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Is there a Silver Lining to the Blues?

Posted Jan 14 2009 7:58pm
Being the optimist that I try to be, I found this very interesting and thought you might too. Enjoy!

Survey Finds Silver Lining to This Year’s Holiday Shopping Blues

Poll by Next Chapter Press finds almost half of Americans plan to spend less this year, but 54 percent say best gift ever was experience that brought family together

Boca Grande, Fla. – Nov. 24 , 2008 – Although Americans are cutting back on holiday gift buying this year, families can still find ways to make this a special Christmas. A new survey commissioned by Next Chapter Press found that while 48 percent of Americans say they will be spending less on holiday gifts this year, 84 percent of people said their favorite gift was not something from their wish list, but instead an experience that brought the family together or a thoughtful, personal gift they never would have thought of themselves.

“While many families are planning to spend less money during the economic downturn, that doesn’t mean this Christmas has to be less special,” said Jennifer Liu Bryan, co-author ofCole Family Christmas, a new book from Next Chapter Press. “History shows us that American families bond during tough economic times, and this year will be no different. The gifts people most enjoy are spending time together, creating traditions and sharing memorable experiences.”

The survey asked the following questions:

Considering the current economy and your own personal financial situation, do you plan on spending more, about the same or less on Christmas gifts this year than you would normally spend?

More 3.7 percent

About the same 45.4 percent

Less 47.9 percent

Don’t know / refused 3.0 percent

Was the best Christmas present you ever received expected or unexpected?

Expected 20.5 percent

Unexpected 60.7 percent

Don’t Know / refused 18.9 percent ?

Which of the following describes the best type of gift you have ever received or would like to receive?

1. Something from my Christmas wish list

2. A thoughtful or personal gift I never would have thought of for myself

3. An experience that brought the family together

An experience 54.1 percent

Never thought of 29.9 percent

Wish list 8.9 percent

Other 1.8 percent

Don’t Know / refused 5.4 percent

Indeed, while 54 percent of people said their best Christmas gift “was an experience that brought the family together,” the survey also revealed that a traditional Christmas experience for 52 percent of Americans is reading aloud together as a family.

“Giving the gift of reading aloud as a family will not only deepen the bond during the holidays, but studies show it will also improve your child’s reading ability. Now that is a gift that will last a lifetime!” said Bryan, a contributor to the advocacy website “This is a great year to start reading together as a new family tradition.

“Another great tradition,” Bryan added, “might be to begin to share and record family stories.”

Bryan and her grandmother-in-law, Hazel Cole Kendle, recently co-authored a book based on a cherished story passed down through generations of the Cole family. Originally intended as a brief work to be distributed at the family reunion, the project evolved into a nationally praised children’s book, Cole Family Christmas, and has involved more than 20 family members .

Cole Family Christmas - you remember my review, right? - tells the story of a special Christmas in Hazel’s family of eleven that took place in the coal mining town of Benham, Kentucky. When an unexpected snowstorm delayed Santa’s arrival, gifts were given and received that no one could have predicted. More than 80 years later, the story not only continues to bring this family together, but is now inspiring families across the nation to write down their own memories this Christmas.

Next Chapter Press’ survey was answered by 1,000 individuals across the nation. It was conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, a national polling research and strategic services company. For more information about McLaughlin & Associates, please visit:

Next Chapter Press a book publishing company based in Boca Grande, Fla., and released Cole Family Christmas nationwide this fall. The company was founded by Candace Kendle and Christopher Bergen to publish family-oriented illustrated books chronicling the joys, struggles, and history of families in America.


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