Giving Tuesday hopes to give Black Friday a run for its money

Published: Thursday, Nov. 15 2012 12:30 p.m. MST

Food for the Utah Food Bank is donated at Walmart in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012. November 26 will mark #giving tuesday, a social media movement meant to encourage people to kick off the holiday season by giving to a charitable organization.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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Shoppers have been waiting with bated breath since Target's Nov. 12 announcement that its Black Friday sale will begin at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, according to an article from the Huffington Post. Target isn't the only store planning an early start to Black Friday. Walmart plans to open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving, and Macy's will open its doors as the clock strikes midnight.

For those who eschew brick and mortar stores, there will be plenty of deals to be had online for Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving. A study by eBay found that most families finish their Thanksgiving meal by 5:23 p.m. It shouldn't be surprising then that many retailers will offer their online shoppers special discounts just as dinner is finishing, according to Internet Retailer, an online publication focused on e-commerce.

But after a day of thanks and two days of deals, shouldn't there be a day for giving back? That is the logic behind #givingtuesday, a social media initiative started by 92nd Street Y in New York City, the United Nations Foundation, The Huffington Post and InterAction. The goal is to encourage families, companies and communities to start off the holiday season by giving, any way they can.

"It doesn't matter what you give — money, goods, services, blood, volunteer your time or even spread word about the effort," according to the Huffington Post. For those who want to participate, #givingtuesday's website (givingtuesday.org) is full of suggestions for kicking off the giving season with service.

For families they suggest:

Have a home treasure hunt. Take 20 minutes to look through closets and storage boxes and take out what isn't being used or extras, and donate to a program that sets up families in new homes.

Talk as a family about issues everyone cares about. Do some research to find a walk, bike ride or run supporting that cause and join in as a team.

For two weeks, agree as a family to skip the extras: treats, lunch out, special after-school snacks. Put the saved money in a jar and on Giving Tuesday donate it to a cause everyone agrees on.

For corporations they suggest:

Host a company silent auction or bake sale. Commit the proceeds to a designated organization.

Give employees some time off on Tuesday to offer volunteer service at a place of their choice.

Participate in a winter coat drive. Give collected items to a local agency for distribution.

Email: mwhite@desnews.com

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