I’ve mentioned in previous posts that since becoming a professional organizer I’ve really changed my outlook on gift giving. It’s astounding to me how many unused and often unopened gifts fill the closets, basements and even entire rooms of individuals I’ve worked with. The waste can be measured not only in terms of money spent, but also in terms of the effort expended by the gift giver, and mental effort expended by the gift recipient, worrying about not using the gift.
You see, the recipient often can only imagine the horrible things will happen if her mother-in-law shows up at her house on Thanksgiving and she is unable to produce the $150 gourmet whip cream dispenser (yes, this product really exists!) she received from her mother-in-law last Christmas. As a result, she can’t possibly get rid of it. This results in mental clutter and physical clutter piling up. For these reasons and others, I’ve spent the last seven years encouraging folks to gift experiences or find ways to give of themselves for the holidays. This year I have an additional suggestion.
Last year on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving I read a tweet about the first #GivingTuesday™, which took place on that day, November 27, 2012.
#GivingTuesday is a campaign to create a national day of charitable giving at the start of the annual holiday season. It comes on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It celebrates giving and encourages charitable activities supporting nonprofit organizations. This year, #GivingTuesday is on December 3, 2013.
Last year, because of #GivingTuesday, the adults in my family chose to spend the money we would’ve spent buying each other things we don’t need on fulfilling the Christmas wishes of a family living in a local shelter. This year when we get together for Thanksgiving I’ll start the #GivingTuesday conversation so we can decide how this year’s holiday gift dollars will be donated.
This year, before you buy that argyle sweater for your Dad, or the cute little teapot for your Mom’s collection, or God forbid, the $150 gourmet whip cream dispenser for your daughter-in-law, please consider how else you might celebrate giving this holiday season. I guarantee participating in #GivingTuesday will result in a lot less clutter and a lot more holiday spirit!
* image is from www.givingtuesday.org