GivingTuesday and Sharing the Gift of Giving with Children


The holiday season is upon us, a season I love for so many reasons, including its juxtaposition of gluttony (give me all the pies) and generosity (and all the goodwill towards men).

In the spirit of seasonal generosity, GivingTuesday debuted in 2012 and takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving – after we’re worn out from spending on ourselves on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. It’s a chance for us to focus on sharing our resources with others and join together with millions of donors across the globe to make a positive impact during the holidays. This year, it falls on December 3, 2019.

For parents, GivingTuesday offers an opportunity to weave philanthropy into the fabric of your family. I plan to involve my young children in conversations around charitable giving not because they’ll understand today, but because I want them to never be able to remember a time when philanthropy wasn’t a part of their lives.

When my kids get money through a gift, their allowance, or a job (I mean, I can dream about that one, right?), they can decide if and how much they’d like to set aside for others. When GivingTuesday comes around, we’ll discuss together which charities they want to support. While they are still so little, we’ll talk more about things that are special to us rather than specific charities – how much we love our dogs and other animals, how blessed we are for good food and a safe home, how much medicine helps us when we don’t feel good.

It’s fun to talk about and imagine what their money might buy: yummy treats for good doggies at the shelter, a healthy dinner for a family in need, delicious pink medicine (bubble gum Amoxicillin, anyone?) for someone who is sick.

Not only will your family’s dollars make a practical, positive impact on the lives of others, but you’ll also give your children the wonderful gift of helping someone else. Being a child is, in retrospect, pretty awesome. When you’re living it, though, it can be frustrating to lack control over so many aspects of your life, from your schedule to your diet to which drawers you can open by yourself. Giving your children the gift of giving back to a cause personally meaningful to them is so empowering. It shows them that everyone, young or old, has the ability to make a difference.