It’s kind of ironic that the biggest shopping days of the year fall right around Thanksgiving. At a time when we should be concentrating on being thankful for our blessings and privileges, we are bombarded with sales messages thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Lost in all of the buying frenzy is Giving Tuesday. This Giving Tuesday post is sponsored by our partner, T-Mobile.
Listen, I get it – I really do. Thanksgiving signifies the official beginning of the holiday season and people are starting to panic about how few shopping days are left – especially this year when Thanksgiving fell later than other years. If you are looking for ways to help reinforce the giving part of the holidays and help your family to recognize things they can be thankful for, Giving Tuesday is a great time to bring it all back to what the season should really be about – giving to others.
My family has participated in a number of activities over the years that really helped to remind us what is important to us and how much we have to be grateful for. It has helped counteract all of the “gimme gimme” attitude that seeing constant ads and marketing can bring on. Here are some ideas of things you can do with your family to recenter and refocus.
Pick a Name Off a Giving Tree
If you are not familiar with the idea of a giving tree, it is usually a physical Christmas tree that is set up with paper “ornaments” hung on it. Those ornaments list a child or family and something they need for the holidays. Often they are filled with the names of children looking for basics like mittens, hats and scarves. Some will have listed a simple toy they are hoping for – a doll or play truck. You purchase the item, wrap it, and return it to the tree with the child or family’s name on it. Not sure where to find a giving tree? Many of our local churches have them in their vestibules. You could also call your local food pantry, the United Way, or Google “giving tree + your town” for a list of places looking for donations.
Participate in a Food Drive
Food pantries are ALWAYS in need of donations but especially around the holidays. For some families, they will not have a holiday dinner if it doesn’t come from their local food pantry. With all of the amazing food sales and coupons that pop up at the holidays, it’s really easy to just buy one extra of what you are buying for your own dinner and donate the extras to the food pantry. (Just do check ahead of time before donating any perishable foods. Some locations cannot accept those but many can make special arrangements if you let them know ahead of time that you will be donating frozen foods or meat.)
We have a local neighborhood that holds a luminary night and collects food donations from the families who drive through to look at the decorations and lights. Josh volunteers as a “helper elf” collecting donations and all proceeds go to our local food pantry.
Attend a Charity Event
A local business throws a fun holiday “party” complete with live reindeer, music and a bonfire and s’mores. They just ask that you bring an unwrapped, new present for a child. They collect toys at various locations ahead of the party and display them throughout their office building. It is truly breathtaking to see how many toys they collect and imagine how many kids will be receiving them that would have gone without otherwise. It’s has become a fun tradition for us and a great way to kick off the season.
There are plenty of ways to give back and celebrate Giving Tuesday without spending any money. If your budget is tight this year, consider giving the gift of your time. Many of the activities and charities mentioned above also need people to help coordinate, sort and deliver items. Think about volunteering as a family or as an individual.
Support Companies That Also Give Back
We know that you will be doing some shopping for yourself and your own family as well. When choosing where to shop, try to support companies that are giving back as part of their holiday promotions. T-Mobile is a great example of a company that is encouraging employees and customers to give back by setting the example and doing it themselves and partnering with Feeding America.
The campaign starts on Giving Tuesday (December 3) and offers two main ways for folks to get involved. T-Mobile customers can participate in Save a Deal, Give a Meal. When customers save any deal in the T-Mobile Tuesdays app on Giving Tuesday, T-Mobile will donate a much-needed meal to Feeding America.
The opportunity to give is not just limited to T-Mobile customers. Whenever anyone tweets using the #GivingOnUs hashtag, T-Mobile will donate 10 meals to Feeding America. Yes – TEN!! (You better believe I will be tweeting my heart out on Tuesday!) Between both initiatives, T-Mobile will donate up to 5 MILLION meals to Feeding America. Wow!
T-Mobile is also making it possible for their employees to participate in the joy of giving. Through the end of 2019 and into the New Year, T-Mobile is coordinating up to 100 employee volunteer events with local Feeding America-affiliated organizations across the country. The initiative gives T-Mobile employees a way to provide hands-on support to the organizations that are feeding families facing hunger, right in their own backyard.
But wait, there’s more! To help employees support the communities and organizations that they are most passionate about, the T-Mobile Foundation will deposit $25 into every employee’s Giving Account, which they can then donate to the charity of their choice this holiday season. With 52,000 #TeamMagenta members across the U.S., that adds up to a potential $1.3 million of charitable giving!
Do you have any giving traditions that you participate in as a family? I’d love to hear about them!!
This post is sponsored by T-Mobile.