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It's not your mom's Mother's Day, thanks to millennials

While flowers and brunch will never go out of style, Mother’s Day these days is more likely to include a hot-air balloon ride, a subscription for meal-planning and delivery, or a high-tech device — and it’s likely mom will purchase at least one treat for herself.

With more than one in five moms today in the millennial age bracket, these nine million women are shaking up how this tradition-bound holiday is celebrated.

Jewelry and bouquets remain popular, but electronics also have become hot for Mother’s Day — perhaps not surprising, given Gen Y’s affinity for technology. “These moms are very accessible to social media,” said National Retail Federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis. “They’re actually still hip enough and trendy enough to want that new smartphone or tablet to stay connected any way they can.”

Another newly popular category of gift is services. Getting mom a gift certificate for a massage or a manicure is nothing new, but millennial mothers — busy with their careers and more likely to be raising their kids themselves — push this convention into new territory.

“One of the findings was we found that millennial moms are much more interested in paying a fee to have somebody to help manage their lives,” said Elizabeth Rizzo, senior vice president at public relations company Weber Shandwick. A Weber Shandwick study found that one-third of millennial moms are the primary earner in their household.

According to Experian Marketing Services, searches for online meal-and-recipe delivery service Blue Apron spiked around Mother’s Day last year. The week of Mother’s Day is also a busy one for maid service inquiries, said senior analyst John Fetto.

“That just becomes more the norm — that services are brought to them and they get a helping hand wherever they can — and that’s just how things are done,” he said.

Self-gifting

And increasingly, moms aren’t waiting around for somebody else to buy them a gift. As with other holidays, self-gifting is a growing trend. Last year, Experian found that when brands sent emails suggesting that moms treat themselves, they got 64 percent higher transaction rates than other Mother’s Day emails they sent.

Since millennials are becoming moms at an older age than previous generations, they’re more advanced in their careers and have more disposable income to spend on themselves. They have also built post-collegiate circles of friends that are as much a part of their lives as family — although they’re still close with their own mothers, said millennial expert Jason Dorsey.

“One thing we do see with millennial moms is we still see helicopter parents,” he said. “We still see them wanting to be involved.”

To make room for all of these people and all of these festivities, and to accommodate the growing number of dual-income families juggling nontraditional work schedules, Mother’s Day has expanded.

“It definitely is a weekend, no doubt about it,” Dorsey said. “In addition to wanting to incorporate more of our friends and the social circle… we’re event-driven.”

Which means that brunch may no longer be the only acceptable way to celebrate mom this Sunday. “The younger moms are a lot more likely to participate in a day at the ballpark for their family… [or] hot air balloon rides,” Grannis said. “This is the age group that enjoys these kinds of experiences.”

For TODAY's complete Mother's Day Guide, click here!

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