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"Giving Tuesday" Peeks through Christmas Commercialism

PHOTO: Giving Tuesday, the movement to make the Tuesday after Thanksgiving a day of giving, is urging people to take and post "UNselfies," as seen above. Courtesy Giving Tuesday.
PHOTO: Giving Tuesday, the movement to make the Tuesday after Thanksgiving a day of giving, is urging people to take and post "UNselfies," as seen above. Courtesy Giving Tuesday.
December 2, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. - Merchants report sales up 2.3 percent, compared with last year, in the holiday buying frenzy of Thanksgiving Thursday and Black Friday. Today is Cyber Monday, known for online shopping. So, charitable groups are hoping there's some time and money left for a different focus.

Giving Tuesday is tomorrow, Dec 3. It began last year as an antidote to the holiday consumer frenzy, and has grown to include more than 8,000 partner organizations, in all 50 states.

Henry Timms, who runs a New York "Y," is credited with coming up with the idea.

"Every year, we hear a lot of people complaining that they think things are too consumer-focused," Timms said. "What we hope is that Giving Tuesday gives them a chance to really put that complaint to good use and think, 'How can I give something back?'"

The event is also known as "Hashtag" Giving Tuesday, since it started on social media. Timms said this year, they're putting an online spin on the fad of taking "selfies" - photos of themselves that people share on social media. He called it the "UN-selfie."

"The UN-selfie takes that idea and says, 'Actually, share a picture of something more important. Share a picture of you doing something useful for others.' Share a picture of a cause that matters deeply to you. Do something UNselfish around Giving Tuesday," he urged.

Retailers rely on the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas for a major portion of their annual sales, and last week's two-day total topped $12 billion. Giving Tuesday suggests pausing to consider sharing over shopping.

More information about Giving Tuesday is at community.givingtuesday.org.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR