Can you think of a gift that you received when you were young, that had a big impact on your life?
D“My parents could really do the Christmas thing. Under the tree resembled a “movie set” Christmas. I was 3 and a half, and my parents had bought me a family of dolls, a kid sized table and chairs complete with a play set of china and dolls and teddy bears occupying the seats. On Christmas eve my Mom was doing last minute shopping and she spotted a toy toaster with toy toast for $1.25. Guess what I played with from then on? I think it was the function of it. It popped up. I thought it was magic.”
C “This is so Canadian: it was a hockey stick. It was a time when my parents were struggling. My dad couldn’t find work and Christmas was coming up. A local church gave us a care basket with food and presents for the kids. Mine was the stick. I’ll always remember my mother’s tears of gratitude. We weren’t expecting anything, so that present meant the world to me. It always reminds me that simple kindness can help people get through the bad times till they can hopefully get back on their feet.”
As entertainers, you’ve brought joy and laughter to people around the world. How has this work shaped your philosophy of giving back?
D“When your living is based on making people laugh, you come to know what that really means and how important it is. It already feels like we are giving back when we perform because we feel the joy from the audience when they are laughing. We give back because we have been lucky. Sometimes that’s the only difference between the haves and have nots in the world. Luck. So, because we’ve been lucky, we share the luck when we can.”
C “After shows I’ve had people tell me that they have been going through a bad time for whatever reason and for the length of the show, that was forgotten. The gift of an hour and a half impacted their life. Giving back can be the simplest of things, but the changes it can bring can be immeasurable.”
You’re often travelling with a live show, and yet, it’s clear your family is a top priority for you. What family tradition are you most looking forward to this year at Christmas and why?
C “Christmas morning. My mother-in-law, Deb, Kinley and I sit in our living room, Kinley in her elf hat handing out presents. It’s relaxed and everyone takes the time to see what they’ve received and to thank the giver. Then we eat non-stop.”
D“I carried on the family Christmas traditions. Our home is decked in its finest and food and treats abound. We always have a Christmas party which I started doing forty years ago even when I was single. And we entertain our family and friends Christmas eve and Christmas day. We do the formal breakfast with champagne and the full traditional Christmas dinner. Always special to see the Christmas china come out once a year. We always sponsor a local family to have a full Christmas with food, tree and gifts and we ask our guests to contribute in lieu of host gifts, to Fred Victor Mission (my Dad’s charity) and The Toronto Star Santa Fund (which was the only Christmas my Mom had as a child). And we always choose a gift from the World Vision Catalogue to give as gifts and just because.”
Do you have a favourite gift in the World Vision Gift Catalogue?
D “When we were first giving gifts, we were always attracted to the animals, and what I would refer to as the standout items. As time went on, and it’s much the same as our sponsorship philosophy, we select “most needed gifts” — the child that needs us the most and the items that are needed the most. We feel that World Vision knows better than we do. But I will say, that looking through the latest catalogue was so wonderful. Every single need is thought of. Fun items and serious items are all possibilities for those who want to give.”
You’ve been ambassadors with World Vision for nearly 10 years. Tell us why you’ve chosen to partner with them.
D “World Vision’s concept around the old saying, “Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you’ve fed him for a lifetime” is really what appeals to us about World Vision. It puts food in people’s stomach’s but more importantly it puts dignity in their hearts. We saw this when we travelled with them to the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2010.”