Gift-giving can be stressful. Navigating family and friends with diverse interests, those who seemingly have everything, or are just really hard to shop for puts a lot of pressure on a thoughtful gift giver.

Last Christmas I discovered the best gift for a diverse group—and spoiler alert—it was a huge hit with everyone. I gifted my entire family an AncestryDNA®. What I initially thought would be an interesting and unique gift turned into a family bonding experience and has delivered fun and engagement throughout the year while we awaited our results.

Giving the Perfect Group Gift

rolls of wrapping paper ancestry dna kit on wood table string

When traveling to visit family for the holidays it’s hard to pack bulky packages, which requires getting creative with gifting. Some of the options include giving group gifts, personalized smaller gifts (that easily fit in your suitcase), or resorting to gift cards. So, as Black Friday approached I was perusing through deals and preparing my shopping list and was immediately drawn to the Ancestry® offering. At first, I was going to gift it to myself and my spouse as a fun winter activity but ultimately decided this would be a great gift for everyone on my list. Once I checked out, I was not only done with the bulk of holiday shopping before December (and got a great deal!), but I also felt great about giving a unique gift that (hopefully) everyone would love.

How It Works

woman with Ancestry DNA kit Christmas wrapping

I am a sucker for watching people open presents, so after ordering the AncestryDNA® kits, I opted to have them sent directly to me, but there is also the option of having them sent directly to your recipients. Each member of my family from my grandmother to my brother-in-law was excited to learn more about our family origins and we made plans to share the results together as soon as they came in.

Each kit comes complete with instructions for collecting a small saliva sample, which is then sealed, and mailed back to the company for analysis. One by one, the results trickled in each month, and with each result, we delighted in fact-checking years of family historical claims and finding out we were way less Irish than we’d been led to believe.

You may be wondering why gifting the DNA kit to your family would yield different results, but as it turns out, your brother's and sister's DNA is different, even though you have the same parents. According to Ancestry®, "The particular mix of DNA you inherit is unique to you." We receive half of our DNA from each of our biological parents, as did our siblings, but they didn’t get the same half. This means the DNA will differ, most likely resulting in their own unique ethnicity estimate.

Genealogy Is Cool

Ellen Prinzi

An entire Saturday night was spent tracing my paternal family history back through Ellis Island, Scotland, Ireland, and going down a rabbit hole of family and world history. Turns out my experience was shared by the rest of my family, digging into their own results. We enjoyed our experience so much we plan to visit the village in Scotland where many of our ancestors originated. This exciting family trip was born out of a renewed interest in our past, thanks to AncestryDNA®.

AncestryDNA® will be on sale for $49 from 11/26-11/30

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