By JoAnn Shull
Are you a Black Friday shopper? Personally, I’ve come to love online shopping as my go-to for the holiday season. Regardless of if you love it, hate it, or fall somewhere in between, giving is a huge part of the holiday season.
But to what do you give? Gifts for family? Friends? Obligatory gifts you’ve been giving for years that you wish you could stop but can’t? What about to people and organizations that you care about?
For me, I love the Giving Tree. It’s a truly selfless gift — you don’t expect anything in return, and no one really knows you did it. I have a lot of fun shopping for these gifts, imagining how the recipients might receive their special Christmas present.
The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is also a huge time for charities to receive gifts. Did you know that 31 percent of all charitable giving happens in December? I’m sure part of this is due to the fact that people are trying to get in their gifts before the end of the tax year, but I suspect it’s something more. I like to give in December because — in my mind — it helps me to combat the commercialism that runs rampant in the secular culture (though, I have to admit, I do love a good deal).
Have you thought about who you will give to this December? Maybe you’re a planner and you’ve had this figured out since you did your taxes this past spring. Maybe you’re looking at it for the first time now. Regardless, I encourage you to stretch that “giving muscle” — it’s an important part of our spiritual call as Catholic Christians.
This coming Tuesday, you have a special opportunity to kick off your holiday giving. If you are unaware, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, which began in 2012. Primarily social media driven, it’s a chance for you to give and then share why you give on social media. Newman has participated in Giving Tuesday the past two years and we plan to do so again with two project goals:
- Fund the buses for the SEEK conference this coming January ($9,000 goal — plus, a generous donor has agreed to TRIPLE all gifts made to this goal!)
- Fund Newman’s expenses for our monthly meal at the Loves & Fishes Soup Kitchen for 2019 ($2,000 goal)
If you feel so inclined, feel free to stretch your “giving muscle” for one of these projects. Or, look at other organizations you care about and support them on this day of giving. The important part is not whom you give to or how much you give, but that you are sharing of the gifts the Lord has given to you.