The days that follow Thanksgiving are all about spending money. Black Friday has its doorbusting deals that entices the thrifty holiday shoppers out to battle crazy lines and consumer mayhem. Small Business Saturday (which is put together by American Express) brings out the locavores that want to spend money locally. Cyber Monday is for the internet-savvy shoppers that want to spend money, but in their pajamas. Giving Tuesday attempts to take the spending momentum of these days and use it promote charity and goodwill. It goes back to the day that starts all the madness: Thanksgiving. A day where we take to time to be grateful for what we have and give thanks. Giving Tuesday continues that idea. Not only should we reflect on what we have, but also take notice of others that are without and give back. You don’t have to be a wealthy philanthropist to participate. You don’t even have to spend money to give. You can give your time, you can donate used items, or you can spread the word about the day dedicated to giving. I’m no Rockefeller, but I gave what I could last year. My son and I spent the whole day giving. We got a wishing star from the local bank and bought a toy train for a little boy. We donated a never used toy that we had a duplicate of to Toys for Tots at our fire station. We donated some gently worn coats to the Coats for Kids coat drive put on by the local dry cleaners. We brought canned goods from our own pantry to the donation barrels at the grocery store. We put some money in the Salvation Army bell ringer’s bucket. It got us into the Christmas spirit, at least what the Christmas spirit is intended to be. We had so much fun with it and it made us feel so good, that we continued it for the rest of the season. Hopefully that’s the trend that Giving Tuesday will spark; that it will give the giving bug to those who partake in this charitable day. It also gave me a chance to teach my son the importance of giving. It’s hard in this day and age for kids to stop focusing on what they will be getting for Christmas. Going on a giving adventure and getting them involved is a great way to turn that focus to something positive.
I’ve been looking forward to this year’s Giving Tuesday ever since our giving spree last year. Finally one of these post-Thanksgiving ‘holidays’ I can get behind. I’m overwhelmed by the opportunities to give. Everywhere you look there’s a worthy cause or charity. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Clean out your closets and your pantry and make way for the new stuff that Santa brings. Donate the items to places in need.
Make a homeless care kit for your car; a blanket, non-perishable snacks, socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, and a gift card to an affordable restaurant or grocery store. Hand it out to a less fortunate soul that’s out on the streets.
Make a donation to a charity that is close to your heart or sign up for a fun run that supports a cause that you believe in.
Use your talents. Sing carols at the local senior center. Teach kids how to draw or read them a story at your community center or library.
Cross gifts off your list that give back like Tom’s shoes, FEED scarves, or Out Of Print tees.
Donate a holiday meal or a CSA farm box to a family that could use a real feast this season.
No matter what you end up doing, don’t forget to spread the word. Tag your great giving feats in social media and make this movement viral. Let’s put the ‘giving’ back in Thanksgiving.
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