Money Talks, So Should You

You're probably getting mom the wrong gift

Whatever you're spending on Mothers Day, are you sure mom's getting what she wants?

Brian O'Connell
by Brian O'Connell, MainStreet contributor

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — U.S. families plan on spending as much on Mother’s Day gifts this year as they did last year, but that doesn’t mean mom will get what she wants come May 12.

Data from multiple retail and financial sources confirms this, with husbands, sons and daughters (but mostly husbands and sons) completely misreading what Mom would really appreciate on her big day.

READ: Tips to help you avoid financial surprises

The retail website says flat out that men just do Mother’s Day wrong, year after year.

For instance, Ebates says that 55 percent of men say roses or jewelry are the preferred gift to give on Mother’s Day. But according to Ebates, the No. 1 gift mothers prefer is a gift card to their favorite shopping outlet.

The 49 percent of guys making jewelry their “top gift” choice for mom are likely making a mistake; only one in five mothers “actually want to receive” jewelry, Ebates says.

What do mothers really want?

Ebates had moms rank some of their No. 1 Mother’s Day gifts:

Gift card: 36 percent
Homemade gift: 24 percent
Spa day: 24 percent
Jewelry: 22 percent
Roses: 21 percent

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While most family members say they will spend the same on a Mother’s Day gifts this year as last year, that figure varies by gender.

According to the Los Angeles-based consumer credit company, 25 percent of sons plan on spending more this Mother’s Day, while about 25 percent of daughters say they will spend less.

Men are more prone to give mom electronic gadgets, but only 3 percent of mothers say they want smartphones or digital cameras.

And while 25 percent of moms want a gift card this year, according to CreditDonkey, only 16 percent of daughters will actually come through with a gift card May 12.

READ: 8 gifts that hold their value over time

Those disparities may be a good sign that family members should come up with some fresh ideas for Mother’s Day gifts this year, the credit firm says.

"While most sons and daughters plan to stick to tradition and give flowers, dinner and a greeting card, our survey suggests it may be time to consider being less predictable," says Charles Tran, founder of


Brian O’Connell has 15 years of experience covering business news and trends, particularly in the financial, health care and career management sectors. He has written 14 books and appeared on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, C-Span, Bloomberg, CBS Radio and other media outlets and in such publications as The Wall Street Journal and The He is a former Wall Street bond trader.