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The Truth About Gifting That Parents Won’t Talk About – And How to Be Part of the Solution

We asked 173 parents about their kids’ clutter – here’s what we learned.

mom whispering into her daughters ear in front of a stone house
Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

Parents, it’s time to finally face the elephant in the room (and no, not the stuffed one).

The gift-giving process is broken. In our recent survey of 173 parents, we learned something surprising about kids gifting: kids only play with a mere fraction of the toys they receive each year. Only 5% of kids regularly play with all of their toys, and 56% of them play with fewer than 4 toys.

With the effects of COVID-19, parents are realizing they can’t ignore the fact that their kids simply have too much stuff. Whether they’ve stepped on one too many legos in between Zoom meetings or have spent hours trying to find the ONE toy their kids actually play with, parents overwhelmingly expressed that they’re fed up with today’s gifting habits.

Here’s what we learned from our survey — and how you can be a part of the solution.

 

The Top Four Issues With Gift Giving

(1) At its core, gifting has a communication issue

In a world where we share everything from our homes to our Venmo history, it’s surprising that so many parents still don’t feel comfortable talking about gifting. In fact, we’re all guilty of this.

According to our survey, parents strongly prefer to be asked what gift to get their child. However, without a way to effectively communicate with one another, givers are left to guess what the recipient (1) wants (2) doesn’t already have, and (3) will appreciate for more than a few weeks — all without breaking the bank. In fact, 46% of our respondents reported that this was their biggest issue with gift-giving. With that communication gap, it’s no surprise that about 40% of parents say they receive countless, poor-quality gifts rather than things their child actually needs.

We teach our kids the importance of effectively communicating wants and needs, and gifting is another great opportunity to empower them to do so. Without communication and feedback, gifts can become clutter — or worse, junk in the trash.

We teach our kids the importance of effectively communicating wants and needs, and gifting is another great opportunity to empower them to do so. Click To Tweet

 

(2) Parents are shopping for convenience

So you’ve finally figured out the perfect gift for Tommy’s birthday — only to do it all over again next month for Gabby’s. With multiple parties each year, parents are strained to find ‘the perfect gift’ over and over again. Our respondent’s children average seven parties a year per child, with the 4-10 age group averaging nine parties a year. Amongst all their kids, many respondents reported going to 20+ kids parties each year total! The sheer quantity of occasions and lack of purchasing power to buy something meaningful means a lot of parents are buying for convenience. In fact, 65% of purchases from our respondents were made at Target and Amazon, citing time-pressure and stress.

The sheer quantity of occasions and lack of purchasing power to buy something meaningful means a lot of parents are buying for convenience. Click To Tweet

On top of that, an external study found that 51% of consumers feel pressure to spend more than they are comfortable with on gifts, especially during the holidays, and that number jumps up to 71% for parents.

With nearly two-thirds of parents buying or returning gifts 1-4 times a month, parents need a solution that minimizes the burden on their time and their wallets and reduces feelings of overwhelmedness or stress.

 

(3) Kids are getting too much stuff – and it’s sitting unused

Where do these unused toys end up? A whopping 63% of parents said they are likely to donate unused gifts, while 45% of parents that say the gifts likely get lost or thrown out. Wow, let that sink in!

Lack of communication combined with convenience purchases often leads to giving clutter rather than memorable gifts. Between classmates, friends, and family, a single child may receive upwards of 20 gifts a year for birthdays and holidays. Many gifts end up being duplicates, returned, or worse: parents that don’t want to deal with the return decide to trash or store those unwanted items instead.

Where do these unused toys end up? A whopping 63% of parents said they are likely to donate unused gifts, while 45% of parents that say the gifts likely get lost or thrown out. Click To Tweet

 

(4) Gifts aren’t always aligned with parenting values

Parents want gifts that align with their parenting values and yearn to give their child a gift that is ultimately appropriate for their development. In fact, many parents in our survey expressed that they prefer experiential gifts over tangible toys, which are shown to “boost your child’s intelligence and forge stronger parent-child bonds”. External studies also show that fewer toys actually cultivate more creativity, playfulness, confidence, and problem-solving skills for kids. That said, parents may not be comfortable – or even know how – to ask for contributions towards gifts that align with their values, including valuable experiences.

