After the whirlwind shopping weekend featuring big crowds and record-breaking sales, it’s easy to confuse the “season of giving” with the “season of getting.” From brawling shoppers to cranky credit card holders, the days following America’s national holiday for gratitude seem out of place.
Happily, Giving Tuesday offers a well-timed reset and helps shift the focus from getting to giving. The holiday season is what you make it, after all, and you can bring back the emphasis on gratitude by incorporating one or more of the following ideas into your holiday tradition.
Donate toys. Every child should get the opportunity to open a gift on Christmas morning, and it’s likely your kids have more toys than they know what to do with. Get your children involved in the season of giving by asking them to select gently-used toys to give to peers in need. You can also visit local businesses participating in the Toys for Tots program and have your kids help you select items on local families’ wish lists.
Walk or run for charity. Staying healthy during the holiday season can be a challenge, but it’s not one you have to suffer alone. Community 5Ks are prevalent this time of year as a popular means to raise awareness for a cause or donate much-needed funds to local organizations. Find your community’s running club for upcoming events or visit your town’s Facebook page or events section in the newspaper. Community 5Ks are almost always events the whole family can do together while benefiting a good cause.
Add a few more items to your food basket. As you shop for ingredients for holiday meals, add a few extra items to your basket to donate to the food bank. Some stores may have a donation bin where you can easily drop items on the way to your car, while Sprouts Farmers Markets sells Grab ‘n Give bags for the local Food Bank. Keep your ears open for other opportunities to donate food, as local restaurants and breweries may offer specials and discounts in exchange for non-perishable food donations.
Get a shot. Here’s a unique way to give back: through Nov. 28, Walgreens will help give two vaccines to kids in need when you get your flu shot. The campaign “Get a Shot, Give a Shot” is a collaboration between Walgreens and the United Nations Foundation and has helped give life-saving vaccinations to over 20 million children in developing countries.
Volunteer. The most precious thing you can offer is not a thing at all - it’s your time. Consider who in your community could benefit most from your time, whether it’s seniors at a nursing home or groups that coordinate meals for the homeless. For customized volunteer opportunities near you, consult VolunteerMatch.org.
Buy gifts that give back. When you’re shopping for people who have everything, it can be challenging to provide something that’s both unique and thoughtful. When you buy a gift that helps give back, however, you’re achieving just that! Stores like TOMS Shoes provide a means for giving back year-round with their One for One program. Wakened Apparel is a small business in California that offers unique apparel, accessories and home good items that benefit a handful of causes ranging from elephant conservation to supporting victims of the Northern California wildfires. And with so many shoppers flocking to Amazon, it makes sense to shop through their Amazon Smile portal so a charity of your choice benefits from the transaction.