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Can GivingTuesday Elevate Humanity?

The holiday season is all too often overtaken by the messages and tradition of consumerism. But what if we could break away from this consumptive habit and get back to what is meaningful? Could we use this as an opportunity to do important work? Could we focus our attention on elevating humanity rather than just buying more stuff?

As the holiday seasons approach and our minds shift into gift-giving mode, it is easy to become hyper-aware of all the sales being offered on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. After all, great deals can be tough to ignore! Despite the fact that Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other deals are advertised throughout the holidays, it is important to remember that this time of year isn’t about physical items. Instead, it is a time of giving, volunteering, and spreading kindness to others! In order to encourage people to do good and be generous, GivingTuesday was created!

What is GivingTuesday?

GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement that occurs every year on the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. GivingTuesday is meant to unofficially “open the giving season” by encouraging people to be generous and kind. This day was chosen intentionally in order to remind people that the holiday season, although often associated with swiping your credit card, should be about spreading cheer, and doing good for others.

GivingTuesday began in 2012 when two organizations, the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation came together in order to set aside a day that celebrated the generosity of giving. This movement quickly gained a following, as many grassroots organizations, social media platforms, and philanthropists joined in. Founding partners included Google, UNICEF, Mashable, and Skype.

Since its beginning, GivingTuesday has been organized and celebrated by a wide variety of organizations, businesses, schools, and individuals in order to make a difference in the lives of others.

How to celebrate GivingTuesday

1. One way that individuals, businesses, and organizations choose to celebrate GivingTuesday is by getting involved with charities. One method of supporting a charity is by making a donation! This may be in the form of donating money, donating blood, or donating items such as needed clothing (winter jackets, socks, etc.) or personal care items that will go to people in need.

2. Volunteering is another great way to spread kindness this holiday season! Soup kitchens, charity fundraisers, food banks, and pet shelters are just some of the places that could use a helping hand!

3. If you are part of an organization, business, nonprofit, school, or corporation, organizing your own GivingTuesday activities is a great way to give back! Make use of these great resources, tools, and ideas on GivingTuesday’s webpage in order to plan your Giving Tuesday.

4. Don’t forget that small individual acts can also make a big difference! Doing something kind for another person, whether it is someone you know or a stranger, is a great way to increase your happiness as well as the happiness of the recipient. Some ideas include:

  • Lending a helping hand to someone in need.
  • Paying for the order of the person behind you in the drive through.
  • Making someone smile.
  • Expressing your gratitude.
  • Taking time out of your day to make someone feel special.

5. Use your voice in order to make a difference! Making meaningful change within your community requires people to speak up about issues and voice their concerns. Try raising awareness about an issue you are passionate about. This can be done in person, by writing a letter, spreading positive action on social media, or simply talking to friends and family.

This holiday season, plan to make the most of it for yourself and for others. Holidays are about much more than deals and bargains, they are about values. Giving Tuesday is a great way to remind ourselves and those who might be buying gifts for us that it is really about the good we do in the world, not about the stuff we accumulate. Enjoy giving. Give gifts that make a difference by doing good for people, animals or the planet. There are plenty of great options to support good work. And if you still need to give a gift there are plenty of ways to make it green!

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