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History of Mother’s Day cards

Back in ye olden days, did kids give their moms cards on Mother’s Day? It’s hard to imagine they didn’t, given how guilty we feel if we forget to send one to our own moms. 

Because Mother’s Day cards are one of the most popular holiday-themed cards sent by TouchNote customers, we thought we’d try to find out more about where and when this tradition started and how it became such an important annual card-sending event. 

The first Mother’s Day cards

We’re sorry to mislead you with that heading, but the bad news is that nobody knows who sent the first Mother’s Day messages. Since Mother’s Day has been around in some form or another for millennia, it might have been some sweet kids in Asia or Africa writing on scraps of silk or leather. 

Or maybe the concept goes even further back. Perhaps an ancient cave drawing is actually a ‘thank you’ message from Neanderthal children to their mothers. Unfortunately, they didn’t keep very good records in the Ice Age, so not even the most well-read historian can find the answer.

The good news? 

We do know the decade when the first mass-market Mother’s Day cards were made. It was in the 1920s in America, a few years after Mother’s Day became an official holiday in the country. 

The trend soon spread, and by the middle of the 20th century, people from all over the world were sending their mothers cards – albeit on different dates. 

The evolution of Mother’s Day cards

Back in the Roaring Twenties, many mothers were living it large and enjoying wild times at jazz clubs and Prohibition bars. But alas, those early mass-market Mother’s Day cards didn’t reflect this. Nonetheless, they were still lovely – just a bit old-fashioned for the times.

In the 1920s, you could pop into your finest main street stationery shop and find a very formal but pretty card. These often showed an illustration of a woman stiffly posed, as if for a portrait, and looking like someone from Queen Victoria’s court.

Many of the earliest Mother’s Day cards were in black-and-white because color ink had to be applied by hand, so only those who could afford to splash out bought color cards for their moms. The wording on the cards was as formal as the design: “To Mother” or “A Mother’s Day Message”.

In the 1930s and 1940s, Mother’s Day cards began to show illustrations of women performing traditional household roles or activities, such as looking after a young child, having dinner or having a cup of tea. Pincushions, aprons and teapots made frequent appearances. 

The jubilant spirit that gripped the globe after the end of World War II was reflected in Mother’s Day cards. They became more relaxed and playful, with funny Mother’s Day cards making an appearance by the 1960s, but as the cards were largely still written by men, the “jokes” often were at mother’s expense. 

Luckily, as women’s rights improved in the following decades, so did Mother’s Day card greetings…

Modern Mother’s Day cards

By the late 20th-century, a huge variety of Mother’s Day cards could be found in shops all over the country, and card style choices range from funny to serious, sentimental to sincere. 

A new trend also started appearing. Instead of cards being “sent” only from younger children to the mothers they lived with, it became increasingly popular to let all the mothers in our lives know how much we appreciate them with a Mother’s Day card. 

That’s why you can now find Mother’s Day cards for daughters, Mother’s Day cards for Grandma, personalised Mother’s Day cards, Mom-to-be Mother’s Day cards, First Mother’s Day cards and almost any other variation you can think of. 

Modern Mother’s Day greeting options include those with pre-written sentiments and quotes, as well as personalized cards created with your own photos

Mother’s Day sending traditions

In America, the UK and many other countries, Mother’s Day is the biggest gift-giving occasion outside of Christmas. 

We make millions of phone calls and send thousands of Mother’s Day gifts. And did you know that 25% of all gifted flowers and plants bought each year are purchased for Mother’s Day?

But hands down, the most popular thing to send to the mothers in your life is a Mother’s Day card. In the US alone, where there are around 85 million mothers, Americans send 113 million Mother’s Day cards every year

Send a Mother’s Day card with TouchNote

Not sure how to celebrate the brilliant mothers in your life this year? Whether you want to say a simple “Happy Mother’s Day,” or “Best Mom Ever,” we have cards that fit the bill. 

A personalized postcard from TouchNote helps you to say just the right thing in your own words.

And if you struggle with finding the perfect way to tell her how much you appreciate her, or if you need a few ideas to get you started, we have suggestions to use as a starting point or to make your own. 

Check out our range of Mother’s Day greeting cards for the special mom in your life, whether she’s a new mom, mom-to-be, grandma, wife, mother figure, LGBTQ+ mom or even a dog or cat mom. 

Our selection of cards and postcards can be customized with photos, stickers and stamps – and remember that we ship our cards to mothers anywhere in the world for free.

TouchNote / April 2022
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