You might be surprised at the number of Millennials keeping holiday traditions like holiday cards, real Christmas trees, and more, alive…
Gen Z and Millennials are not often called traditional. Usually, we’re talking about how they’re “killing” industries with their disruptive and digital ways, saying goodbye to gender norms, or delaying or ignoring previously obligatory adult milestones, or upending customs with new trends. But it would be a mistake to assume that they want all traditions to end—there are some times that young consumers actually embrace the very same rituals they grew up with, and the holidays are one of those times.
We’ve told you that Gen Z and Millennials love the holidays—a lot. And though it’s true they’ve invented their own holidays to have more fun with fewer rules, and they’re redefining what counts as a classic Christmas film, we’ve found that young consumers are actually keeping up plenty of old-school traditions. When we asked 13-37-year-olds how they’re planning to celebrate the holidays this year, a surprising number planned to buy a Christmas tree, send out holiday cards, and buy advent calendars:
The top item on this list is not a tradition—more on that below. But when it comes to upholding time-honored holiday customs, many Millennials are on board. Nearly two in five tell us that they’re planning to send out holiday cards, a stat that aligns with their impact on that industry outside of this season. Vox reports that greeting cards are thriving in a digital world—and Millennials are their biggest fans. According to the Greeting Card Association, the majority of American families buy an average of 30 greeting cards a year, and Millennials are “the largest age group of greeting card buyers.” Nostalgia and the desire for something more lasting and tactile than a Facebook greeting are likely reasons for their popularity—but it doesn’t hurt that they look good in Instagram pics either.
Almost a third of 19-37-year-olds tell us that they plan to buy a real Christmas tree—an especially impressive stat considering how the price on those trees is climbing considerably. Millennials are actually being blamed for driving up Christmas tree prices. According to CNBC there’s been a 10% increase in Christmas tree sales in the last five years, and prices are going up, with many saying that the demand from Millennials is creating a shortage. In reality, there’s more to the story, and fewer farmers along with disastrous weather have shortened the supply. But it is true that last year, the Christmas tree industry was booming with 10% more real trees were sold in 2018 than 2017, according to payment company Square Inc. A National Christmas Tree Association exec explained to USA Today that “Our members are saying every day that they’re getting more of these younger families.”
Those younger families, a.k.a. Millennial parents, are the reason that many of these traditions are thriving. When we compare young parents with their non-parent peers, we see that they’re far more likely to plan on participating in an old-school holiday custom, across the board:
Half of Millennial parents tell us they plan to send out a holiday card, over two in five plan to have a real tree, and nearly the same number say they plan to buy an advent calendar. And those are nearly the most popular tradition on Millennial parents’ list: 56% tell us they plan to take their kids to visit Santa this season.
Of course, Millennials—and especially Millennial parents are also merging their digital ways with their offline festivities: half of 19-37-year-olds and three in five parents in this age group say they’ll be looking for holiday food and décor ideas on social media. So while them might be keeping up the trimmings, don’t forget that they’re thinking about celebrating when they’re online too.