Canadians more hopeful this holiday season with new appreciation for importance of generosity: survey

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December 2021

Over half of Canadians say they are more hopeful this year with eighty per cent of those crediting the ability to see friends and family in-person. Two-thirds of those who donate (63 per cent) and volunteer (66 per cent) indicate it fuels their hope and optimism over the holidays, according to two new surveys from Imagine Canada and Mental Health Research Canada.

One-third (32 per cent) are feeling less anxiety about the pandemic, with the vaccine relieving worries of their family (56 per cent) or themselves (53 per cent) contracting COVID-19.

The first study – Mental Health Research Canada’s Hopefulness Survey – examines the hopefulness of Canadians going into this holiday season. After in-person visits, connecting online as well as giving and receiving gifts have the strongest positive impacts.

The second – Imagine Canada’s annual Holiday Giving in Canada survey – explores the pandemic’s influence on holiday giving and volunteering intentions. Eighty-two per cent of Canadians say hardships inflicted by the pandemic have given them a new appreciation of the importance of generosity, while three quarters believe giving is an important source of joy for themselves and their families this holiday season.

Additional Key Findings

  • Young Canadians expect to donate more this holiday season. Six-in-ten adults under 25 plan to donate, up 12 per cent from last year. 
  • 85 per cent of Canadians believe volunteering to help those in need is a powerful way to experience the spirit of the holidays.
  • 17 per cent plan to volunteer this year versus nine per cent in 2020. Pre-pandemic, about a third volunteered their time.
  • Donations are projected to be down eight per cent this year overall. 
  • This holiday season, 56 per cent of Canadians say they plan to donate, up five per cent from last year but down compared to pre-pandemic levels (60 per cent).
  • Pre-pandemic, the average total gift per year was about $450. Because of the pandemic, that amount has declined by 27.5 per cent to about $325. During the holiday season specifically, the average planned gift amount is $102.
  • The holiday giving survey also reveals growing demands for federal government support for charities and nonprofits. The percentage of Canadians who think the government should do more for the nonprofit sector to help serve our communities is up six per cent over last year.

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