External studies also show that fewer toys actually cultivate more creativity, playfulness, confidence, and problem-solving skills for kids. Click To Tweet

 

Kids Need More Meaningful Gifts. Now What?

Group gifting has gained popularity over the years, as other uses like wedding registries have become increasingly common. Now, group gifting is making an equally meaningful splash with birthday and holiday gifts. Presently’s group-gifting platform is a game-changer (pun intended) for the way we give and receive gifts. Instead of individual gifts, a group gift enables friends and family to pool funds to give one, better group gift — whether a physical toy or an experience. And, Presently further makes it easy and fun for groups to give something meaningful.

What does this mean for busy parents? For receivers, more meaningful gifts, and less clutter lying around the house. For givers, less time and hassle finding and returning gifts, less of a financial burden, and more environmentally-conscious consumer decisions.

 

Empower kids to have a voice

Presently’s “one gift” focus empowers users to prioritize quality and also empowers kids to communicate their wants and needs to their parents. Providing children with the ability to make decisions with real-life consequences contributes largely to their development and understanding of the world. Plus, it helps them learn new skills while doing something fun. At the same time, bringing children into the gifting conversation can help reinforce family values including gratitude, saving money, and reducing our environmental impact.

 

Save energy with a seamless gifting experience

Presently makes gift shopping convenient for even the busiest parents. With Presently, gifts are purchased out of excitement to celebrate someone special, not stress. It takes less than one minute for parents to check two things off of their to-do lists — the gift and the card. This effortless, one-stop gifting experience is the solution that gives families more time for the thing that matters most: spending time with loved ones.

 

Give better gifts, without the financial burden

Presently also lessens the financial burden on parents, especially given the number of occasions they need to shop for each year. Rather than placing the responsibility on any one individual, an entire community can come together to make more of an impact and give something of value. Givers can feel satisfied knowing their contributions are going towards a gift that will be used and valued for a long time to come. On the flip side, all contribution amounts on Presently are private, so contributors can give within their means and still feel like they are a part of a collectively meaningful gift. Plus, any extra funds raised can either be invested into the recipient’s savings account or donated to a charity!

 

What Parents Say About Presently

100% of parents who use Presently report they would use it again and would recommend it to a friend. Take it from these rockstar parents who have used Presently for their child’s birthday:

“My wife and I have three kids and for each of their friends’ birthdays we’re always stressing to figure out the right gift. Presently takes all the guesswork and complexity out for us as gift-givers (and receivers) and makes our lives significantly easier.” – Mikhail H.

While minimalism is gaining traction, someone finally thought of the way to increase meaning and control toy clutter! I am looking forward to using Presently for my children’s birthday and spreading the word.” – Zhanna B.

“It allowed me to contribute to a present I would not have been able to give otherwise because of both distance and COVID-19” – Anonymous

“We loved service, attention to detail, simplicity of planning and no headache with fund transfer!” – Karina D.

 

Conclusion

With Presently, children’s toys will be cherished for longer and parents will finally be able experience stress-free gifting. Organize a group gift for your child or loved one to collectively provide them with a truly meaningful gift.

Survey Methodologies

There were 173 total responses to the survey conducted through Google Forms. The primary objective was to collect data on parent gifting preferences. Participants were recruited via various Facebook groups, representing parents of kids 0-18 (90%) and 18+ (10%) across the U.S., representing various communities to mitigate potential survey bias. The survey consisted of 10 open-ended questions and multiple choice questions. Open ended answers were then coded into categories in order to assess the frequency of similar phrases/preferences. Answers were analyzed on the basis of a child’s age-range (0-3, 4-9, 10-13, 14-17) with parents of children 18+ filtered out for questions on current gift shopping and toy usage since their children have aged out of the kids category.


ABOUT PRESENTLY

Presently is a group-gifting platform that gives people an easy way to contribute to a single gift, together. Designed for kids and adults alike, Presently enables communities to gift better, choosing quality over quantity. Organize a group gift here.

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    Author
    Kim Feccia
    Blog
    Presently

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