‘Tis the season for giving, and what better way to show loved ones you care than giving a gift with everlasting impact.

 

Illustration by Adrian Alphona
Art Direction & Layout by Eng C. Lau
Text by Jennifer Lee

 

The holiday season is a time of giving. For some, this refers to gifting and receiving objects that fit nicely into boxes adorned with ribbons and bows. For others, this means volunteering in their local community or donating to a cause close to their heart. But what if we told you both giving options could be combined neatly into one action?

Acting socially conscious during this time of year doesn’t mean shunning shopping all together, it just means using your purchasing power wisely. When running through the list of loved ones you want to treat this holiday season, consider a gift with impact.

With our holiday gift guide—chock full of ME to WE goodies and charitable donation ideas—giving back is both wrap-able and impactful. Choose between gifts and donations that each support one of WE’s five pillars: Education, Water, Health, Food, and Opportunity.

Given the tough decision between selecting a beautiful Rakifi bracelet or making a donation that will help provide one year of healthy lunches for a student, we’ve recruited friends of WE to share their own holiday picks and the meaningful reason behind their choices.

May their wish list inspire you!

 


 

Who: Shay Mitchell | Actress

WE Connection: She’s joined speakers and performers on the WE Day stage and helped inspire young change-makers from Los Angeles to London, as one of our Ambassadors. She’s also lent star power to ME to WE campaigns and helped spread Rafiki love the world around—that is when not with us in Kenya learning to bead with the artisans themselves!

Holiday Gift Pick: Hakuna Matata bracelet – Health | $15


Q&A

WE: What does the holiday season mean to you?

Shay: For me, the holiday season is all about family, traditions and yummy food. My parents always created such amazing memories for my brother and I. The holiday season is something I look forward to every year.

WE: How do you suggest people give back to both their local and global community year-round?

Shay: I would definitely suggest people do some research! Look into what is going on in your local community, find a cause that you are passionate about and get involved! The holiday seasons could be a great time to start something that you can be involved in all year-round.

WE: Why do you think your selection from ME to WE’s holiday catalogue is the perfect holiday gift?

Shay: The Hakuna Matata bracelet feels like such a meaningful gift. The beaded bracelet alone is beautiful, but more so, I love the message behind it. The Lion King is something that means so much to so many people, and to be able give a gift that can help save lives is what the entire holiday season should be about! Hakuna Matata means “no worries” in Swahili and that is what you would be giving with this gift; the access to health care is going to be a priceless gift for so many.

 

Who: Mia Farrow | Actress & Activist

WE Connection: She is a humanitarian that has helped inspire positive global impact by taking the stage at WE Day and motivating audiences with her compassion and knowledge. Whether speaking to a stadium full of students or an audience of parents and their children—as she did at WE Day Family in Toronto this September—she moves people to change the world for the better.

Holiday Gift Pick: Health care for a mom and new baby. | $100


Q&A

WE: What does the holiday season mean to you?

Mia: The holidays are a joyous time. I feel so fortunate to have the family I have and the life I’ve been blessed with. And, we can multiply our own joy by making a positive difference in another person’s life. Helping someone in need is a superb way to celebrate and feel good about ourselves.

WE: How do you suggest people give back to both their local and global community year-round?

Mia: I tell my kids and now my grandchildren not to look for happiness, but rather look for someone to help, and happiness will find you.

WE: Why do you think your selection from ME to WE’s holiday catalogue is the perfect holiday gift?

Mia: There is so much to love about the ME to WE gift catalogue! What a great resource for us all! This year, I’d choose giving healthcare to a mom and her baby. Globally [last year], 5.6 million children under five died from preventable illnesses. We can join forces and reduce that number.

 

Who: Jordan Fisher | Actor & Singer

WE Connection: Truly the host with the most, he has presented WE Day from coast to coast. A hit every time he takes the WE Day stage, this veteran WE Day guest kept audiences engaged at this past WE Day UN in New York in between speakers and performers the likes of Whoopi Goldberg and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Holiday Gift Pick: Support the construction of a water kiosk. | $100


Q&A

WE: What does the holiday season mean to you?

Jordan: The holiday season is the epitome of family, memories and nostalgia, and I think this is what we all seek as a species. I am more and more excited for the holidays every year.

WE: How do you suggest people give back to both their local and global community year-round?

