Allison Czarnecki is well-versed in the digital age as one of Utah's most popular parenting bloggers, but she's adamant people should do more than just send a text or e-card to their moms for Mother's Day. It's too impersonal, she insists.
"It's so much classier to pick up the phone," said the Utah County-based author of the Petit Elefant blog.
But as soon as Czarnecki said that, she had a horrifying realization.
"I did that to my sister this week. How terrible is that?" Czarnecki said, remembering she sent a text to her sister wishing her happy birthday. "I just did that, and I don't do that. I'm a card sender."
You can see how easy it is just send a text or e-card to a loved one and call it a day. In the era of rising digital goods, is it appropriate to send a virtual greeting for a holiday like Mother's Day instead of a tangible card she can hold, admire and keep forever in a scrapbook?
We asked some of Utah's popular "mommy bloggers" about the etiquette of sending digital greetings and gifts instead of the more traditional flowers and a card for Mother's Day.
All agreed on one thing: If you send a text wishing mom a happy Mother's Day, don't expect to come over for Sunday dinners.
"You need to call her and visit her if you live close enough," said Herriman's Vanessa Brown, author of the I Never Grew Up lifestyle blog. "A text or an e-card in addition would be great, but you always have to call your mom or visit her on Mother's Day. It's for sure a rule.
"My little brothers do that [send just a text], so their three bossy sisters have to remind them not to just text her. They have to call her," she added.
Czarnecki calls electronic cards, or e-cards, "lame." "I probably only get a handful of cards a year in the mail, and I hate it," she said about the falling number of people who send handwritten cards.
"I think it's becoming a lost art handwriting letters," she said. "Think about what you feel when you open ... the mailbox when you think about them taking the time picking out the card at the store and mailing it. There's a lot more care put into it."
While Czarnecki and others say they've seen more people just send texts or e-cards for the holiday, it's hard to really know if virtual greetings are taking a bite out of more traditional cards for Mother's Day.
"But I can tell you that Mother's Day is the third-largest card-sending holiday in the United States, with 133 million cards exchanged annually," said Hallmark spokeswoman Jaci Twidwell. "At Mother's Day, we always think of the memory-keeping aspect of card sending. A mother can't keep a text in a shoebox in her closet or paste it in a memory book."
And it doesn't appear traditional gift-giving for the holiday is giving way to less-than-heartwarming digital gifts like iTunes credit or Amazon gift cards.
A survey of florists with the Society of American Florists showed that 62 percent had sales increases for Mother's Day in 2011 compared with 2010. And more than a third of adults bought flowers or plants as gifts for Mother's Day last year.
This year, consumers are expected to spend an average of $152 on Mother's Day gifts $12 more than last year according to a 2012 survey by the National Retail Federation. Of those grateful kids who will spend money this year, two-thirds will buy flowers. Meanwhile, nearly 33 percent of them will buy clothes, more than 12 percent will buy electronics, and 54 percent will take mom out to a nice dinner or brunch, according to the survey.
While sending just a text or e-card for Mother's Day might seem uncaring, sending a digital gift would be OK, especially if your mom is younger, said Cindi Braby of Eagle Mountain, author of the Utah Mom's Life blog.
"I've sent gift cards, like to Amazon, to my teachers, and I certainly think it's great if my husband got me an Amazon gift card," she said. "But my mother-in-law is 79, and she would expect the whole card and phone call and a book or something like a tangible gift."
So Brown warns that if you want to strengthen your relationship with your mother, don't take the easy way out, and spend the effort to show you care.
"Facebook and Twitter and texting can be good in a lot of ways," she said. "But we should all help each other to remember that for the people closest to you, you should make the time to talk to them."
Google+: +Vincent Horiuchi