Giving a Little More this Holiday Season

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The holiday season is a time of giving. The generosity on display during the holiday season may not have an official start date, but the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving Day may be the unofficial beginning of the giving season.

The first Tuesday following American Thanksgiving has been referred to as “Giving Tuesday” since 2012. The event was started by the 92nd Street Y in New York City, the United Nations Foundation and the technology website Mashable as a response to the commercialization of the holiday season and the rampant consumerism that seems to start as soon as the last bite of turkey is digested. Today, Giving Tuesday harnesses the generosity of millions of people around the world and helps millions of dollars to find its way into the coffers of organizations that need it most. Giving Tuesday inspires people to volunteer or give back to causes that are near and dear to their hearts.

Thanks to technology, giving has the capacity to go viral and inspire others to engage in their own charitable efforts. Since its inception, Giving Tuesday has evolved. The event now underscores how communities can harness the power of people working together to elicit great change.

Even though Giving Tuesday may be the catalyst for charitable efforts, it doesn’t need to end there. People are urged to be generous all year long, including throughout the holiday season. Here are some seasonally specific ways to give back a little more.

Pay it forward by treating someone behind you in the checkout line to coffee, fast food, a candy bar, or whatever else suits you at the time. Perhaps he or she will do the same and keep the generosity going.

Keep extra dollars in your pocket and be generous to charities seeking donations outside of stores. A cup of coffee or hot chocolate goes a long way toward warming up the people manning the collection pots as well.

Adopt a family who is less fortunate and purchase some gifts on their wish list. Many community centers and churches have contacts for needy families who could use some support this season.

Giving can be the focus of the holiday season, and in ways that are meaningful to the people on the receiving end of the generosity.