Along with carefully wrapped presents, delicious desserts, and eye-catching decorations, the holiday season is also best-known for time spent with loved ones. Whether it’s a big blow-out party or an intimate gathering, the season is about sitting down, unplugging, and reconnecting with the important people in your life. While it can be hard to think of the perfect present for every relative, thoughtful gifts can make friends and family members feel even more connected during the holidays—especially if that gift capitalizes on what the two of you have in common while helping the giftees learn more about themselves.

This year, make shared connections with your loved ones the central theme of your holiday get-togethers by gifting AncestryDNA.

A steel worker in front of his home with his family in the slum area of Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh 1944

Wallace Kirkland The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

The leading at-home DNA kit, AncestryDNA, is a gift that sparks curiosity and drives not just personal but shared discovery . You may celebrate The Feast of the Seven Fishes every Christmas Eve in homage to your Italian roots, but AncestryDNA can fill in any knowledge gaps, like by telling you the exact region of Italy your family comes from — including geographically-relevant details about those regions. Based on what you learn, you may forge traditions new to your present day family that were integral customs to your great great grandparents. AncestryDNA can tell you details like a region’s  famous cuisine, which you and your family can then incorporate into your celebrations next year to experience your ancestral past for the first time together. Plus, you can trace your ancestors journey over time to better understand how, and more importantly why, your family ended up in the location they did. 

Beyond adapting these new, old traditions, AncestryDNA can help you connect with relatives you didn’t know you had. Maybe your dinner next year won’t just include some new dishes, but new faces around the table as well. These new-found details of your personal history can help you and your loved ones gain a deeper understanding of yourselves and each other, ultimately strengthening your bond.

Calling Santa, 1947.

Calling Santa, 1947

Martha Holmes The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

It’s the thought that counts when it comes to gift-giving, so opt for a unique present that demonstrates the importance you place on your family bonds.  With either the AncestryDNA Kit ($XX, usually $99) or the AncestryDNA + Traits Kit ($XX, usually $119) which includes bonus information about up to 26 of your most interesting traits, gifting AncestryDNA will help you and your loved ones go beyond the small talk this holiday season and move on to deeper, more meaningful conversations. And if strengthening family connections isn’t the epitome of the holiday spirit, we’re not sure what is.

More Like This


Cool Car Shots

Women's Work-Life Dilemma lifestyle

The Women’s Work-Home Dilemma, 1947


Classic Images of College Football

Seated close to the evening fire, old man Gray Mountain, 91, tells his small grandchildren legends about the early days of the Navajo people. lifestyle

‘A Country Within a Country’: Inside the Navajo Nation in 1948

Archery providing entertainment for a group of friends at a teenage party, 1956. lifestyle

Celebrate Friendship With LIFE’s Most Memorable Pictures of Pals

A steel worker in front of his home with his family in the slum area of Pittsburgh. lifestyle

These 1940s Photographs of Pittsburgh Steel Worker Families Hold a Mystery