Jordan: I am a great believer that we should all figure out how we can personally make the greatest difference in our community—for some, that means making a shift on a global scale. There are always ways that you can outreach and give back. Find out what you can do to help—volunteer… just give a little bit of your time. Serve and give back.

WE: Why do you think your selection from ME to WE’s holiday catalogue is the perfect holiday gift?

Jordan: The [water] kiosks are used in a great way and a communal sense. People have the opportunity to shave time—and hard work—off of their everyday [routine]. Having access to clean water is a huge ongoing gift to the people of this region. I saw the water kiosks in action when I was in Kenya, and I witnessed their value to the community.

 

Who: Roxanne Joyal | CEO of ME to WE & Founder of ME to WE Artisans

WE Connection: She set out to start a fair trade program so women in impoverished communities could sell their beadwork to visitors; today she leads social and economic empowerment initiatives for women in Kenya’s Maasai Mara and in Ecuador. As the CEO of ME to WE and Founder of ME to WE Artisans, her belief in the transformative potential of social enterprise has lifted families from poverty and provided individuals with the resources to establish themselves as leaders in their communities.

Holiday Gift Pick: Holiday Set of 6 Rafikis – Frozen & Winter Critters | $58


Q&A

WE: What does the holiday season mean to you?

Roxanne: The holidays are so special to me, as it allows me precious time to spend with my family and the opportunity to reflect on all the things in my life that I am truly grateful for. As a family and as a mother of two little girls, I also like to take this time to reconnect to why I do what I do by visiting a WE Villages project overseas with my girls and sharing this special time of year with the people and communities we care so much for.

WE: How do you suggest people give back to both their local and global community year-round?

Roxanne: Start by finding ways to give back that are aligned to your personal values and interests. You might just surprise yourself in how fun, meaningful and empowering helping others becomes when you are sharing something you truly love. The holidays are always a great time to reconnect with family and friends, who might be interested in helping double your impact by working alongside you, but you can also do this year-round by goal setting with friends, colleagues and family. Making time to do good in the world feels just as magical every day of the year.

WE: Why do you think your selection from ME to WE’s holiday catalogue is the perfect holiday gift?

Roxanne: The Holiday Rafiki set makes a great and accessible holiday gift or stocking stuffer that anyone can enjoy! There’s something special about knowing your gift was made with so much love by a woman in Kenya, who is now empowered to provide for her family. What a beautiful story to share with your loved ones—and even your little ones! The Winter Critters are some of my girls’ favourites.

 

Who: Penny Oleksiak | Competitive Swimmer & Olympic Champion

WE Connection: She helped WE mark Canada’s 150th as a youth ambassador during our historic WE are Canada campaign this year, including addressing the crowd at a momentous WE Day event on Parliament Hill. Recently, she also became a seasoned ME to WE traveller, after taking part in a volunteer trip to Kenya with her family—right before joining us on stage for another WE Day, this time during the fall tour in Toronto.

Holiday Gift Pick: Imani bracelet – Water | $15


Q&A

WE: What does the holiday season mean to you?

Penny: A chance to spend time with friends and family.

WE: How do you suggest people give back to both their local and global community year-round?

Penny: We need to believe that every positive action can have an impact and that we are part of a connected world. Even a small act—such as buying someone a coffee, saying hello, respecting our use of water, or buying a Rafiki—has the power to change our world and the world of others. Make it a priority to try to do one good act a day, however small.

WE: Why do you think your selection from ME to WE’s holiday catalogue is the perfect holiday gift?

Penny: I wear my Imani bracelet a lot. It supports clean water and means “belief” in Swahili. The Imani bracelet combines my love and respect for water with the power of [the] positive. Water connects us all—it sustains us, replenishes the earth and connects all lands. We sometimes need to be reminded how we are all connected and that our actions can have an impact for good.

 

Who: Nelly Furtado | Singer/Songwriter

WE Connection: This long-time WE Ambassador has wowed audiences at WE Days. She’s travelled with purpose alongside fellow socially conscious adventurers during ME to WE trips. And, she’s forged bonds with the communities WE Villages works with through life-changing impacts, including providing full scholarships to five Oleleshwa All Girls Secondary School students in rural Kenya.

Holiday Gift Pick: Rafiki bundle – Impact Series (set of 6) | $58


Q&A

WE: What does the holiday season mean to you?

