How long do you keep things in the family? According to new research, 42% of Americans have a family heirloom that’s over 50 years old.
The survey asked 2,000 Americans about their family history and their most valued possessions that have been passed down from generation to generation.
Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed said they loved learning about their family’s history and the family heirlooms when they were growing up.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Shinola, the survey found nearly half of those polled cited a family heirloom as one of their most prized possessions.
And as nearly seven in 10 respondents shared that some of their most cherished childhood memories were looking through old family photos with grandparents — it’s no surprise that 65% cited their family photos as their most cherished items.
Perhaps the key to holding familial items close to the heart is the simple fact that family plays a significant part in who Americans want to be when they grow up.
Seven in 10 respondents shared they wanted to be just like their parents, with over half also hoping they could one day embody their parents’ unconditional love.
Other traits respondents hope their parents could pass onto them included their patience, kindness and intelligence.
Aside from their emotional inheritance, respondents also shared that, on average, at 24 years old they started to inquire about items they hoped could be passed down to them one day.
Aside from the family’s engagement rings and wedding rings, 26% of respondents shared they’re hoping to inherit the family watch one day.
“Being given a family heirloom is so much more than just receiving a physical gift — it’s something that has lived a life already, and now it’s going to make more memories with a new owner,” said Shannon Washburn, Shinola’s CEO.
“Getting dad’s old watch, or mom’s leather journal cover, for example — there are stories engrained in those goods that are special to that piece only. It’s like being handed a piece of your own family’s history that you’re lucky enough to carry on.”
And even outside of their families, respondents shared they put the same amount of effort and love into purchasing gifts.
In fact, 77% of respondents said it was important to them that they give a gift that will be around for years and even potentially become a family heirloom later in life.
Eighty-seven percent of those surveyed agreed that the quality of a gift speaks louder than quantity.
“Quality means everything when it comes to giving a gift you hope becomes a life-long possession or family heirloom,” said Washburn. “At Shinola, that’s of utmost importance to us with everything we make, as we intend for our goods to be lived in, worn out, well-loved and passed down.”
AMERICANS’ MOST PRIZED POSSESSIONS
Family photos — 65%
Wedding ring — 56%
Piece of jewelry — 54%
Engagement ring — 50%
Family heirloom — 49%
Computer laptop — 49%
Car — 44%
Wedding dress — 41%
Child’s memory box — 39%
TV — 38%
Item of clothing — 37%
Favorite book — 37%
Piece of art — 36%
Camera — 36%
Video game console — 36%
Musical instrument — 35%
Scrapbook — 33%
TOP 10 ITEMS AMERICANS HOPE TO INHERIT
Engagement ring — 32%
Piece of jewelry — 29%
Wedding ring — 26%
Watch — 26%
Wedding dress — 25%
Wedding veil — 19%
Family home — 18%
Kitchen item — 17%
Suit — 16%
Item of clothing — 14%
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