How early is too early to put up the Christmas tree?
It’s a question that’s always hotly debated in our home and across our Virgin family offices: How early is too early to put up the Christmas tree?
For our family, the festive period is a time to come together and take some time out from the busy business year. For this reason, Holly and Sam have always loved putting the tree up as early as possible – because it marks the start of that fuzzy Christmas feeling, board game playing and having fun around the dining table.
We have another great reason to put the tree up nice and early this year too – we’ve got our hands on some brilliant decorations handcrafted by refugee entrepreneurs supported by The UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) Made51 initiative.
MADE51 helps incredibly talented refugee artisans from around the world connect to the global retail market, earn an income, and rebuild their livelihoods.
This year, the number of forcibly displaced people has surpassed 100 million for the first time – a shocking figure that includes more than 32 million refugees. I’ve long used my voice to encourage greater openness to those forced to leave their home countries, their communities, and their loved ones behind. Our first involvement with refugees came when Virgin Atlantic flew medical supplies and food to Jordan after the first Gulf War in 1991. I remember meeting many refugees and hearing about the difficult issues they faced. In recent years, I joined The Elders in Ethiopia to support the UN’s work in one of Africa’s largest refugee camps near Gambela. And we also helped promote a free humanitarian concert for hundreds of thousands of refugees on Venezuela's border with Colombia in 2019.
The Made51 initiative has had an incredible impact so far and I’m really proud that Virgin Megastore Middle East has been one of MADE51’s first retail partners, now followed by Virgin Atlantic, who sell these beautiful items onboard.
Today I am thrilled to share that Virgin Red, our loyalty programme, is also now stocking Made51 products – available from just 900 points. (Quick tip - if you join Virgin Red today using this link, there’s currently an offer to get 500 points just for signing up).
There is so much that business can do to support refugees and it’s brilliant to see Virgin companies integrating refugee supporting enterprises into their supply chains.
I love scrolling through Virgin Red and seeing products from Made51 alongside handmade items from the Eve Branson Foundation and products from Virgin StartUp backed businesses. If you want to shop with purpose this Christmas, Virgin Red is a good place to start.