I've spent enough time in retail to know that Black Friday is a necessary evil, but it's one which seems to become more and more evil as time goes on. Now we have retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving, interrupting precious family time. We hear stories about employees and customers alike being trampled and injured by people who are inexplicably desperate to get into the stores. It's insane.
Last year, someone came up with a neat idea for an alternate holiday. After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we now have #GivingTuesday. (Yes, the hashtag is part of the name.)
#GivingTuesday takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. It's not about shopping, it's about - wait for it - giving. The idea is to create a national day on which people purposefully direct their energies toward supporting non-profit organizations and helping those in need.
There's all sorts of ways you can be involved, from running a food drive to running a bake sale. They offer ideas for families, for students, for non-profits themselves, and lots more. You can also get involved by being a social media ambassador; for example, you create a profile and then attach it to your existing Twitter account, and #GivingTuesday will occasionally post tweets on your account to tell your followers about the program.
(In case you're curious, I found out about this because my lovely place of employment, Ten Thousand Villages at the Lehigh Valley Mall, is going to be participating. On #GivingTuesday, December 3rd, we'll be donating 15% of all sales to our local chapter of Toys for Tots. We'll also be accepting toy donations throughout the day.)
This is a great way to kick off what's known as the season of giving, so check out the website and see how you can make #GivingTuesday part of your annual celebrations.