On Giving Tuesday 2017 — with a backdrop of farm animals juxtaposed against the Manhattan skyline — Jennifer Nettles shined as she talked about giving back with World Vision. The country superstar attended World Vision’s Give-back Gift Shop in New York City’s Bryant Park to encourage fans to give a gift matched by Thirty-One Gifts.
“I loved the chance to showcase the beautiful variety of gifts available,” Jennifer says. “There is something for everyone at every price point. Everyone can give a gift with meaning.”
This year, her Sugarland bandmate, Kristian Bush, will join her, and the Grammy-award winning duo is promoting child sponsorship and Giving Tuesday together. World Vision recently caught up with Sugarland to talk about Giving Tuesday and what has them excited for Christmas this year.
What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?
Jennifer Nettles: I always look forward to watching the magic of Christmas in my child’s eyes. He will be 6 in December, so he is prime age for all the magic.
Kristian Bush: I love being around my kids at Christmas. They are teenagers now and have started to embrace the holiday as something more than gifting. I am looking forward to being around them and hearing the way they see the world.
What’s one of your favorite family Christmas traditions, and why?
Jennifer: I always love that we take time to come together. Now that we all have our own families and children, it has become harder to make time to get together. Christmas is a time we can look forward to reconnecting.
Kristian: Pajamas! My mom used to buy us all matching pajamas when we were kids. She passed away when I was 30, and her friends used to continue the tradition after she passed and sent pajamas on Christmas Eve.
How do you show God’s love to others, especially at Christmastime?
Kristian: Christmastime is a great deal of stress for many people, and a well-timed smile or a kind word can go a long way.
Jennifer: I believe the best gifts we can give each other are our time and open hearts to listen. Those are the most significant gifts we can give our loved ones but also those around us within our broader communities — especially people who may believe, worship, love, and live differently than we do. I believe that this is what God wants for us: to help each other. Listening to each other and learning about each other is the fastest way to compassion. I hope we all do more of that — during the holidays and beyond.
How would you encourage readers to love others this Christmas season?
Jennifer: The world can seem dark. Anytime that we can remind ourselves to shine brighter for each other, we should. Let’s try and bring some light to people this season.
Kristian: Shine brightly this season by helping someone you don’t know.
Giving Tuesday is one way to help people we don’t know. Why is Giving Tuesday important to you?
Jennifer: I think Giving Tuesday is actually what the holiday spirit is about. We often buy gifts for each other that don’t have much meaning and gifts that the other party may not even want. Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to honor your loved ones with a gift that has meaning and changes lives at the same time.
Kristian: Giving Tuesday makes sense to me in a season where we make consumerism so easy — that there can be an equal ease to charity and charitable giving.
What are your favorite gifts in the World Vision Gift Catalog?
Jennifer: I always love the animals! It’s a great opportunity to get my own child engaged in meaningful giving. Most kids love animals, so they grab their attention and invite a wonderful way to teach about giving back and the world.
Why is it important to you to partner with World Vision?
Kristian: Our fans are a community of people that enjoy music that has a deeper meaning, and World Vision is a perfect partnership because the organization is driven by a deeper meaning.
Jennifer: I believe music is powerful and connects directly to the heart. I want our music and my art to connect with messages of love and compassion and inclusion. I hope people will listen and have their hearts opened by those messages.
What aspects of World Vision’s work are you most passionate about?
Jennifer: I love empowering women. By empowering women, we elevate whole families and communities. I love that World Vision gives people the opportunity to gift sustainable, economic empowerment to women around the world, especially during the holiday season.
Kristian: I love the connection between the sponsor and the sponsored child. The ability to directly effect change in another person’s life is precious, and World Vision’s ability to facilitate that is amazing.