It’s an antidote to Christmas consumerism.
At least that’s the hope for Giving Tuesday, a bookend to the shopping chaos of Black Friday and Cyber Monday that focuses instead on giving back.
“It’s about making Oxford a better place for everyone. Giving Tuesday really connects people to the part that they can play in that – they have a power,” said United Way Oxford executive director Kelly Gilson.
“There are so many ways that people can give back to create a healthier community.”
With December just around the corner and the holiday season in full swing, Christmas shopping is a hot topic.
But it’s also a time for many to think about giving back.
“Black Friday…and Cyber Monday are all about the commercialism of the season. Giving Tuesday is about the unselfish behaviour,” Gilson said.
And giving doesn’t have to mean money.
“There are millions of ways to get involved. We’re heard of people giving blood. Last year there was a big campaign for (registering) organ donors,” said Lys Hugessen, a Giving Tuesday organizer with the Giv3 Foundation.
Since Giving Tuesday started in 2013 – Giv3 and a group of partners decided to get on board with the day after seeing it in the U.S. the year previously – donors across the country have given food, clothing, monetary gifts, even hugs.
“We saw a campaign called Giving Shoesday last year,” Hugessen said. “Everybody has something to give. It doesn’t have to be a chore. It doesn’t have to be about money. It can be exciting and fulfilling and heartwarming.”
The United Way Oxford has seen some growth in donations on Giving Tuesday over the past few years as the concept gains popularity, Gilson said. The real magic is in the national numbers, which show a massive spike in donations.
“I think it really catches people imaginations and inspires them in a very positive way,” Hugessen said.
Local residents can join in by sharing their pictures and updates on social media using hashtags like #GivingTuesdayCA or #unselfie. The United Way is running a contest for anyone that tweets about their cause using #WhyIGive and tagging the agency.
For Gilson and the United Way, it’s not about the financial contributions that might come in tomorrow, though donations are always appreciated.
“It’s more than just that,” she said.
It’s about creating a stronger Oxford.
Gilson encourages everyone to find a way to give back, whether that’s a donation to charity, a few hours spent helping a neighbour, or buying an extra coffee to pass out.
“Every single person can do something to participate in Giving Tuesday,” she said.
“Their generosity and giving can actually change lives.”