With the National Movement of Giving Tuesday being created I now know for sure that I am not the only out there who feels like the commercialism and excess of the holiday season in this country has gotten a bit out of hand. It is not even Thanksgiving and I am hearing Christmas music playing throughout the mall. We seem to have lost a bit of the message in the madness of “the giving season”. Everyone is just so busy trying to keep up with the expectations that we have created, and I’ll admit that I am as guilty as the rest. We want to stir up excitement and memories for our family, sometimes giving extravagantly to show how much we love each other. I fall into the same commercial frenzy despite the pit in my stomach telling me we don’t need more. There are many people out there who do need more, and this year I feel hopeful, because there are some new tools in place to help us turn things around, and head in the right direction. The inaugural Giving Tuesday is a great place to start.
“On Tuesday, November 27, 2012, the collective power of charities, families, businesses and individuals will transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. #GivingTuesday will create a national movement around the holidays dedicated to giving, similar to how Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become days that are, today, synonymous with holiday shopping.”-www.givingtuesday.org
Giving Tuesday provides a way to harness all of the grateful energy amassed over Thanksgiving and transform it directly into the spirit of helping others. Having lost both of my own parents before having my own children I know that nothing in life matters as much as your loved ones, and sitting around our Thanksgiving table I am always struck with deep gratitude for my family, our health, our safety and comfortable life. These are not things that I take for granted. Extensive travel through developing nations gave me an acute awareness of our good fortune to live in a place where food security, education and housing are the norm. There are still those even in this country to whom those basic needs do not come easily, and I feel that it is our basic human responsibility to extend a hand if we can. There are so many positive ways to give to either family members or strangers in need, and this year, as always I will try to teach my kids the true meaning of “The Giving Season”. I know I will still happily take part in picking out gifts for each of my family members, because there is true joy in finding something great to give someone you know they will love. I will also try to be somewhat practical in my gift giving, and on Giving Tuesday make sure my family marks the day by giving back to others in need. Here are a few ideas:
There are still many on the East Coast who need supplies due to the storm, and we donated coats and canned goods to help fill three school buses that brought supplies from our town to the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Our local food bank has many collections this time of year and I make sure each of my four kids brings in contributions to donate to the Girl Scouts Food Drive or Student Council, or whichever one of their activities is collecting.
We have adopted a family in past years where we get a list of family members to purchase gifts for so they have something to give their children and receive for the holidays. I have my kids think about and pick out the gifts for kids closest to their ages.
This year I feel like there are so many gift-giving options that are gifts that give back. Tom’s shoes for example, where for each pair of shoes you buy one pair is donated to a child who needs them. I am going to try to give as many of those types of gifts possible to family and friends. Other companies that offer some great gifts that give back options are UNICEF, FashionABLE, FEED, Alex & Ani Charity by Design bracelets.
What are some other ways that you can think of to help celebrate Giving Tuesday?
I wrote this post as part of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health.
Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.