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Long Term View Parenting: Holiday Edition



For many cultures, the holiday season is rolling into full blast mode.  While for many, this means an exchange of gifts/gifting their child with toys/things.  But, may we offer some informal data for you to consider?  This topic makes a fantastic parent ed session.  Beka & Jen have used it when supporting families in identifing an intentional holiday season, but also with being intentional with other seasons, like summer and how they spend time as a family.  So, while we have used the word “holiday” in this post, you can take the concept and apply it to a variety of topics (summertime, celebrating children’s birthdays, etc).


So, ready for the research?  For over 15 years Beka has been conducting an informal poll among parents in her area (rural Central MN).  Here is the question that she prompts parents/adult learners with:

“What are your top 3 holiday memories?”


At this point in her (unofficial) research, she now has thousands of data points.


The results of this data gathering have been very intriguing.  The answers have varied in their content, however, there is a definite theme that runs through the top answers that come up over and over again.


Can you guess which answers are missing?  What was not a significant part of the data?  Some of you have gotten an idea of where this is going…what’s “missing” as a response is GIFTS.  Gifts have been a part of 3 answers total from this poll.  Two of those gifts were noted as extremely thoughtful handmade items. 




So, what were the THOUSANDS of other answers?  As you might expect, they had to do with time with others, usually family.  However, this is also a good time to acknowledge that not everyone’s experiences of the holidays are warm and fuzzy.  As we know, the holidays can be a really tough time, and it is an important thing to provide awareness of, if you are going to lead a class discussion around this topic.


The most common answers were (in rough order): 

baking with family, 

playing games with family, 

going to church with family, 

getting a tree with family, 

decorating a tree with family,

traveling to family, 

doing something together (ice skating, etc) as a family. 


Our hope is that this data continues to be able to decrease the stress parents experience over the desire to pick the “perfect” gift and perhaps strain their budgets.  In the long run, it appears that for many of us, the memories we retain are not those with the “perfect gift,”  but rather, those that have our special people in them.


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