What is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday following Thanksgiving to center our focus on giving back.
The context of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is increasingly being commercialized as a time to buy things rather than a time to reflect on the gifts we already have and to express our gratitude. Let’s stop and think about just how counterintuitive we’ve made Thanksgiving. First off, the holiday is founded on a more complex story about the Wampanoag people and the Pilgrims than the history classes may have taught us. The disregard for the indigenous people who cultivate this land is the underlying theme behind the whitewashed history of this celebration. Secondly, following a day of thankfulness we have days dedicated to shopping for ourselves, thereby fueling capitalism, creating a large wealth gap in the United States and a reliance on underpaid labor to supply the goods we buy.
We can still acknowledge the inequities and value the day of Thanksgiving, by focusing back on the meaning behind the name of the celebration. Giving thanks is relatively easy because it works like an automated response. Similar to when someone holds the door open for you and you say, “Thank you.” It ends there and doesn’t go any deeper. Gratitude goes beyond giving mere thanks and convicts us to return the kindness that has been shown to us. While being thankful remains a feeling, gratitude overwhelms us with the desire to return the favor out of thankfulness.
Let that sink in. Thankfulness is a feeling and gratitude is an action.
Anyone can give thanks, but giving gratitude calls for action and not everyone is willing to take that extra step. Thanksgiving is a season of gathering with loved ones (albeit virtually this year) and a time for giving thanks, but with our present-day values of consumerism and a focus on ourselves, that thoughtful message is too often lost.
The history of Giving Tuesday
To tackle this modern-day imbalance, 92 Street Y, a nonprofit cultural and community center in New York, started the #GivingTuesday campaign in 2012. Giving Tuesday utilizes the fast pace of social media to bring different people together to collaborate and create change in our communities. Each year Giving Tuesday falls on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving and is a day to encourage and celebrate generosity. There is nothing wrong with celebrating and enjoying the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so embrace the trend and join us for a day dedicated to giving back as well!
Consider giving on Giving Tuesday and help us work towards one day where no one lives in extreme global poverty.
Transform your thanks into a heart of gratitude on Thanksgiving and this Giving Tuesday. Join us as we make a lasting impact together.
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