Yesterday I was researching stories, looking for a new spin to put on Thanksgiving Day and coming up empty. I can make a list of creative ways to celebrate the day or things I’m grateful for, but it feels lackluster, maybe even trite. The problem is that Thanksgiving is overshadowed by consumer madness, which impinges on the day and dilutes its focus. Now there’s new light on the weekend with the creation of #GivingTuesday.
Don’t get me wrong. Even though gratitude is something to practice every day, I love the idea of a day dedicated to collectively showing gratitude for the abundance we enjoy. And it’s certainly wonderful that many families choose this as the one time of year that they come together in celebration and appreciation.
There’s some debate over the origin of the term Black Friday, but what’s not in question is that it’s marked the official kickoff to Christmas shopping since the mid 1920’s. With Canadian retailers struggling to compete, it’s caught on north of the border as well. Not to miss the burgeoning of online shopping, Cyber Monday came along in 2005 after a survey showed just how popular it was.
With all that money going out for gifts, charities were suffering at a time of year when many people are most in need. Two years ago, #GivingTuesday was created by the UN Foundation and the 92nd Street Y, designating the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a day dedicated to social giving and volunteerism.
The movement is already global and there’s no shortage of ideas on how to participate. A quick twitter search on #givingtuesday shows the momentum which has already built, both from those wishing to give, and those receiving. Businesses and philanthropic organizations are matching donations or giving back in multiples.
- On #GivingTuesday, post an unselfie of yourself making a difference.
- Express gratitude to your friends on your favorite social network.
- Contribute to a local charity.
- Volunteer for a local charity.
- Get involved with a community organization.
- Make a donation on behalf of someone instead of purchasing a gift.
- Make a family project out of going through your home, collecting up what is not being used (that’s clean and in good shape), and donate it to a charity that sets up homes for families in need.
- Don’t drive for a day. Or better yet, find a way to reduce your consumption of fossil fuels. You’re giving back to the earth, and future generations.
- Challenge colleagues to come up with a way to mark the day, and then celebrate your successes together.
- Publish a story in your company’s newsletter or blog about how their community investment has made a difference.
Tomorrow is a day for giving thanks, followed by two days for getting deals, and now a day to give back. How will you make a difference on #GivingTuesday?
Still stuck for an idea? Check out these sites and get inspired.