The Perfect Alternative Gift For America's Youth? Get Fit, Together

Historical legend traces Christmas gift-exchange to 4th-century Turkey when oranges were popular gifts due to their exotic rarity. Oranges may no longer have the cast of rarity, but moms know that gift fads often require expeditions. Moms have long struck out at daybreak, navigated blizzards, and braved crowds to obtain everything from Cabbage Patch Dolls to Xbox consoles. 

This year’s gift fad will likely be no exception. Of course, not all mothers succeed, leaving many in uncomfortable territory. Indeed, the pressure is high when more than 80% of global youth polled agree with the statement: “it is important for you to have things exactly the way you want them to be.” 

We have turned to our recent studies, “The Truth about Moms" and "The Truth about Youth,” to uncover clues for an alternative gift for this demanding generation. Our analysis suggests that oranges probably won’t meet their demands, but any number of healthy alternatives might.  As the global intelligence unit of our agency, we offer you these insights as our gift this holiday season. 

First, it should be reassuring to American mothers that today’s youth consider themselves to be especially “open-minded.” In the course of our aforementioned study,we presented our young respondents with 65 traits to describe themselves. One out four selected this trait above all others like “mature” and “independent.” 

So what might moms give this open-minded but demanding generation? Let’s begin with their wish lists. When we asked our American respondents to imagine three wishes for the future, the most popular wish for nearly half of our panellists was, “to meet my soul mate.” 

Moms know that “money can’t buy you love,” so they might heed the second-most common wish: “to always be healthy.” This generation’s appreciation of healthfulness is evident elsewhere in our survey. When asked if they agreed that,“we spend too much time these days looking at screens (i.e., phones or computers),” an impressive 80% did, suggesting an awareness that healthier lifestyles are of interest. 

In a separate study, “The Truth About Moms,” we discovered that the attitudes of this youthful generation dovetail nicely with the values and practices of today’s moms. The moms that we polled almost unanimously indicated that they most wish for their children to be happy, with 87% of American moms selecting this as their ultimate wish. 

We then presented moms with a list of items ranging from technology to chocolate and asked them to select a treat for their children, whether as a persuasion tactic or a gift. One out of three moms ranked “spending more time together” as their preferred gift to give, while allotments of tech play-time ranked as the second-best gift. 

Nevertheless, our moms, like our youth, were aware of the ramifications of increased tech use. When asked what they saw as the main problem associated with children using technology, nearly half replied, “It keeps them from going outside and playing.” 

Mom’s concern with childhood wellness was expressed repeatedly, notably when we asked about a host of challenges facing mothers today. American moms of adolescents claim the biggest challenge is the threat of drugs and alcohol. And, moms from Brazil, Italy, Mexico, and the United Kingdom all agreed.  

What do these findings suggest about an alternative gift for today’s youth? Combine youthful concern for health and wellness with that of mom’s, add her preference for more time together, and the result might be a family gym membership. Or, these moms might build a family team to participate in this season’s fitness craze: Mud Running? 

When looking for similar ideas, where might moms turn? Our moms said they are most likely to turn to other moms or to social networking sites like Facebook. Innovative brands and companies would do well to support this shared interest for a healthier holiday season, together. 

Executive summaries of the studies are available here.

Tags: moms, research
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1 comment about "The Perfect Alternative Gift For America's Youth? Get Fit, Together ".
  1. Karen Jashinsky from O2 MAX Fitness , December 28, 2012 at 1:12 p.m.
    LOVED seeing this article. As a BIG youth fitness advocate I love seeing more and more kids engage with their parents positively in fitness!