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Valentine’s Day: The Other Mother’s Day

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Consumers may have an Oedipus complex: New data shows more money is spent on mothers than significant others on Valentine’s Day.

The National Retail Federation expects consumers to shell out $17.3 billion this year on Valentine’s Day versus $16.3 billion on last year’s Mother’s Day. But a large chunk of Valentine’s Day gifts are doted on mothers, the group says. “Well, everyone has a mother but not everyone has a lover,” says Kit Yarrow, a professor of psychology and marketing at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

And those who do have a someone to romance on Valentine’s Day will still spend more per gift on their mother than their lover, the data shows. The average person celebrating the holiday will shell out $126 per gift on Valentine’s Day versus $141 per gift on Mother’s Day, according to the latest research on both consumer holidays conducted by the NRF and market research group BIGinsight.  And people spend even less ($83) per Valentine’s Day gift, says eHow.com money editor Amy Kniss. “Some people do bristle a bit at a gifting holiday for love,” Yarrow says, but she says most sons and daughters are wise enough not to scrimp on presents for mom.

Of course, some people play it safe and buy a gift for both their mother and lover on Valentine’s Day. Relationship expert Roland Hinds, author of “Are You The Right One For Me?”, says his mother likes flowers on Valentine’s Day, Easter and – perhaps more understandably – her birthday. “She never places a value on the flowers or size, so it is a pleasure to see her face light up when she receives a $15 bunch of flowers,” he says.

Hinds is among those men who will spend more on his partner than his mother on February 14. “My girl is different,” he says. This year, he will cook dinner at home and take his partner for a Gondola ride in Long Beach, Ca. “Someone sings in either Italian or French so you can enjoy the atmosphere as if you were in Venice. My love is not based on the monetary value. It’s based on the time we spend together as a couple. But the ride will cost $95 for 90 minutes.”

However, there is one other rival for lovers on Valentine’s Day: You. Some 45% of consumers use February 14 as an excuse to buy themselves a gift they’ve had their eye on, according to a survey of 3,000 consumers by market research group Alliance Data. Yarrow says “self-gifting” during the holiday season makes more sense because of the amount of deals on offer.  “For those who buy Valentine’s gifts for themselves, that’s narcissism in full bloom.”

As for Father’s Day: Dad runs a distant third behind lovers and mothers.

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    • If you want some super sexy stuff ditch the Italian singing and fix some good pasta.

    • This day is stupid. Guys should boycott it because it is not equality. Women are always talking about equality but they spend far less on guys than the other way around. Any man who would put up with this is a self-hater.

    • @ Dr Sandbags: That is factored into the equation. Remember that there are quite a few unmarried, unattatched single women without kids out there with mothers,as well as men, so mother’s day will get the nod, with V-day being so expensive,( read Should You Boycott Valentine’s Day?)

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