At this time of year, it’s hard to ignore all the offers, emails, posters and signs about the face that Christmas is coming, it’s time to get shopping, and of course the avalanche of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals and bargains. Now, while we won’t argue with the fact that if there are things you need, now can be a good time to get them, we do feel that both Black Friday and Cyber Monday are designed to make you feel like you need more, more, more, and it’s worth thinking for a moment whether or not more ‘stuff’ will actually make your happier and make the world a better place. In fact, some companies such as environmentally aware outdoor brands Patagonia and Fat Face don’t offer discounts – instead they donate some or all of their profits on those days to good causes.
Giving Tuesday takes things a step further. In a pushback against the rampant consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, people have created Giving Tuesday. The emphasis is on generosity and improving the lot of people around the world, helping the environment, and making a positive difference.
This is something we can totally get behind! So here are some ideas on what to do for Giving Tuesday this year.
1. A random act of kindness
‘No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted’. This is a quote from Aesop, who wrote the famous fables, and we totally agree. To make things better, happier and more positive, you don’t need to give loads of money to charity or make huge changes – little acts can have a big impact, brightening peoples days and making them happier.
Random Acts of Kindness is a movement started several years ago, and the idea is simple: do something small and simple for people. This can be as simple as making someone a drink or bringing in cake to your class, or something bigger like making cards or decorations for the people at your local retirement home. Many people do their acts anonymously, because this isn’t about getting recognition – it’s about the act itself.
The website has loads of great ideas, and you can record your random acts on there too!
2. Give to a good cause
This is an easy one! And there are so many good causes to give to – though of course we’d suggest Roots & Shoots as a good option! You might like to choose some local good causes so your money helps people in your community.
Why not host a cake sale or sponsored silence, raise some money and send that off? That way fundraising is fun too!
3. Environmental tidy-up
This is a quick and easy way to make a big difference to the environment! Grab some bin bags, thick rubber gloves, little pickers, and head outside. Clear up the rubbish from your local woods, fields, beach or even your playground. You’ll make the environment nicer for people and for the animals that live there.
4. Make something for wildlife
When the temperature drops, food can become hard to find for many animals, so why not spend Giving Tuesday making some ‘gifts’ that will help your local birds and animals?
- Make and watch a bird feeder
- 5 ways you can help wildlife this winter
- RSPB – simple bird cake recipe
5. Make a winter home for wildlife
If you have space in your garden at home or at school, then make a place where wildlife will be able to hide out over the cold winter months. Ideally, this should be a quiet part of the grounds where people don’t go too often, and it’s really simple – you need to let it run wild!
Let the plants grow up high, let the leaves lie on the ground, and hey-presto, you’ve got places for insects and small animals to conceal themselves. If you want to make it even better, add a log pile which invertebrates and small mammals love. We love to visit wildspots like this over the winter and carefully try to spot what’s living there.