Kid Think Inc. – What today’s kids are thinking: Teens enjoy family traditions

To help us keep up-to-date with what's happening with kids, we've asked Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, to investigate and report back to us on a wide range of issues in kids' lives. Since today's kids spend so...
January 1, 1998

To help us keep up-to-date with what’s happening with kids, we’ve asked Kid Think Inc., a youth marketing consulting group, to investigate and report back to us on a wide range of issues in kids’ lives. Since today’s kids spend so much time on-line, Kid Think talked with kids via LiveWire: Today’s Families Online, a proprietary panel of 600 on-line families across the United States and Canada.

Both Kid Think and LiveWire are divisions of Griffin Bacal, a New York communications agency specializing in the youth and family markets. If you have any questions or subjects you would like Kid Think to cover, call Bob Horne at 212-337-6410 or e-mail

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This month, LiveWire asked teens about their spending habits during the holiday season.

What we found:

While our panel admitted that, for them, the holidays and shopping were practically synonymous, they still tried to get as much mileage as possible from their dollars. These teens told us that they spent roughly US$25 per gift on family members and US$10 to US$15 on friends. The majority of those dollars was spent in stores like Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target, because they provided the best combination of variety and value.

The teen consumers on our panel also mentioned that a store’s atmosphere was important, though this took a back seat to good prices. Many kids told us that they were more likely to visit stores that had festive holiday decorations and music, because these features helped them to get into the spirit.

This year, wish lists were dominated by electronics like CD players, video game players, particularly Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation, and the games that go with them. Top choices for games were StarCraft, Tekken, Goldeneye 007, Tetrisphere and Diddy Kong Racing. Also on lists were new computers, faster modems and updated software. CDs were extremely popular to give and to get. Artists named most were Marilyn Manson, Prodigy, Bone thugs-n-harmony, Spice Girls, Hanson and Robyn to name a few.

While shopping makes a significant mark on the holidays, all our panelists explained that every year they look forward to rich holiday traditions that involve family and friends. We asked them to tell us about these traditions and what they look forward to most.

What kids said:

‘My favorite thing about the holidays is everyone is so warm and happy and we have a beautiful tree and the dinner’s the best one of the year.’ Samantha, Kentucky, age 13

‘We always put up our Christmas tree and decorations either the first Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s always a fun day to look forward to.’ Nicholas, Connecticut, age 17

‘Every year my family goes and picks out our Christmas tree together, then we come home and decorate it while my dad puts on a really old tape of Alvin and the Chipmunks singing Christmas carols.’ Sara, Washington, age 17

‘We usually have a family Chanukah party at my house, and it’s very special to be able to hang out with all of my relatives.’ Valerie, Maryland, age 16

‘We always read Christmas books and watch holiday videos together in front of a fire. We bake cookies together and count down the days with a paper chain that we take a link off every day. We decorate the tree with the paper chain and popcorn balls that we roll by hand. My sister and I play keyboard and sing Christmas carols.’ Jennifer, Massachusetts, age 15

‘My favorite tradition is when we go and cut down the tree as a family.’ Robert, Pennsylvania, age 13

Next month: Kid Think Inc. asks kids what they look for in toys and toy stores.

The Kid Think column is a regular KidScreen feature.

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