Hold the chocolate and flowers. What mom may really want for Mother's Day is for the whole gang to go to church.
A survey of 1,000 Protestant pastors finds Mother's Day ranks right after Easter and Christmas in peak church attendance.
Father's Day? The poll says it's at the bottom in attendance, though both holidays began as church events a century ago.
"It seems that on Mother's Day, moms say, 'Let's all go to church.' But on Father's Day, dads say, 'I'm going to go play golf,'" says Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay Research, the Nashville Christian research firm that conducted the survey.
According to pastors:
• 93% say Easter ranks first, second or third in church worship attendance, with 55% saying it's No. 1.
• 84% name Christmas in the leading three, and it's tops in 29% of churches.
• 59% list Mother's day in the top tier, although only 4% say its the highest attendance day.
How much "holy" folks invest in either holiday is shaped by tradition and, quite simply, the calendar. Father's Day falls during summer vacation season.
"If both holidays were the second Monday in May, my hunch is attendance would be nearly the same," says Pastor Ross Sawyers of 121 Community Church in Grapevine, Texas.
To find out more, visit: http://www.usatoday.com/NEWS/usaedition/2012-05-11-CHURCH-MOM-_ST_U.htm.