Giving Tuesday Is a Gift – Enjoy It
I first became aware of Giving Tuesday about eight years ago, not long after its official inception in 2012. While I’ve never been one to do much on Black Friday, and it took the pandemic to get me to even acknowledge Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday feels like the perfect palate cleanser after what for some might have been an intense few days of various forms of gluttony.
In the UK (and in some of the current and former Commonwealths), the day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day and was traditionally celebrated by giving gifts to the staff and those less fortunate. Today, it has become commercialized and morphed into a full-on shopping day; after all, capitalism has the best publicist on the planet— our own desires. It’s an interesting dynamic to pair one of the biggest shopping days with the day to share one’s bounty, but it makes sense since we’re ultimately all seeking balance.
The Giving Tuesday website shares that the day was created to encourage people to do good… "and is now a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity." Thinking about the heart of Giving Tuesday led me to the following questions: what do people want most, and what is ultimately our most precious resource? To me, the answer to both questions is time. No matter how much we may want to, we cannot make more of it, and once it’s gone, we cannot get it back. That led me to think about the book The Five Love Languages and how quality time is my personal number one way to feel loved and ranks among the top two ways of my completely unofficial poll on the subject.
Ask your friends, and I bet out of the five options of acts of service, gifts, physical touch, quality time, and words of affirmation, quality time will be a hot contender for the top spot. If you get super reductionist about it, the other four options all take time. Then, if you really give yourself a moment for deep thoughts, you’ll find that even air, food, and water are all in service of nourishing our life, aka, our time on this planet. It all comes back to time.
"Whether that gift is financial or emotional support, physical goods or food, or simply our presence in the form of listening, eye contact, or a smile, let’s give."
I enjoy giving. It makes me feel rich and abundant to be able to share what I have. Some of my favorite organizations include social justice groups, organizations that support people of color, women, animals, my political party and places around the world that need medical and infrastructure support. I’m also a card carrying Buddhist and within my SGI community we always talk about how our practice is for ourselves and others, as we are all inextricably linked. Often this practice for self and others is carried out in the currency of time: the time it takes to give and receive guidance as we struggle to overcome our sufferings together; the time it takes to chant with and for other people, etc. We also have a couple of opportunities to contribute, whether that’s the annual May contribution or the monthly sustaining contribution. These various forms of contributions are a way to propel the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) movement for peace, culture, and education forward. They can also be the catalyst for personal growth.
I’ve received great benefits in my life from consciously working to break my attachment to money, which for me showed up in the form of being afraid of not having enough. One might think that saving would be the antidote to that fear, but for me, it was giving. Giving keeps me in the flow of life. Giving also keeps my mailbox and inbox full of various organizations, allowing me to give to them!
But jokes aside, if balance is what the universe craves, then shouldn’t we all be giving as much as we’re receiving? Whether that gift is financial or emotional support, physical goods or food, or simply our presence in the form of listening, eye contact, or a smile, let’s give. Let’s give all we can, with as much heartfelt meaning as we can. We can do it on Giving Tuesday, or we can fulfill the other part of the day’s mission and have it as a day of celebration for all the great giving we’ve done throughout the year!
To me, the ultimate gift of Giving Tuesday is feeling the abundance of my life and sharing that abundance in various ways. In whatever form you choose to give, doesn’t it feel delicious to do good? Unlike a high from an external substance, this is a buzz you can self-generate any time you wish just by giving, so why not give today and every day— you deserve it!