Do You Spend Less on Father’s Day than Mother’s Day?

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are summer holidays celebrated in many countries — days set aside to appreciate and honor the lives of our parents. While traditions surrounding these dates vary depending on cultural traditions, status, and preference, there is one universal statistic that is, at first glance, a bit embarrassing. Surveys from around the United States as well as around the world seem to indicate that a majority of people spend significantly less on gifts for their father on his special day (the third Sunday in June) than they do for Mother’s Day (the second Sunday in May).  While I doubt this is an indication that most people appreciate their father less than they do their mother, there are many reasons for this global trend of spending more on mom.  Here are a few common reasons for this imbalance in spending habits.

  • Dads are harder to buy for.

I don’t have to go far to test this theory: my own experience has proven that my father (and father-in-law) are two of the most difficult people to find gifts for. Is this true in your experience, as well? Maybe it’s because dads are so practical that they don’t really need anything because they’ve already bought it; or perhaps it’s because they have fewer qualms about fulfilling their own wishlists (the “I want it, I buy it” mentality).  Women have a tendency to associate guilt with unnecessary spending, and enjoy saving up and ‘earning’ items. We also have no problem throwing very obvious hints about what we want ‘just in case’ someone is looking for a gift idea for us. It seems like you have to twist a dad’s arm to get him to reveal what he would really enjoy that’s also in your budget range.

  • The retail market is more geared toward gifts for women.

Before Mother’s Day you’ll find numerous displays of flowers, candy, jewelry, clothing, and other female-oriented giftables. Before Father’s Day you’ll be lucky to find prominently displayed gift ideas. Even the smallest token for moms usually involves flowers, but it’s much harder to find small tokens for dads. This could be because retailers know the majority of their shoppers are females, and they know their market well. Also, women are usually more willing to put more thought and effort into finding the right gift, whereas men like to grab and go (not to stereotype, if you’re a conscientious male!).  In this case, men need the most help, so Mother’s Day gift ideas are prominently and generously displayed. The same idea can be applied to Valentine’s Day and Christmas.

  • Dads are easy-going about gifts.

Surveys show that most dads don’t expect or desire gifts beyond a thoughtful card and some quality time.  This isn’t to say women are any less content with the same or are somehow greedier because they enjoy receiving Mother’s Day gifts; it’s just one more reason you might spend less money on your dad than you do your mom.

Ideas for Dad
Just because we’ve established some reasons people spend less on Father’s Day doesn’t mean it’s okay to totally ignore the holiday. Dads still appreciate being acknowledged and honored in some way, many times preferring an act of service or time spent together in lieu of something they don’t need. Consider cooking a meal for your dad, taking him to watch one of his favorite sports teams live, offering him a day free of chores or to-do lists so he’s free to kick back, or even offering to help him with a project he’s working on around the house. Making a big deal out of your dad on Father’s Day doesn’t have to be reflected by the money you spend, but is best demonstrated by the interest you take in the things that interest him.

Happy Father’s Day!

Bonus Tip:

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