Nelly: The holidays are a time to reflect on gratitude, blessings and love. [It’s] a time to feel joy and let yourself come away from our fast-paced routines, and let ourselves simply exhale and celebrate.

WE: How do you suggest people give back to both their local and global community year-round?

Nelly: I think that giving back can be a daily practice, whether taking the time to learn the names of the homeless people in your community or perhaps making your everyday routines more eco-friendly.

WE: Why do you think your selection from ME to WE’s holiday catalogue is the perfect holiday gift?

Nelly: The Rafiki Bundle is a great choice because you can use them as stocking stuffers, host/hostess gifts and they are suitable for all ages. I wear my Rafikis every day; they match every outfit because they are classic and understated, but also stylish.

 

Who: Tyrone Edwards | Television Host

WE Connection: The other half of the dynamic hosting duo (see partner Liz Trinnear below), he has entertained and educated WE Day audiences time and time again. And every time he does, he is making his own impact on the world by inspiring young leaders in the audience to give back to their local and global community.

Holiday Gift Pick: The goat that gives back. | $50


Q&A

WE: What does the holiday season mean to you?

Tyrone: The holidays have always been my absolute favourite time of the year. I sing carols and I look forward to seeing friends and family that I don’t typically get to see. I love ugly Christmas sweater parties, eggnog and [as] many get-togethers as possible. Now that I’m a dad [it] means also being responsible for teaching my daughter all the things I learned at her age and making it magical for her. Can you tell I’m excited?

WE: How do you suggest people give back to both their local and global community year-round?

Tyrone: Being a part of the WE fam, one thing I’m super proud of is that we make doing good doable. Follow the Instagram page, download the WE Day app and find something that interests you, and as a result, help change the life of someone locally or abroad.

WE: Why do you think your selection from ME to WE’s holiday catalogue is the perfect holiday gift?

Tyrone: One of the most important things to remember is that when you get someone a gift, your intention is to give something they want and need. I live here in Toronto, but can’t wait to gift “the goat that gives back!” A gift that will truly put a smile on countless faces upon arrival and for some time after that.

 

Who: Sofia Carson | Actress & Singer

WE Connection: Whether she’s representing the WE Movement on the blue carpet at WE Day California or addressing the audience at WE Day Toronto—be that during a speech or an electrifying musical performance—she is a WE Day alum that stands up and commands the attention of the crowd.

Holiday Gift Pick: One year of healthy lunches for a student. | $25


Q&A

WE: What does the holiday season mean to you?

Sofia: The holidays are truly the best time of the year… to me, they’re about cherishing the ones I love most, my family. [It’s] a season where we celebrate and give thanks for the blessings we’ve been given and, most importantly, give back as much as we can!

WE: How do you suggest people give back to both their local and global community year-round?

Sofia: Giving back shouldn’t have a season—we should give always… all year-round! There are countless ways to give back. On [a] small scale, I believe in the power of kindness. The world is in desperate need of more kindness. Something as simple as a smile can go a long way. I also believe in the power of words—our words can become our weapons of kindness. Telling someone that they are beautiful can mean so much. On [a] community scale, volunteering [at] your local homeless shelter or at the children’s hospital are two incredible ways to give back and will mean so much to so many. On the global scale, becoming involved with movements like WE—who are educating children around the world—is a beautiful way to give back year-round. Education is the greatest gift we can give a child. And WE is changing the lives of children around the world, gifting them with the gift of a future that they otherwise wouldn’t have—that is truly priceless.

WE: Why do you think your selection from ME to WE’s holiday catalogue is the perfect holiday gift?

Sofia: With twenty-five dollars, you can gift a child with the invaluable gift of food for an entire year… how beautiful is that? You can change a life and gift a child with health and education! There is no better gift than the gift of giving.

 

 

Who: Liz Trinnear | Reporter & Television Host

WE Connection: She’s a regular at WE Day, taking on hosting duties with partner Tyrone Edwards. No matter what city she’s in, she makes a difference the moment she takes the stage and starts talking about the WE Movement. She provides young leaders—like herself—with motivation and helps WE Day exist as a platform for positive change.

Holiday Gift Pick: Primary education for one child. | $50


Q&A

WE: What does the holiday season mean to you?

