The best gift of all…

title Everyone has a wish list when it comes to the holiday season (and if they don’t, they’re lying).  I want a heart rate monitor for when I work out, these cute pair of Kate Spade earrings, and a case for my new iPad mini.

The holiday season can be a very selfish time of year.  I want this and I have to have that and if I don’t get it, I’m not happy. Sometimes you often forgot how fortunate you are and how many people there are out there that actually need things that don’t carry a designer name or price tag.  Even something as simple as a bed, which I was quickly reminded of when I went at lunch this past Monday with a couple coworkers to pick up cots for children in need here in Winnipeg.

Not only is the holiday season about celebrating with loved ones and family (and getting a few gifts of your own), but it’s also about giving back. Instead of taking advantage of all those before-Christmas sales for items you probably don’t need (how often are you really going to wear that sequin dress?), why not make a difference with that money instead?


UNICEF Canada has given me the exclusive opportunity to unBOX possibilities and to actually touch, feel and taste some of the survival gifts that typically go straight from online purchase. There are over 60 lifesaving items that you can choose from online that go directly to help children in need around the world. Items range from a Mother and Baby Tetanus Pack ($28) to Bed Nets ($45) all the way up to 4WD vehicle ($33,341). Choose to donate one item or box a bunch of items together.

As I mentioned, I was sent some of the popular items that UNICEF offers, things that most of us probably take advantage of, but can really help others in need.  First up was a baby blanket.  Simple right?  This cotton blanket seems so second nature to us, but can mean safety and comfort to both babies and moms.  Blankets for babies are only $22 and that gives three babies a cozy welcome.

Next up are food items. Fifty per cent of all child deaths under five are caused by malnutrition and without proper nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life, children face long-term health risks.  So, would you believe that for $10 you can give a malnourished child food to survive? Remember in Mean Girls when Lindsay Lohan’s character gave Regina George those foreign “weight-loss” bars, but they made her gain all that weight?  Plumpy’Nut, a therapeutic, peanut-based food, boosts a malnourished child’s chance at survival by eating just three packs a day (your $10 is enough for 21 packs of this product). I tried Plumpy’Nut and then offered it to a ton of my coworkers to try and the general consensus was that it’s really good.  It tastes like peanut butter, but a little thicker.  If it wasn’t so high in calories (which is the point of it), I totally would have ate the whole package.

Both the Blankets for Babies and Plumpy’Nut are matched gifts, which can mean a doubled impact up to $25,000 thanks for generous UNICEF partners.


Pair your gift of Plumpy’Nut with Therapeutic Milk, which for $20 will provide 50 glasses of milk for children in need, a necessity at emergency feeding centres, refugee camps and hospitals. Growing up in Canada, the ability to feed babies and watch them grow healthy and strong is such a given that its weird that think that some moms don’t get that option.

Lastly, the gift of water is a big one. Did you know that 1,600 children die everyday from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation? I know growing up I always felt fortunate that I can just go to the tap and drink the water directly from there.  For $19 you can provide a family of four with enough clean water for four months. Gift Water Purification Tablets that can be used for drinking, cooking and cleaning. I put a tablet in a cup of water, which takes about 30 minutes to disintegrate.  I didn’t think there would be a difference in taste, but the water did taste like it was chlorinated, similar to pool water.  Keep in mind that I also mixed it into bottled water, which didn’t need to be filtered.

Okay so they may not be that designer pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing for some time, but after all it’s better to give than receive. After seeing how simple these gifts are, and especially how affordable they are considering the impact they give ($30 for Plumpy’Nut plus the Therapeutic Milk, which is around what I usually spend on a dinner and night out with girlfriends), please consider taking a look at the UNICEF Survival Gifts catalogue and gift something to someone in need.  One million children took their first and last breath on the day they were born, one in two of all child deaths are from malnutrition, and 17,000 children die every day from preventable causes. Thus far, 5.94 million survival gifts were sent to 42 countries around the world. There are tons of options to choose from and personalize, visit or join in the convo using hashtag #unBOXpossibilities.   You can also check out UNICEF’s YouTube channel to see real-life experiences on how your gifts unBox possibilities for people in need.

How will you be giving back this holiday season?

Please note, I am working with UNICEF Canada on this post. 

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