The holiday season is wonderful because people are buying for everyone in their lives. That's not the case during the first half of the year when there's a parade of generally single gift-recipient holidays, including Mother's Day, the graduation season, and Father's Day.

However, over the years many retailers have tried to broaden the appeal of their messaging beyond the usual suspects, in order to increase average order sizes and get sales where they wouldn't have gotten them before.

The two key tactics have been to either (1) broaden the definition of mom, grad, or dad; or (2) target those associated closely with the mom, grad, or dad.

Mother's Day
For instance, in an April 29, 2008 email, RedEnvelope suggested that their subscribers buy Mother's Day gifts for people who are "like a mom to you," including coaches, nannies, step-mothers, and mother-in-laws.

In a May 3, 2013 email, Ann Taylor invited their email subscribers to book a styling appointment for their "mothers, daughters, and friends," a tactic designed to get groups of shoppers inside the stores. And last year, Gap and Vera Bradley promoted gifts for new moms, which meant gifts for both mom and baby.

Graduation season
In a May 17, 2010 email, Toys "R" Us promoted "Grad Gifts for Scholars of ANY Age," linking to suggested gifts for graduates of pre-K and kindergarten, elementary school, middle school, high school, and college.

In a May 31, 2013 email, Vera Bradley leads with a promotion of gifts for grads, but then has a secondary message about buying gifts for the grad's teachers.

Father's Day
In a June 10, 2013 email, Uncommon Goods promotes gifts for the "Grandpapa" and "Hubby," in addition to presents for dads with various interests.

Uncommon Goods, this time in a May 30, 2013 email, highlights some creative father-and-son combo gifts, while also providing links to gifts for granddads and new dads.

Although Valentine's Day messaging is ramping up already, you may still have time to put these same tactics to use there as well-for example, promoting gifts for people who have been super sweet to you or promoting couples gifts. Good luck broadening the appeal of these holidays.