With Black Friday overshadowing Thanksgiving, it’s easy to get discouraged about the state of gratitude and generosity these days. Less than 12 hours after Americans gathered to break bread and take stock of the things that truly matter on Thanksgiving, came the Black Friday reports of shoppers beating each other up over towels at Walmart. Enter “Giving Tuesday.”
Last year, Giving Tuesday emerged as a new, unofficial holiday on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It aims to refocus the spirit of the season on selflessness and charity. Last year, more than 50 million people worldwide spread the word about the day. #GivingTuesday set a record number of trending tweets on Twitter. Americans donated over $10 million to over 2,500 charities. Now that’s what I call the spirit of the season.
Most people think of gratitude as a passive experience; you feel thankful when good things happen to you. But David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University, has found that gratitude is contagious. When someone does you a favor, you become much more likely to do someone else a favor. You create a feedback loop of cooperation and positivity.
I want to live in a world of cooperative, positive people—and I hope you do, too. Browse the list of the 213 participating Giving Tuesday charities in North Carolina, or revisit an old family favorite. (In my house, that’s Heifer International—we donated pigs to less fortunate families all over the world. I always wanted a pet pig as a kid, but our .25 acres didn’t allow it.) Before you brush off Giving Tuesday as costing you too much time or money—don’t. Take fifteen minutes. Donate some canned corn, a Dr. Seuss book, or a pair of old shoes. This Giving Tuesday, tomorrow, feel grateful by giving someone else a reason to feel grateful.
How will you celebrate #GivingTuesday? Check out some ideas below.
- For the book worm: http://www.bookharvestnc.org/how_to_help/donate_books
- For the movie buff: http://give.indyweek.com/Nonprofits/Arts-and-Culture/Southern-Documentary-Fund
- For the master chef: http://www.sowmuchgood.org/ways-to-help-2/
- For the artist: http://openheartsartcenter.org/