Sharon Jackson and Victoria Floyd smile as they welcome shoppers to their World Vision booth at The Bay Centre in downtown Victoria.
The pair have been working the mall floor for the last month encouraging Christmas shoppers to donate to World Vision and to sponsor a child in the Third World.
World Vision is among many charities hoping the goodwill of the holiday season will transition money to their charity.
“There’s quite a mixture of people who visit the booth,” Jackson said. “Some people are stressed out with Christmas shopping and not in the mood to give, while others are very giving.”
Statistics Canada says British Columbians are among the most giving in the nation donating $543 per capita on an annual basis.
Over at Victoria Cool Aid Society spokesperson Alan Rycroft said his organization sees a huge increase in giving, usually beginning in mid-November.
“My phone rings off the hook at this time of the year with people wanting to help out,” he said.
“Throughout the month of December it is very, very busy on the giving front. People are very generous.”
University of Victoria psychology professor Danu Stinson said no one should be surprised that people are in a giving spirit at Christmas time.
Giving to other people increases positive affect, increases well being and causes people to feel a deeper sense of connection and community, she said.
“There are deep primal evolutionary reasons why we give. There are ties of social norms with the idea of being communal which you give to people when they’re in need trusting they will give to you when you are one day in need,” Stinson said.
Stinson also said Christmas is a time when you give and are expected to give.
“Charities feed into this because that’s when they do big drives for donations.
“If those activities shifted to another time of year then people would probably give at those times of year.”
But both Rycroft and Jackson believe it is in people’s nature to give.
“People want to support children,” Jackson said. ‘It’s Christmas and it’s about children.”
Added Rycroft: “I think at Christmas time we’re all out there treating ourselves pretty nicely and many of us want to do something nice for someone else.”