Giving Tuesday is on the final day of Cyber Week craziness that reminds us to take a minute to stop shopping for ourselves and others and think about ways we can give to those in need. Giving Tuesday is a movement that creates opportunities to donate money or resources to organizations that need it most. The holidays make it so easy to spend money on ourselves and friends, but we should also take the time to see who else we can give to this holiday season. Usually, in my family, my parents supply the check to an organization and send money to a relative or family friend who has had a difficult year. After Hurricane Sandy, for a few years, my family gave friends and family money to put towards rebuilding their homes. I think we spend too much time only thinking about big-name charities and don’t realize how easy it is to give back to people that are close to us. If you are like me and money is tight, there are other ways you can give back.
Volunteer Your Time
It doesn’t matter if you have an hour or a full day, there are plenty of places you can volunteer at in December. A lot of senior living places and preschools in low- income areas have a list of suggested donations. If you cannot give as much as you would like to, you could spread the word with your family and work to get more people involved.
Clean Up After Others
This requires zero dollars and very little effort but can leave a big impact. Some people are messy or oblivious, but it takes two seconds to pick up trash you see on your way to work or to put the shopping carts in the parking lot back. Try to leave the Earth better than it was when you woke up today.
I cannot imagine waking up on Christmas as a kid and not getting presents from Santa. There will be plenty of red bins for Toys for Totes in shopping centers during the holiday season.
Use it as an excuse to clean out your closet and donate gently used clothes to Goodwill or a charity. While you are at it, stock up on packs of socks and underwear to donate to homeless shelters in your area. It is something that is always needed!
Pay It Forward
Pay for the Starbucks for the person behind you or for someone’s lunch order. This time of year, for a lot of families money is tight. I remember one time I was standing in line checking out at a food store and could see a mom doing the math and putting back snacks so they could get the essentials. I quickly added the snacks to my pile so I could pay for them instead. The kids were overjoyed and the mom was very grateful. Look around and do what you can for those around you.