In the days leading up to last Friday, newspapers, the airwaves and store windows were filled with advertisements hyping the annual Black Friday retail sales.
The consumer-palooza that kicks off the annual Christmas shopping season has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year across North America, and has now spread to a number of European countries as well. Retailers offer big discounts on virtually any item you can think of, all in a bid to lure shoppers into their stores and separate them from their cash.
While it started as a one-day sale, Black Friday morphed first into a weekend of sales culminating with Black Friday’s internet cousin Cyber Monday—a day for those who would rather do their shopping from the cozy confines of in front of their computer screens—and has now become a whole week of sales for many retailers.
In a response to the crazy consumerism of the preceding four days, the Tuesday after Black Friday has been dubbed “Giving Tuesday,” a day to remember the oncoming Christmas season is supposed to be about giving, not getting, and to encourage the public to give, whether it be their time, their abilities, their talent, their dollars or their gifts.
As the Grinch discovered in the Dr. Seuss classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas: “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe, just maybe, Christmas means a little bit more.”
On Tuesday, outside Kelowna City Hall, Mayor Colin Basran was joined by a host of representatives from many organizations across the city that rely on volunteers, donations and community support to operate. Those organizations, in turn, support the community with a myriad of programs and services.
And that is what the “season of giving” is all about. Credit cards and cash may make cash registers ring, but the smiles an act of giving can produce on the faces of those who receive—and on the face of the giver—can really make the heart sing.
So this year, if you do not already have a favourite charity you help, or a cause you donate to, find one. Adopt a less fortunate family to help over the holidays, deliver a meal to a shut-in, shovel a neighbour’s driveway, make a donation, volunteer to serve Christmas dinner to the homeless, the list is endless.
And if you have kids, teach them to do the same. The greatest lesson you can teach a child is to care about others.
Giving Tuesday should not just be a single day to give—it should be a day to decide to give, and that giving should carry on throughout the coming year.
Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News.
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