The holiday season is a wonderful time of year when we have the opportunity to gather with friends and family to give thanks, to celebrate, and to honor the diverse traditions we hold dear. It can also be a hectic time, as we are caught up in the excitement of festivities, the rush of shopping for gifts and the stress of travel.

As we enter this holiday season and reflect on the many ways in which we, as Utahns, are a blessed people, I urge that we not forget those who are less fortunate. There are many among us who struggle with illness or disability, with financial difficulties and with emotional trauma of all kinds. There are many among us who need our help and compassion.

That is why I am joining the Deseret News in supporting the #GivingTuesday initiative. #GivingTuesday is a global movement of more than 5,400 corporate, civic, and philanthropic partners who share the common goal of setting aside the Tuesday after Thanksgiving as a day of caring and sharing.

From national partners like Microsoft, J.C. Penney, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, and the Home Depot Foundation, to local partners like the Deseret News, United Way of Salt Lake and Utah counties, Utah Food Bank and YWCA of Salt Lake City, organizations large and small will team up on Dec. 3 to create momentum for charitable giving.

Utahns are generous people, which is why our state leads the nation in charitable giving and in volunteerism. This culture of compassion is part of what makes Utah an enviable place to live. My hope is that the #GivingTuesday movement will encourage Utahns to go to even greater lengths to care for those in need.

The economic downturn of the past few years has been challenging for all of us, and, at times, giving to others may seem difficult or impossible. I ask that you consider the timeless words of C.S. Lewis:

“I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.”

So, I ask Utah citizens everywhere to forgo a trip to the movies, give up a dinner out, or put off buying that new gizmo for a while, so you can use that money to help change someone’s life for the better. Avoid being so consumed by “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” so you have room in your budget to donate to a worthy cause on #GivingTuesday.

Any sacrifices you make to help those in need will be returned to you many fold. As the American educator, Booker T. Washington, wrote: “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”

For more information on #GivingTuesday, please visit:

May God continue to bless the people of this great state as we work together to bless the lives of those around us, and happy holidays to all.

Gary Herbert is the governor of Utah.