Mixed Feelings On #GivingTuesday

I'm sort of ramble a bit here, so... forgive me. Or judge me. Whatever. Giving.

We remember that other people have needs when we see horrific scenes from a disaster. Or when we see video of the less fortunate in other parts of the world. We are especially reminded about giving during the holidays. Maybe not while we're standing in line for toys that our kids just HAVE to have. But I know what it's like to want to give your kids that toy. As a single mom many moons ago, my little family (two little girls and me) received a brown paper bag filled with gifts for a weary mother to put under the tree that would have otherwise been empty.

A new World Vision Holiday Giving Survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, shows fewer Americans plan to give a charitable gift as a holiday present this year.  In 2011, about half of U.S. adults (51%) agreed that, as a result of the current economic climate, they’d be “more likely” to give a charitable gift as a holiday present. This year, that percentage dropped to 45 percent. Meantime the survey also indicates that overall holiday spending could be up this year.

That's the part I'm confused about. More people are out shopping, but giving less. My immediate knee-jerk reaction is that people are just being stingy. So maybe they do need this reminder, and so Giving Tuesday is a great vehicle in which to remind us all that there are people in need in our own backyard. But then, I don't know if those shoppers aren't just putting themselves into debt paying for those gifts that will be broken or forgotten by next Christmas, not thinking that what they have is enough...

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

And I'm not trying to by judgy, I promise. I guess I'm just concerned about the world my kids are growing up into. I'm raising them to be givers, but they're going to be surrounded by this BUY BUY BUY mentality all their lives. They may get caught up in it all, too. I have before. It's natural. But I was always volunteering or donating... trying to balance out my consumer footprint, I guess. Shopping is good for the economy, I know. And this isn't the first Christmas that I've ever complained about this. But I really feel like our society has crossed over to less giving and more GIMME!

For the last ten days, I've seen deals floating across friends' timelines. It hit a fever pitch yesterday and I just had to walk away. I'm not opposed to buying gifts for loved ones, and I think it's awesome that bloggers can earn a little money curating a great gift guide. I just abhor the commercialism that this season has come to represent. Pagans, Christians, Jews... we all have our traditions at this time of year. But Secular Shopism is taking over and this season now no longer seems to hold any deeper meaning. All faiths have built-in giving, but we have become such a gimme gimme group that we have to actually be reminded to GIVE at this time of year.

I guess that's why I'm having mixed feelings about Giving Tuesday. I'm glad we are turning our collective attention outward, but I'm sad that we are atrophying into an inward gazing position to begin with. Still... I'm not gonna get all Eeyore about this. I'm going to look for and share other giving opportunities throughout my social channels. God gave me this big mouth. I think He intended I use it for good.

I don't have a particular organization that I want to share with you in this post. No one that will give a dollar in exchange for a like. I don't have anything against the organizations that do, I just think that's too easy and giving should make you go out of your comfort zone. How about this? Adopt a single mom and her family this season. Then, go beyond this season and help her out with a ride when her car breaks down and she can't get to the job she can't afford to lose. Have her and her kids over for a meal that isn't on any particular holiday. Or have her over when she's alone when the ex has the kids on a holiday. It's that kind of giving that brings hope to people that really need it. People that need to see that humanity is still good and decent.

Who knows? Maybe she'll become semi-famous one day and can pay you back.

Or better yet... pay it forward.

Peace, Love, and Sugar

PS: I really hope you will read my Brown Bag Paper of Hope and find some inspiration to help a single mom out this year.