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Press release content from Business Wire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Survey Finds Americans Skip Holiday Gatherings to Avoid Uncomfortable Family Conversations, and Wish Dialogue Was More Meaningful

October 23, 2019 GMT


In a new survey* commissioned by Ancestry ®, nearly three in four (70%) Americans who celebrated a winter holiday with family in the last three years wish conversations with their family during these cheerful times were more meaningful. Year after year, many families sit around the holiday table tiptoeing around uncomfortable topics such as love life, career plans and finances, or merely exchanging surface-level chit chat. In fact, some family gatherings are so divisive or uncomfortable, that almost half (49%) of those polled skipped a family gathering at least once. Despite these statistics, Americans want and yearn for more meaningful family connections.

This year, Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, is on a mission to bring more meaning to holiday gatherings by providing families with the resources for sparking more meaningful conversations, centered around what unifies them—their shared family story.

“Exploring your family story is a great way to enable all generations to build deeper personal bonds during the holidays. We’re proud to empower people with tools and knowledge that help families come together and make the most of the season,” says Margo Georgiadis, chief executive officer of Ancestry.

Although Americans want to reconnect with their loved ones during family holidays, the survey found that nearly two out of three (64%) would not describe their family gatherings as meaningful, and more than one in four even go as far as to describe them as superficial or gossipy (27%). Americans reported family members giving unsolicited advice (88%), and uncomfortable topics, such as politics, marital status or kids being brought up (81%), or even arguments breaking out (37%).

Ancestry has partnered with Maria Shriver, award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author, to provide tips for creating more meaningful connections with family members and navigating these uncomfortable conversations. Igniting meaningful conversations has long been a pillar of Shriver’s work, including in her role as Editor-in-Chief of The Sunday Paper, a modern digital newspaper that inspires readers to find common ground across the family dinner table. Shriver is also host of the popular podcast, “ Meaningful Conversations,” which tackles tough, but important topics that shape our world and move humanity forward.

“Ancestry and I share a mission to inspire powerful connections,” says Maria Shriver. “The holidays can be stressful, but I believe they don’t have to be. We can all learn to listen with kindness and approach one another with open hearts and open minds around our dinner tables. It can take work and it often requires patience, but that’s exactly why we’re giving families the resources and tools to ignite more meaningful conversations around the holidays and beyond.”

Shriver is sharing several tips for going beyond the surface conversations and tackling uncomfortable moments this holiday season:

To further spark meaningful connections during this festive season, Ancestry is partnering with TABLETOPICS, America’s popular and award-winning conversation game. The custom Ancestry TABLETOPICS Edition features fun question cards that will allow families to uncover stories about their ancestors—and ultimately bring everyone closer together. A sampling of questions from the custom edition include:

Starting November 1, with any purchase of an Ancestry gift membership, you will receive a free Ancestry edition of TABLETOPICS to encourage meaningful discussions, laughter and storytelling (only while supplies last).

About Ancestry ®

Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, empowers journeys of personal discovery to enrich lives.

*About the Ancestry Holiday Survey

The Ancestry Holiday Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,000 U.S. adults who celebrated a winter holiday within the last three years with family between September 27 and October 3, 2019, using an email invitation and an online survey. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.


TABLETOPICS Questions to Start Great Conversations are the award-winning conversation starter sets that help millions of people spark fun and meaningful discussions with their family and friends around the dinner table, at parties, on road trips – wherever. What started as a personal passion for great conversation has blossomed into America’s most popular conversation game with over 35 products sold in specialty stores throughout the U.S., Canada and the world. TABLETOPICS is a division of Ultra PRO International, LLC and is headquartered in Commerce, California.

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CONTACT: Lauren Danis




SOURCE: Ancestry

Copyright Business Wire 2019.

PUB: 10/23/2019 09:00 AM/DISC: 10/23/2019 09:01 AM