The second annual Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday) is almost here and in my opinion it just might be one of the most important days of the holiday season. Declared a “national day of giving,” it is one day that embodies so much of what “the most wonderful time of the year” is all about. It’s our chance to remind the world that the true spirit of giving is ever present. The kind of giving that trickles beyond our families and friends and into the community. The kind of giving that says you matter, whether I have a personal relationship with you or not doesn’t determine your worth.
“Many of us stay up all night wrapping gifts year after year. We give out of obligation or from the kindness of our hearts and most often we give to those who we are close to or interact with on a regular basis. But there is a world out there that extends beyond our close circle of family and friends, and the world is in need. The world is filled with people who are depending on the kindness of others, people who may have never met them; people who are not a part of their circle. People like you and me.”
Those are words I wrote back last year over at The Conscious Perspective. Giving Tuesday is something I believe in and I’m grateful to my friend Heidi for opening my eyes to such an important day.
For those of you who haven’t had time to prepare for Giving Tuesday don’t fret! There is still time to decide how you want to make a difference. And while Giving Tuesday is an excellent start the spirit of Giving Tuesday extends beyond December 3rd.
If you need a little inspiration here are 5 ways to celebrate Giving Tuesday as a couple:
5 Ways to Celebrate Giving Tuesday as a Couple 1 of 7
Giving Tuesday is almost here! Consider teaming up with your spouse to make a difference! Need some ideas? Here are 5 to consider.
Visit a Senior Center 2 of 7
One of my favorite memories was going with my friend and our daughters to a home for seniors. We took flowers, gave out hugs and handshakes and listened to their words. It was a small gesture that made a huge impact. Some of them shared stories about their own families. Some of them also shared that no one ever came to see them. Somehow they were forgotten. This is your chance to remind them that they aren't. (Some food for thought: In this case whether you bring something tangible to give or not isn't all that important. Know that the greatest gift you are giving is the gift of time.)
Write Thank You letters 3 of 7
For Giving Tuesday last year my daughter and I wrote thank you letters to her school and decided to deliver them with a special treat. Who says that giving thanks has to end with your last plate of Thanksgiving leftovers? Consider sitting down with your partner and writing a thank you letter to someone you may not have thought to thank before. People like the crossing guard who helps your children get across the street safely or the waitress who also greets you with a smile. Take a moment to give the gift of written gratitude. (Some food for thought: Not everyone is big on writing or typing letters. That's ok! Pick up the phone or pay someone a visit and give a verbal thank you instead. As the saying goes, "It's the thought that counts!")
(Image made using picmonkey)
Donate nonperishables 4 of 7
Go grocery shopping together and pick up a few items to donate at your local food pantry. Last year it was shocking to learn that there was a shortage of turkeys for Thanksgiving. But it was beautiful to see so many of us step up to the call for action. Do your part to ensure that no one has to go to bed hungry. (Some food for thought: If you would rather donate something else consider donating new gently used clothing, toiletries or household items. Call your local shelter or food pantry to find out what items they are in need of.)
Lend a hand 5 of 7
You may not be able to devote an entire day to helping but even an hour or two can make a lasting impression. Help your child's teacher in the classroom, deliver a Christmas tree to a family who otherwise would go without one. See someone in your neighborhood struggling to put up their Christmas lights? Help! See a toddler having a meltdown while his parent tries to unload groceries? Don't judge, smile and offer to help. Go to a food pantry and help them get organized as they prepare for the upcoming holidays. Visit an animal shelter and offer your services. Remind our furry friends that they matter too. There are so many ways to lend an helping hand. (Some food for thought: Know that your actions might catch some people off guard. It isn't that they aren't grateful. Sadly lending a helping hand doesn't seem to come as natural these days. Even so, it is important to "be the change." And small acts of kindness can make a big difference!)
Forgo date night and give a monetary donation 6 of 7
Don't underestimate the power of a monetary donation. There are countless causes that you could offer your support to. What are you and your spouse passionate about? If you are short on cash consider forgoing date night and using the money to give back instead. Sure dinner and a movie is fun but so is helping ensure children are vaccinated, babies have the essentials they need, and families have food to put on their table. You can still spend quality time with your spouse by having a date night in and researching an organization (or several!) you would like to support. (Some food for thought: Sometimes we think we have to give a ton of money to make a huge impact. But we don't. According to No Kid Hungry, a $20 monthly donation can "help connect a hungry child with 200 meals." If you can help prevent just one person or one family from going to bed hungry because you were willing to forgo your outing that's a big deal. "Small things with great love," right?)
How will you celebrate Giving Tuesday? 7 of 7
Now that you've got some ideas it is time to think about how you and your loved one(s) will celebrate this December 3rd! You can follow along via social media using the hashtag #GivingTuesday. And, if you have some additional ideas on ways to get involved please share them in the comments! (Photo Source: #GivingTuesday website)
For those of you who are parents involving your little ones is a great idea (no need to have them miss out on all the fun!). However if you aren’t able to, you can still engage in a family conversation about why you celebrate #GivingTuesday. Oftentimes children learn by what they see so here’s a great opportunity to show your children that while getting is nice, giving is where the real joy lies.
You can learn more about Giving Tuesday on their website.
Photo Source: Personal photos unless otherwise noted