Amid skepticism on state of the world, 85 per cent of Canadians believe holiday season is about helping those in need

One in three Canadians say they want to help address child poverty

TORONTO, Dec. 6, 2016 /CNW/ - Eighty-five per cent of Canadians believe that the holiday season is about helping those in need. According to a new Ipsos survey, despite a profound skepticism about the current state of the world, Canadians are looking to spread the spirit of giving back this holiday season.

In a year of unprecedented humanitarian emergencies, unforeseen political events and rising inequality, only two in five Canadians are hopeful about the current state of the world. Amid this skepticism, more Canadians are seeking out ways to make their holiday giving impactful.

"As 2016 comes to a close, many of us are still trying to come to grips with everything that's happened. From the relentless conflict in Syria to the earthquake in Ecuador and so much in between, it's been a tumultuous year," says Meg French, UNICEF Canada's Chief Program Officer. "However, renowned for their generosity, Canadians are looking for ways to make a difference this holiday season and to give back to those less fortunate."

Giving back tops meaning of holidays

Eighty-one per cent of people surveyed believe that Canadians are forgetting the true meaning of the holiday season. As a result, many Canadians are looking to contribute their time, money and efforts to global issues. And, one third of Canadians say that if they could help address a global issue, it would be child poverty.

"Canadians are concerned that the true meaning of the holidays is being lost in today's world, but they're not letting that stop them," says Deana Shaw, Vice President of Direct and Integrated Marketing at UNICEF Canada. "They're creating meaning by looking for ways to give back and help children in need. We're seeing this first hand this year with an increase in donations by Canadians to our Survival Gifts program. Canadians are buying charitable gifts including bed nets to prevent malaria, Plumpy'Nut to treat child malnutrition and education supplies for children caught in conflict."

Happy holidays without the consumerism – Canadians confess to tossing out gifts

Everyone might like to receive a gift now and then, but when purchasing holiday gifts, three in four Canadians say that many of the people they buy for don't actually need anything. Moreover, 23 per cent say they usually end up throwing out some of the holidays gifts they receive every year.

"Between the desire to give back and the excess in consumerism that we see during the holidays, many Canadians are looking for ways to show their loved ones they care without being wasteful," says Shaw. "Survival Gifts are the best way to do that."

UNICEF Survival Gifts popular with Canadians

UNICEF Survival Gifts are real gifts with real impact that are sent to the most vulnerable children in 140 countries, helping them survive and thrive. They include things like vaccination packs to help protect babies against preventable diseases and thermal blankets to keep uprooted refugee children warm during the winter months.

In 2015, Canadians purchased nearly 10 million life-changing Survival Gift items to help vulnerable children. This year, one of the most popular Survival Gifts so far is the restocking of an Emergency Medical Centre. During emergencies UNICEF is among the first on the ground to help. For $50, this gift provides vital medical supplies, including vaccines and therapeutic food, to immediately help save more than 50 children's lives.

Finding joy this season

According to the Ipsos survey, when Canadians think about what brings them joy during the holiday season, the overwhelming majority say spending time with family, followed by eating holiday meals and treats. Eighty-two percent say that donating to charity to help children in need also brings them joy.

"The results of this poll reaffirmed what we already knew about Canadians – that they care about each other and the world around them," says French. "We encourage all Canadians to give the greatest gift there is this holiday season – the gift of saving a child's life with UNICEF Survival Gifts."

About Survival Gifts
Survival Gifts are real gifts with real impact for children and families around the world. They are delivered year round to reach the most vulnerable children. When you purchase a UNICEF Survival Gift on behalf of a friend or loved one, the recipient receives a card or e-card that celebrates the good their gift is doing, while a vulnerable child or family receives the actual items. Real items come from the UNICEF warehouse in Copenhagen, Denmark - the world's largest humanitarian warehouse. The gifts are sent to more than 140 developing countries where UNICEF is working with children, families and communities. For more information or to purchase UNICEF Survival Gifts, please visit

About the Ipsos Poll

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between November 18 and November 20, 2016, on behalf of UNICEF. For this survey, a sample of 1,019 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls maybe subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit


Image with caption: "In Nigeria, children smile while standing at the entrance to their UNICEF-provided tent classroom, in the Gire 2 camp for internally displaced people, in the country’s north-east. © UNICEF/UNI181989/Rich (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)". Image available at:

For further information: Stefanie Carmichael, UNICEF Canada, 416-482-6552 ext. 8866, 437-345-6324 (mobile),


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