At a time when many families in the UK are struggling, the CEO of Co-op, one of the largest supermarket chains, said something important about excess.
The Daily Mail says that Shirine Khoury-Haq, the head of a company with over 3900 retail locations, is only giving her twin six-year-old daughters one present each this Christmas because she can’t “in good conscience” give them more while so many families are struggling with inflation and high energy prices.
After bonuses, Khoury-Haq makes more than £1 million ($1,190,000) a year, so she promised to give her family’s gift money to people who are struggling. “It just feels like excess, given what’s happening in the world. In good conscience, I can’t do that in my own home,” Khoury-Haq told The Guardian.
“The rest of our budget will be given to Santa to provide presents for children whose parents can’t contribute to the elves,” she continued. “We’re going to go out shopping for those other presents and [we will] send them to Santa.”
The Sunday Times says that one of her daughters wants a Paw Patrol toy, while the other wants a Barbie.
As in the U.S., people in the UK are having trouble making ends meet because inflation is at its highest level in 40 years. They also have to deal with energy prices that are way too high. By July, the prices of natural gas and electricity in the UK had gone up by 96% and 54%, respectively.
This holiday season, Khoury-company Haq’s has also made sacrifices to help people who are less fortunate. Co-op has decided to give Your Local Pantry shops all of its money for holiday advertising. People in the UK can pay as little as £3.50 ($4.20) a week to get at least ten food items from these community-based pantries.
Instead of an ad, this Christmas @coopuk is focussing on supporting @yourlocalpantry, community fridges with @hubbubUK, Caboodle, The Peer Action Collective through @YouthEndowFund and other great organisations that are making a real impact in their communities. 💙🎄💙 pic.twitter.com/cRmruoqEMj— Shirine Khoury-Haq (@skhouryhaq) November 26, 2022
“Whilst many of our competitors are also adapting their Christmas ads to reflect the mood of the nation in a cost of living crisis, we are going further by pulling our ad altogether,” Khoury-Haq said according to Retail Gazette.
“In doing so we will be shining a light on the need to support vital community causes, throughout the year and not just at Christmas, especially with a deep recession looming,” she continued.
Through their partnership, the Co-op and Your Local Pantry hope to help more than 32,000 households save nearly £5 million ($5,980,000) on their shopping bills over the next three years.
This Christmas season, we’re so happy and to be working with @coopuk to support our network of Pantries. pic.twitter.com/mrpYFj8jqj— Your Local Pantry (@yourlocalpantry) November 17, 2022
Khoury-decision Haq’s to only give each of her children one gift for Christmas may not help everyone in the UK get out of debt, but it does send an important message that people with money should think about. When so many people are in trouble, it’s not a good time to show off your money or spoil your kids. Her act is a great reminder that will hopefully get other people to give, too.
When times are hard, people who can afford to should set a good example for their kids and the rest of society by giving when people need it most. Because, in the end, the true meaning of the holidays is the spirit of giving.