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Holidays of hope: six gifts that give back to refugees

Finding the perfect gift for your loved ones and friends can be a challenge during the holiday season — it’s about finding something with the right mix of sentimentality, value and usefulness. When you shop with purpose and choose a gift that gives back, your gifts can bring you and your loved ones joy knowing that they supported a good cause. 

As we close out 2021, here’s a list of gifts and ideas that can turn your holiday shopping into meaningful impact for displaced families this year. 

1. Buy gifts made by refugees

syrian refugee Hiba holds up ornaments she made with made51

Shopping for unique and handmade gifts is easier than ever with online shopping. Several organizations and businesses from around the world now offer online shops that bring handcrafted items made by refugees right to your doorstep. Items made through UNHCR’s MADE51 program directly help refugee artisans build sustainable livelihoods for themselves. 

Within the U.S., cafes and shops like The Lancaster Stroopies Company and 1951 Coffee help refugees rebuild their lives through job training, English classes and flexible work schedules. These businesses are committed to helping resettled refugees connect with their new communities and get back on their feet. From a bag of roasted coffee to a tin of sweet treats, these presents will make for delicious and impactful gifts this holiday season. 

2. Help a family fly with Miles4Migrants

Do you have extra airline miles this year? Miles4Migrants is an organization that helps displaced people who have been approved for resettlement but cannot afford airfare. Once a displaced family finishes the resettlement approval process, they must pay for their own plane tickets to their new home. Many families cannot afford the expense, so Miles4Migrants works with these families to help them reach their new home. Donating your miles in the name of someone you love is not only a meaningful gift for them, but it will also be life-changing for a displaced family. 

3. Make a selection from a Giving Machine

usa for unhcr board member latrise brissett

The #LightTheWorld Giving Machines campaign, presented by USA for UNHCR partner Latter-day Saint Charities, will offer generous Americans the opportunity to swipe their credit card at what looks like a traditional vending machine, but instead of those machines offering refreshments, the vending machines will offer “Gifts that Give.” Gifts for refugees this holiday season include blankets, solar lanterns, sleeping mats, winter clothing and tents. Giving Machines are located in New York City, Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City and Honolulu. 

4. Select USA for UNHCR in Paypal

When using Paypal for your holiday shopping, select USA for UNHCR as your favorite charity at the Give section on the Checkout settings. Then, every time you make an online purchase, you’ll have the opportunity to donate $1 to support refugees. 

5. Use Amazon Smile

refugee mother smiles at her son

Did you know your Amazon shopping can go the extra mile for refugees? When you’re purchasing gifts from Amazon this year, use smile.amazon.com and select USA for UNHCR as your preferred charity. The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of your purchase for all of the AmazonSmile eligible purchases. 

6. Create an Instagram or Facebook Fundraiser 

When you’re posting photos and videos from holiday parties this year, take a moment to donate your platform for refugees! Visit USA for UNHCR on Facebook and select “start a fundraiser” under the Fundraisers tab to share your passion for helping refugees with your loved ones. On Instagram, use the ‘donation’ sticker when you’re creating a story and select USA for UNHCR. Proceeds from Facebook and Instagram fundraisers will protect and empower refugees. 

Happy Holidays!

Dec 6 2021
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