For the moment we’ll bask in the warm, forgiving glow of holiday magic and marvel at the preliminary news passed along by the elves at GivingTuesday: this year in the United States alone $2.7 billion was donated to a variety of charities and non-profits.
That figure eclipses last year’s total by nine percent, organizers say, when an estimated $2.4 billion was raised.
GivingTuesday is the worldwide effort encouraging people to donate to charitable causes, from breadlines and pantries to animal shelters and bloodbanks.
(In the States the day of generosity comes after Black Friday, when consumers have been lured into big box stores and malls to find magnificent deals on Christmas gifts; Small Business Saturday when neighbors are encouraged to shop at their local shops and support mom and pop who are trying to pay their bills and buy presents for their own families; and Cyber Monday when online deals entice everyone to spend even more money, but this time from the comfort of their home using a laptop, tablet or smartphone.)
That such record-breaking generosity took place during not just the first but also the second year of a pandemic is remarkable. With so much personal rancor and political animosity going on, it’s reassuring see people in a giving mood.
However, those of us without a few dollars to share might feel left out and guilty for not being able to give. But I may have come up with a cheaper alternative
Do give people space. We are still in a pandemic. The virus is still airborne. Just because you can now crowd into a bar or a restaurant or concert or family gathering without wearing a mask doesn’t mean you should. The available COVID-19 vaccines have made many activities that were unsafe last year safer this year, although variants still present a high risk of transmission to the unvaccinated and immunocompromised.
Do give your holiday cheer but only if it is in the form of a card, a greeting, an embrace (between consenting vaccinated people) or gift, but not if it’s a slurred Christmas song sung coming out of a bar near homes at midnight or later, or gift wrapped as urine or vomit and left in public.
Not all gifts and donations have to be about money. It’s the thought that counts.
Keep a good thought for your neighbor this holiday season.