The Gift of Memories: why are Brits now more interested in experiences and reminiscence over cash and presents?

In a year which separated us from our families and transformed our way of life, a biography-writing service discovers a wave of sentimentality across Britain.

In recent years, classic nostalgic or sentimental gifts such as photo albums, handmade trinkets or family heirlooms passed onto the next generation, have been seen by many as cliche, corny and a bit underwhelming.

“Be it an old house, a photo album, or a quilt made by a grandmother – items passed down from our loved ones carry powerful stories with them. In the eyes of someone else, these things may seem worthless or even dingy, but to us, they are priceless because the stories attached to them have helped shape us.

“This concept may have been lost on many people in recent times, but the pandemic and the resulting lockdown have helped millions to rediscover their love for sentimental gifts such as these, with many now placing more value than ever before on fond memories, family bonds and memorable experiences.” Rutger Bruining, CEO and Founder of StoryTerrace

For some time now, the latest Amazon deal of the day or Black Friday sale has taken precedence over that collection of old photos or handmade sweaters exchanged around the table at family gatherings.  

However, after a year which has seen a global pandemic completely transform our daily lives and force millions across the country to face their mortality or that of their loved ones, new research suggests that sentimentality and keepsakes have found their value once again. 

With people separated from their friends and families, particularly older relatives, for extended periods of time, a national survey carried out by biography-writing service StoryTerrace has discovered that the time in isolation has encouraged Brits to dramatically rethink their attitudes to sentimentality, memories and family bonds.

  • 57% of Brits would rather receive possessions from their loved ones than cash
  • 77% of Brits value the memory of possessions over its financial value
  • 54% of Brits would not sell a valuable inherited item even if they needed the money due to the sentimental value it holds for them or their family
  • 36% of Brits have inherited an object/artwork/furnishing that they don’t think is attractive, but have hung on to it for sentimental reasons

Not only does this research suggest that the majority of Brits place more value on the unique items and stories left to them from their loved ones, but StoryTerrace has also discovered a dramatic shift in perspective from younger generations:

  • 62% of Millennials would rather inherit a nostalgic item than cash in a will
  • 80% of Millennials value the sentimental value of possessions over its financial value
  • 59% of Millennials would not sell a valuable inherited item even if they needed the money due to the sentimental value it holds for them or their family

“As a company that deals daily with incredible family stories passed down through generations, we were not at all surprised by the statistics our research has revealed. Despite the practical value of receiving money from the generations before us, we wholeheartedly value the stories and things left behind.” Rutger Bruining, CEO and Founder of StoryTerrace

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