Mother's Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew's Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia, which now holds the International Mother's Day Shrine.[
According to a write-up in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, her campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday in the United States began 100 years ago in 1905, the year her beloved mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Anna's mission was to honor her own mother by continuing work she started and to set aside a day to honor mothers, "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world".
Anna's mother, Ann Jarvis, was a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the Civil War and created Mother's Day Work Clubs to address public health issues.
In 1908, Congress rejected a proposal to make it an official holiday, among jokes that they would have to proclaim also a "Mother-in-law's Day".
Due to the campaign efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother's Day as a local holiday, the first in 1910 being West Virginia, Jarvis' home state.
In 1914 Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation creating Mother's Day, the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.
By the early 1920s, Hallmark and other companies started selling Mother's Day cards, which Jarvis protested was becoming a misinterpretation and exploitation of the holiday that she had worked so hard for as a day to be about sentiment, a day to appreciate and honor mothers by writing a personal letter, by hand, expressing love and gratitude, rather than buying gifts and pre-made cards.
Even so, Jarvis' holiday was adopted by other countries and it is now celebrated all over the world, both as a day of sentiment to honors mothers but also as an engine of consumerism. It's celebrated with varying enthusiasm, in various ways, and on various days, though more often than not on the second Sunday in May as in the U.S.
Brian Handwerk, writing in National Geographic, and the National Retail Federation, report that Americans will spend an average of $162.94 on mom this year, down from a survey high of $168.94 last year. Total spending is expected to reach $19.9 billion. The U.S. National Restaurant Association reports that Mother's Day is the year's most popular holiday for dining out.
Hallmark Cards itself, which sold its first Mother's Day cards in the early 1920s, reports that Mother's Day is the number three holiday for card exchange in the U.S., behind Christmas and Valentine's Day.
About 133 million Mother's Day cards are exchanged annually, according to Hallmark. After Christmas, it's the second most popular holiday for giving gifts.