybe, but if you’re thinking chocolates (and what woman doesn’t want chocolate??) – forget it. Chocolates, as well as caramels and other edible delights were a (welcome) side note to the array of 20th century gifts.

  Mother’s Day Card 1950s

First Mother’s Day Gifts, Unexpected and a Little Strange

Early Mother’s Day gifts were more-or-less divided into selections for Mother the Elderly Saint and Mother the Sex Dynamo. The elderly saint got comfortable shoes. One ad in 1925 demanded: “See that Mother Gets a Pair of Good, Comfortable Shoes, for This Day.” Got it? Other options included knitted shawls, “Matron’s Hats,” and umbrellas that protect Mom from both sun and rain. The sexy Mom got the finest rayon or Italian silk underpants, silk hosiery, and “delectable” silk negligees. Definitely not for my mother.

           Mother’s Day Gifts, 1927


Mother’s Day Gifts – What Every Kid Wants Mother to Have

By the 1930s, Mother’s Day Gifts started to change. Some gave a nod and wink to the flapper-Moms, more likely found in Speakeasies than PTA meetings.                                                Said one ad for “Boneless

Mother’s Day Ad, 1935

corselettes”: “You don’t have to wear a harness to achieve the new silhouette…” No matter, gift selections for Mom became more unsexy and distressingly utilitarian. Standard among them bedspreads, tumblers, casserole dishes, enamel kettles, baking dishes, and berry sets.

Not that anyone actually believed Mom enjoyed the rigors of homemaking. Says one ad from 1935: “Mothers Save Your Youth and Charm with electrical appliances – Change your hours of drudgery into hours of freedom…” The appliances were as imaginative as they were unnecessary: Electric roasters, ventilator fans, sandwich toasters, “Beconomical” refrigerators (whatever that is), and “Premier” vacuum cleaners. All advertised with this proclamation: Makes a Wonderful Mother’s Day Gift. Should Mom be exhausted from all that work and in danger of losing her youthful charm, ads offered something mothers actually did want – face cream, perfume, and a day at the hair salon for a “permanent wave,” which, by the way, wasn’t.

From War to Post War Presents for Mom

The 1940s stood out in annals of Mother’s Day gifts as being the most meaningful. As World War II disrupted the sanctity of family life, many in the commercial world pitched in to help. They offered commemorative “War Stamp Corsages,” costume jewelry to “perk up her dresses…and HER spirits, too!”, services to help servicemen find the best and most affordable gifts for Mom, and should money be a problem, low-interest loans. Some stores in 1945 featured gifts such as “Liberation blouses,” printed with scenes of the liberated cities in Europe.

Mother’s Day Card 1960s

After the War, the usual household gifts returned…with a vengeance. Into the 1950s and 1960s, we do find perfumes and nylon hose, but also sponges and mops, dishcloths, pillowcases, waffle irons, and wastepaper baskets no mother could resist. We find Bibles, Presto pressure cookers, and steel steak knife sets. What we don’t find for Mom, although advertised for everyone else, is badminton sets, ping pong tables, and swimming pools.

By the late 1960s many gifts had become practical to a fault featuring transistor radios, bank savings accounts stuffed with $25.00, and even discounts at the dry cleaner. Advertisers proclaimed “For her happiness…” about the gift of all gifts – a colander – and the “UNBELIEVABLE BUT TRUE” cast iron Dutch oven.

Mother’s Day Gift – A Bikini 1977

Into the 1970s, we find more of the same including one item for Mom saying: “Give Mom a Fun Gift for Mother’s Day” with an illustration of a young women in tiny bikinis, bellies curvaceous yet flat, nary a suggestion of budge. For mother? A women who birthed four. Five children.  Or even just one child? In a bikini looking like that? Not a chance.

Anyway, modern gifts have changed. The #1 best-selling gift on one list is hair removal set. That aside an array of candles, journals, and even hand warmers present themselves as favorites.

As for gifts most women love most? Think chocolates. Caramels. Teas.  Aside from you, Mom still loves them most of all.