*finishes baking all of the squash*
*pulls out all of the gingerbread cookies*
Now that Thanksgiving has passed, I’ve got the hot cocoa, holiday jewelry, and Christmas music in full swing at Joyful Headquarters. I am scheming what to make for baked goods, where decorations will go, what planning my 25 Days of Christmas movie schedule will be. (Have I mentioned I love nearly every holiday? Cause I do. Very much. Like it was my purpose in life to do – celebrate.) That said, it is not only The Santa Clause and “Jingle Bells” that have my heart fluttering around Christmas time. The spirit of giving is my favorite part of the holiday season. In a world where we are too often wrapped up in witnessing atrocities and greed, this season is a breath of rejuvenation for weary hearts.
This is one of the reasons I love #Giving Tuesday.
Rather than participate in Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the past several years I have been participating in #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday takes place every November on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. It is a globally recognized day to celebrate paying it forward by giving back to local, national, or global organizations and charities that help make the world a better place. While giving is a year-round event in our household, a little bit at a time, I still enjoy the collaborative nature of a special day dedicated to one of my favorite activities – giving back! I’m a firm believer that if you want to cultivate joy and gratitude, one of the best ways to do it is to get outside of yourself and help others. Doing good is an instant shot of happiness!
This year, I encourage you to join me in giving back on this #GivingTuesday in whatever capacity you can.
#GivingTuesday has a search engine that allows you to find local events, charities, or organizations that you can donate time or money to in the spirit of the day. If you are unsure of an organization in your area, this could be a great resource. Also, ask around! Facebook and friends can be a wonderful resource to find out about charities and organizations in your area that you never knew existed. (When it doubt, there is always the Almighty Google, too.) Whenever you can, go local!
I also adore Charity Navigator , which allows you to browse charities based on categories of interest or plug in a charity of interest and view independent evaluations and ratings regarding the financial transparency and accountability of these organizations. If you are unsure about an organization to donate to, they are a great resource!
Here are some Things to Consider regarding choosing a #GivingTuesday event, organization, or charity:
What are you passionate about? If you’re passionate about clean water, children’s literacy, veteran’s, the homeless – whatever it is – there are different charities for each.
What can you give? Time, money, non-monetary donations! Give whatever you can give.
One of my favorite local ways to give is non-monetary donations. My family and I collect items for the local food pantry or animal shelter when we find them on sale and donate a bag or two to them all throughout the year; this is a great way to give back on #GivingTuesday, too! If you’re able to knit or crochet, local homeless shelters or organizations that welcome military men and woman home from tours abroad often have a need for donations of hats, gloves, scarves, and/or socks.
I’ve also donated monetarily the past few years to various organizations. Even a $5-10 donation can make a difference!
If you can give of your time, do it! That is the most impactful way to get an instant shot of happiness. Volunteering at your local food pantry, shelter, habitat for humanity, animal shelter, or other charities and organizations gets you out in the community, witnessing and feeling first-hand the difference that you are making! Be warned, though, giving back and volunteering are addictive in the best of ways. That little shot of happiness that comes with doing good will have you craving for more. You do it once and you’ll want to do it more!
Think outside the box! Don’t get cornered into one way of giving back…Giving back can come in many forms. Have fun with it!
In the spirit of #GivingTuesday, here are (just a few of) the organizations that I adore and am passionate about that you might be as well:
- Knitted Knockers
- The Book Truck
- To Write Love on Her Arms
- Coats for Kids and Operation Warm
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Hope for Warriors
- Homes for Our Troops
- Pencils for Kids
- Puppies Behind Bars
- Reach Out and Read
- Days for Girls
- Great Ormand Street Hospital
- Literacy for Incarcerated Teens
- Wounded Warrior Project
- Save the Children
- Direct Relief
- The Trevor Project
- St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
- Human Rights Campaign Foundation
- The Harry Potter Alliance
- We Need Diverse Books
- True Colors Fund
- My local food pantry
- My local homeless shelter(s)
- My local animal welfare society
- My local domestic violence support shelters and organizations
- My local library (not a “charity” but definitely makes the world a better place!)
Let me know what you did for #GivingTuesday!
Keep doing good, every day of the year.
Be the light. The world needs more light.