This past Friday marked another year of the infamous Black Friday shopping bonanza. Getting up in the middle of the night to get the best deals on the hottest items has become a tradition in itself for many in our country. Whether it be to fill our closets or check items off our holiday shopping lists, our reasons are endless.
But in this age of excess, this continual celebration of consumerism, I believe our society has lost its way. We are less human, more consumer. Less steward, more hoarder. Giving Tuesday is the perfect answer to the season’s materialism onslaught.
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy getting a good deal and I too get distracted by the Christmas hustle. But for my family, the main focus of Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus with our friends and family. It’s an opportunity to fight against the status quo of the season; making it only about presents, parties and packed schedules of rushing from place to place. Making our lists and checking them twice. Part of this fight against the mainstream is choosing to put an emphasis on looking beyond ourselves. A chance to take stock of all we’ve been given and in turn bless others with it. For my family, Giving Tuesday sets the tone for the rest of the holiday season.
This year marks Giving Tuesday’s sixth official year as a global day that encourages benevolent giving on both the local and international level. Coming on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, two of the biggest days of spending in our country, Giving Tuesday is a chance to give back to non-profit organizations that benefit greatly from our financial gifts.
As a mom, I spend so much time thinking about what I should be doing to build my daughter’s character and instill a sense of servanthood and charity in her. So instead of stocking up on gifts this time of year, we invest in something that won’t be forgotten or broken by Valentine’s Day.
Though we as parents are the keeper of the check books, our children can get involved in Giving Tuesday, too. Start with letting them help choose which organization to give to. And if they receive an allowance or earn income in some way, they have the opportunity to give some of their own money towards it. This process opens the door for time as a family to explore what great organizations are at work in our city and around the world; an impactful learning experience for both parents and kids alike. Your involvement doesn’t have to stop on Giving Tuesday. Whatever organization you give to, you can follow their social media or Web site to share updates with your kids of what your stewardship has done for someone else. Following up makes your giving come alive and feel tangible.
Local options for Giving Tuesday range from animal shelters to Children’s Hospital to ministries like City Gospel Mission. Whatever direction you and your family feel called, you will surely find an organization that will be blessed by your financial support.
Imagine the effect this will have on your kids, the new perspective they will gain as they head into the holiday season that is often associated predominantly with the gifts they’re about to receive. There is something incredibly powerful that happens when a child, or adult, is given the chance to be pushed outside the auto-pilot of self absorption. And this Giving Tuesday is an open door to experience just that. To prepare our hearts for a season of giving, not receiving.
What are some of the ways you and your family give back during the holidays?