Giving Thanks for #GivingTuesday

Today I am getting onboard and completely behind #GivingTuesday. After the barrage of sales emails that have clogged my inbox since the start of Thanksgiving, it's refreshing to shift my focus from buying to giving. So, that's what I'm doing now.

#GivingTuesday, started by New York's 92nd Street Y, is a campaign to create a national day of giving back at the start of the annual holiday season. And, it couldn't come at a better time.

After giving thanks for all that's important in life on Thanksgiving, it just doesn't feel right to do a complete 180 and focus on all that we need - even before the clock struck midnight. Now, don't get me wrong, I do love to shop and pick out gifts for my friends and family (and even share my thoughts on a few gifts that celebrate Chicago and the world), but I just don't feel right having it forced upon me and I'm just not crazy about the pressure and the expectation to buy, buy, buy at this time of year. For me, #GivingTuesday helps balance the spending with the giving - without any pressure.

The #GivingTuesday campaign celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support nonprofit organizations. But, it's up to all of us to chose what we do with that - and how we do it too. Any of us can choose to donate time, money or make other in-kind donations to help the organizations, businesses or causes we feel the most strongly about right now. And, I think it's a great idea to look at #GivingTuesday as the one day we take time to plan out our giving for the holiday season and the next year year.

My family appreciates and cherishes all that Chicago has to offer residents, visitors, businesses and more. We participate and attend the events, programs and exhibits available at cultural institutions throughout the Windy City - and we hope that they continue to grow and flourish for others to enjoy for many years to come. So, today on #GivingTuesday, I am going to make an even more concerted effort to support those local businesses and organizations, and I plan to volunteer at special events at cultural institutions, purchase more children's theatre tickets and/or subscriptions, frequent local stores that do good (like the used bookstore, Open Books), and more.

As I volunteer my time and make donations and/or purchases this holiday season, I plan to share the story behind it with our sons, helping to make sure they know it's about giving back and helping them understand why we chose to support some of our most cherished institutions. And, of course, I'll continue to give back to Chicago in my own way - by sharing all that makes this diverse, multi-cultural city so wonderful with all of you here on this blog.

Do you support #GivingTuesday? Feel free to share your thoughts via the comments below. I also welcome you to highlight any organizations and/or causes you plan to give back to this holiday season so that we can help build awareness and support for them here too.

Here's to world citizens - and to taking the time to give back.



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