what 235 parents told us about gifting
We had aimed for 100 surveys in a week as a stretch goal and ended up with twice as many. When 75% of survey respondents answered the ‘other’ and ‘tell us what else about gifting’ questions, we knew we had struck a cord. One thing became clear. Gifting for kids is a topic that parents care deeply about. Here is why.
WHAT’S THE PROBLEM WITH GIFTING?
When we asked if parents struggle with gifts their kids receive, 90% said yes. The biggest challenge came from already having too many toys. Parents also wanted to teach their kids to be happy with less and the number of things received made that difficult. 50% of parents said ‘presents were present enough’ in the invite to limit the number of gifts. But given the continued struggle, this strategy was not always effective and for very good reasons, guests still love giving gifts!
When asked about post-event strategies to manage gifts, no surprise here, 75% had resorted to hiding, donating or re-gifting as a way to limit gifts. 50% of parents had re-gifted at least once.
EXPERIENCES ARE THE NEW TOYS
So if parents could choose the ideal type of gifts for their children, what would they be? Hands down it was experiences. 90% included experiences in their gift basket. Experiences were followed by mostly intangible gifts, savings and charities. Books were also popular. Some wrote in answers like ‘things the kids need, shoes, clothes’ while others mentioned classes. We expected toys to be low on the list, but were really surprised when only 10% included toys as preferred gifts.
Before moving forward, a quick disclaimer. At Fig & Wally, our mission is to change the gifting culture for children. We are making it socially acceptable to give and receive gifts such as experiences, college savings, or things that can have a transformative impact on all our children. This is only possible when more of us parents become comfortable with sending out simple wishlists with our kids’ invitations. We get that it is not an easy ask given what we know about the current gifting culture. So we were quite apprehensive to find out how parents really felt about wishlists. Here we go…
75% of parents were very uncomfortable with including a wishlist in their child’s invite. On one hand, reasons ranged from ‘it seemed tacky’ to being afraid of judgment by other parents or being culturally and socially inappropriate. Some of you didn’t want to impose a requirement of gifts, especially if it put any pressure on guests who might not be able to afford something.
On the other hand, there were some of you who had already bought into wishlists and are glad that contributions would go to what the child wanted and needed instead of more plastic. It didn’t matter if you received gifts or contributions at all but you preferred that guests not spend more towards physical gifts.
Again no surprise here. Gifting is a hugely social endeavor. It is how we show our affection and build relationships. Choosing gifts has as much to do with living up to the expectations of the hosts and other guests as it does with delighting the child. Every generation and culture has defined gifting differently and tailored it to the times – from the earliest gifts of flour and honey to coins, trinkets and now toys. So what’s next for gifting?
We knew when starting Fig & Wally that sending out wishlists is not how things are done today. Prior to founding Fig & Wally, we, the Fig & Wally sisters, would have much rather quietly regifted or donated gifts over sending out a wishlist! At the 75% discomfort with wishlists, we should have thrown in the towel. Why haven’t we?
Here’s the kicker. 90% of you would rather contribute than buy a gift! We are totally with you! This 90% includes parents who said they are NOT comfortable sending out wishlists!
So after all the sensitivity and social concern, what do parents really want? 90% of you want to be the guest that can contribute to gifts like experiences, savings or things the child ‘will actually play with or use’.
The only way we can contribute as guests is if we send out wishlists as host parents, especially when it comes to experiences or savings. If we remove the social awkwardness from the equation and encourage guests to contribute as little as they wish to and only if they would like to, we can start putting kids’ passions and interests at the center of gifting.
See how far we’ve come in redesigning our wishlist creator!
Have an event coming up and would like to swing by later?