Even if you didn’t celebrate US-style Thanksgiving last Thursday, this popular holiday may still have affected you, regardless of where you live: My email inbox could definitely tell you a thing or two about it.
Shop Till You Drop?
German retailers have enthusiastically adopted the traditions of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”: In the US, the Friday following Thanksgiving, as well as the Monday after the long weekend, is the official start of the Christmas shopping season, both in brick-and-mortar stores and online.
Every online shop ever has been bombarding me with newsletters and special offers, exhorting me to buy buy buy for the festive season. It’s a good thing that my email program comes with a big fat “delete” button. It’s rampant consumerism at its most annoying – and I don’t even live in the US!
Obviously, I’m not the only person who is irritated by making the spirit of the holiday season all about money and materialism. In 2012, the New York City community center 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation started Giving Tuesday in response.
Their aim? To make the Tuesday after Thanksgiving all about generosity and giving instead. Though it began as a US-based movement, the idea has been adopted by several other countries to encourage Giving Tuesday initiatives around the world.
It’s not a thing here in Germany yet, but maybe we can take to it with the same enthusiasm as our retailers have taken up the sales offers. But no matter if you live in Germany, the US, or elsewhere, there’s always time for giving back to your community – and not only today.
The Spirit of the Season
Right now, InterNations members around the world are heavily involved in bringing some seasonal joy to those who need it most. Various volunteer groups have embraced the idea of “Christmas in a Shoe Box”:
They collect a selection of small Christmas gifts in a box, creatively decorate the packaging, and pass on the presents to children in need – particularly to those supported by the local non-profit organizations we are already cooperating with on a regular basis.
A heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who has already participated in this campaign or will in the future! You’d like to make a difference with InterNations too? Then just check if your InterNations Community has a Volunteer Group and have a look at their upcoming activities in December.
Your local Activity Group hasn’t joined this campaign? Or you just prefer something different? No worries! As a glance at the past and planned activities for volunteers shows, we have plenty of other things in store.
For example, the local group in Singapore will be celebrating International Volunteer Day on Friday, December 5th, together with the Singapore Red Cross Society. And our Dubai Volunteer Group is contributing actively to organizing the Manzil Carnival – an annual fundraising fun event with and for local children with special needs.
If you have your own idea for an activity, feel free to address your Volunteer Group Consuls or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find out more about the InterNations Volunteer Program on our site.
So far, we have scheduled 40 Volunteer Activities for the month of December, and over 400 people have already signed up to offer their support. Thank you to our Group Consuls and, of course, to all the individual volunteers who make this possible!
After all, the best gifts don’t come from the store, but from the heart.
(Image credit: 1) iStockphoto 2) InterNations)