Liz: For me, the holiday season brings a reminder of the things that matter most in life and the importance of family, friends, giving back, and spreading love. It’s easy to feel like there is a lot of darkness in the world right now, but every year, I find it important to come together with my loved ones and celebrate.

WE: How do you suggest people give back to both their local and global community year-round?

Liz: We are in this world together, as a global community. As our world becomes smaller—in the sense that we’re so easily linked with places near and remote—it’s important to understand that we’re all human, and we all matter. Taking care of our neighbours has always been second nature to us in our close-knit communities. It’s imperative that we spread that sentiment of caring, understanding and support across the world and that we do it in a consistent way. We’re all neighbours on this planet: Earth!

WE: Why do you think your selection from ME to WE’s holiday catalogue is the perfect holiday gift?

Liz: In North America, we tend to take access to education for granted. We’re wrong for doing so, but it’s important to understand that some parts of our world are not as fortunate as we are. As a woman, I find it especially important to help provide education for girls and young women in places where their access to education might be challenged. Whether supporting a young girl or boy, a good education can provide a path to a better future for these young people, allowing them to develop and flourish into strong citizens of their communities. My husband and I are delighted to be giving the “primary education for one child gift” on behalf of one another this holiday season! It’s a relatively easy contribution for a great result. It makes us feel active and engaged in the global community—a sentiment that we can share with our loved ones.

 

Who: Olivia Holt | Actress & Singer

WE Connection: She hit the road with us last year for the spring WE Day tour, which included walking the star-studded blue carpet at WE Day California, and has since become a staple—and favourite—of this season’s WE Day tour.

Holiday Gift Pick: School kit | $25


Q&A

WE: What does the holiday season mean to you?

Olivia: It’s that time of year where we can enjoy being with friends and family, reflect on our year and be grateful.

WE: How do you suggest people give back to both their local and global community year-round?

Olivia: It’s good to first educate [yourself] on how you can give back locally and globally. Do your research and find something that will let you be involved throughout the year. Have a friend or two do it with you, so it feels less like homework or a job and more like a humbling experience.

WE: Why do you think your selection from ME to WE’s holiday catalogue is the perfect holiday gift?

Olivia: I believe the school kit is the perfect holiday gift. Instead of a student stressing that they don’t have any school supplies for their studies, we’re taking care of that for them and making sure their holidays are stress free and full of happiness—and [it] gets them excited for learning!

 

Who: Craig Kielburger | Co-founder WE Charity & ME to WE

WE Connection: He co-founded WE Charity alongside his brother Marc Kielburger and has dedicated his life’s work to inspiring young people to take action and drive social change. A humanitarian, activist and social entrepreneur, his vision has led to lifting more than one million people out of poverty in Africa, Asia and Latin America through WE Villages‘ holistic development model and provided service learning programs to 10,000 schools across Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom via WE Schools. Also the co-founder of ME to WE, he is empowering you to change the world through everyday consumer choices.

Holiday Gift Pick: ME to WE Chocolate – Box of 12 | $60


Q&A

WE: What does the holiday season mean to you?

Craig: I travel so much throughout the year, meeting young change-makers and visiting development projects overseas, and I’m grateful for the holiday season when I get to spend a prolonged period of time at home, focusing on family and counting the many blessings in my life. This year is particularly special for my family, as it’s the first holiday season we’ll be celebrating with our new bundle of joy, Hilson.

WE: How do you suggest people give back to both their local and global community year-round?

Craig: I think the first step in committing to service year-round is to identify the causes that you’re passionate about. Once you have a clear vision, I always suggest putting it in writing. For an extra layer of fun, consider building an annual Action Plan with your family. Not only will it be a great way to create lasting family memories, but—with goals set throughout the year—it allows you and your family to make doing good in your local and global communities a regular and sustainable activity.

WE: Why do you think your selection from ME to WE’s holiday catalogue is the perfect holiday gift?

Craig: Truthfully, I love all of the gifts from ME to WE’s holiday catalogue because each product represents a distinct impact being made in our global community! With that said, I’ve had the incredible pleasure of spending a lot of time in Ecuador this year, and I’ve seen firsthand how important the cacao bean crops are to the livelihood of farmers and their families. It’s a true honour to turn their crop yield into delicious ME to WE chocolates that everyone can enjoy, while also creating positive change in our global community through our five-pillar model of impact.

 

 

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