Just when we’re trying to celebrate the most welcoming American tradition, and start off the winter holiday with a warm, family gathering, we get
Black Friday. The annual celebration of consumerism and low low prices that results in shoving, pushing, overspending, and spiritual emptiness.
Black Friday is American culture at its worst.
So you can imagine my horror when one of our au pairs announced that she and her friends were planning a Black Friday outing– first to Walmart, then to the mall, with a pit stop at the new MacDonald’s.
Our Au Pair couldn’t wait to participate in what she saw as an annual celebration of shopping. Of course, she couldn’t see past the sales circulars and crazy tv ads to recognize that someone else had to leave their family celebration early to open the store doors at 11 pm on Thursday evening.
That someone had to stand guard at the entrance, to keep people from trampling over each other in a mad rush to a cheap flat-screen tv.
That someone else felt she *had* to shop that day, or her meagre budget couldn’t meet her kids’ hopes for something special from Santa.
This year, there’s a national, organized antidote to the insanity and the vulgarity that BlackFriday has become.
This antidote is #GivingTuesday, a day of giving that can help us remember that the holidays are about not only ‘giving’ but also ‘giving back’.
#GivingTuesday is a day to demonstrate that giving back to our communities is part of a great tradition of philanthropy and volunteerism that helps keep America strong.
#GivingTuesday, being celebrated next week on November 26th, is a national initiative that brings retailers, charities, online organizations, community centers,individuals, families and more together with one common purpose — to help and encourage each other to give more meaningfully, and celebrate the great American spirit of generosity.
What Can You Do for #GivingTuesday?
To prepare for #GivingTuesday, you, your family and your au pair can talk about what people or organizations in your community are making a positive difference. You can brainstorm around ways that you can contribute to these organizations and the work that they do.
Some ideas we came up with included:
- Hold a bake sale and donate the proceeds.
- Go through the linen closet and gather those old towels, sheets, and blankets that are too ratty to give to people but that are still absorbent or cosy, and bring them down to the animal shelter.
- Get out the crayons and posterboard (and glitter and glue gun– the whole 9 yards) to create some thank you notes to organizations we appreciate. Take these down to Starbucks and post them on the community bulletin board.
- Set up a ‘matching challenge’, where you and your host parent partner double the amount of their own money that your au pair and your kids agree to donate to a charity.
- Have the kids look through every junk drawer and under every cushion, gather up the loose change and take it to the Salvation Army kettle downtown.
- Honor the people in your community who keep everyone safe and healthy. Prepare a meal and deliver it to their place of work. Include hand made cards, placemats, and thank you notes so that everyone in the family gets to contributes something. Deliver the meal together as a family.
- Have a family conversation about your favorite foods and the healthy foods you having been trying to eat. Take some of those foods from your cabinets (non perishable) and bring them to your local food pantry.
- Home Treasure Hunt! Look in your closets at home …kitchen tools, dishes, toys, books, school supplies. Collect what is not being used, what hasn’t been used in a long time, and the extras you have, and donate to a program that sets up families in new homes.
- For an entire week, everyone in the family skips the “extras” Take the money you would have spent on after school treats, a special ice cream, or coffees from your favorite vendor, and collect it all in a jar. Donate to your local food pantry to help others get the essentials foods they need.
What We Host Parents Know
We host parents can demonstrate that giving is something we do to support each other’s efforts to make this world a better place.
This Tuesday, November 26th, is #GivingTuesday. Give your kids and your au pair the gift of a positive example.
What might your #GivingTuesday gift be?
Share you ideas below!!
For more information on #GivingTuesday:
- Like #GivingTuesday on Facebook => www.facebook.com/GivingTuesday
- Follow #GivingTuesday us on Twitter @GivingTues
- Follow #GivingTuesday on Pinterest => http://pinterest.com/givingtuesday/giving?quotes/
The Five Actions of Gratitude
Leftover Thanksgiving Tips for your Au Pair Relationship
Our Au Pair Doesn’t Understand How Her Actions Affect Our Family
Holiday Gift Idea: The Gratitude Jar
Tip: Family Fun for Thanksgiving