With Mom, it really is the thought that counts

The National Retail Federation says we’ll spend $19.9 billion on Mother’s Day gifts this year.

The Mother’s Day crowd started trickling into Scott’s Hallmark store in Scotia a couple of weeks ago. But the rush didn’t really begin until this week. It will reach its peak today, maybe tomorrow.

Store manager Janice Bauer has noticed something about this crowd, though. It’s different from the Valentine’s Day crowd and the Christmas crowd and the Easter crowd and all those other holiday crowds.

“They are very careful about the cards they choose,” she said. “They want a special card for their mother or wife or

grandmother, not just any card. I think people don’t always know how to put into words how they feel about the person who’s done so much for them. So it matters a lot to them that it says something special, something just right.”

Yes, holidays are a great boon for the greeting card companies and the florists and the candy shops and the jewelry stores. America’s obsession with commercializing holidays is as rabid as ever.

The National Retail Federation says we’ll spend $19.9 billion on Mother’s Day gifts this year. And yeah, they’ll be the usual purchases — flowers, brunches, spa days, jewelry, gardening tools. If Bauer had to guess, the Hallmark store sells more cards and gifts for Mother’s Day than it does for any other one-day holiday.

Even the founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, expressed her disdain for the commercial frenzy surrounding the holiday just 10 years after it was first recognized in 1914.

But if you’re looking for consolation because — let’s admit it, we’ve all caved to the commercial pressures of Mother’s Day or some other holiday — here it is: We seem to treat Mother’s Day with a little bit more gravitas than those other holidays.

There is something considerate and thoughtful about our spending habits this time of year, local business owners say.

Maybe there’s nothing original about a bouquet of flowers for mom this Sunday, but people tend to put more care into the arrangements they pick out for mom than for other recipients, said Evan Euripidou, owner of Anthology Studio on State Street in Schenectady.

“Mother’s Day for us is typically our biggest holiday,” he said. “It’s actually bigger than Valentine’s for us here. It allows us to be more creative, because usually people are coming in looking for something really special. And moms aren’t sick of it yet. We produce one-of-a-kind arrangements, and I’ve had countless mothers come in after the holiday to say how much they appreciate them.”

Mother’s Day is a moneymaker for Northeastern Fine Jewelry, along with Valentine’s Day and Christmas.

The most foot traffic will occur Saturday at its stores in Schenectady, Albany and Vermont, said Vice President Gregg Kelly.

Jewelry for mom may be cliché, but it’s cliché for a reason.

“I have a few mothers — my wife, my mother-in law and my mom,” said Kelly. “And, yes, I buy flowers. But jewelry lasts forever. It’s an eternal gift. There’s a lot of emotion involved. It’s something that, when mom looks at it, it puts the giver in mind. And it can be passed on through generations, which is why I think people spend a lot more time on Mother’s Day. They want to make it right.”

Brunch popular

Time and togetherness is a precious gift, which is why brunch will be a popular choice this Sunday. Rob Beck, manager at The Inn at Saratoga, describes Mother’s Day brunch as a family affair. It’s rarely a one-on-one dining event, he said.

“It’s whole families, the kids all come along,” he said, adding that he expects to be fully booked for 225 brunch-goers by today or Saturday.

The Gideon Putnam Resort & Spa is already sold out for brunch. While most meals are confined to Putnam’s Restaurant and Bar, Mother’s Day brunch has become so popular over the years that staff began serving in two additional rooms on the property. Overall, they will serve about 700 for brunch this Sunday.

“People will come from Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Amsterdam,” said Rob Sgarlata, director of sales and marketing. “We’re kind of a destination brunch, because more and more children live outside of the area and they travel to meet here.”

Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia usually has to hold brunch in the ballroom, which seats about 1,000 people.

This year, various weekend events have limited staff, so Mother’s Day brunch has been scaled back to about 225 seats, said Matt Mazzone, chief financial officer at Mazzone Hospitality.

Other Mazzone establishments, including Angelo’s Prime Bar & Grill in Clifton Park and Saratoga National, will serve about 600 each for Mother’s Day Brunch, he said.

“Mother’s Day is definitely a much bigger occasion it seems than Father’s Day,” he said. “Father’s Day, people are content with the backyard cookout, but they seem to want to do something special for Mother’s Day.”

Categories: -News-, Life and Arts, Schenectady County

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