The holiday season, from Thanksgiving to Christmas, often inspires themes of gratitude, goodwill, and generosity. We mix our Black Friday shopping and Christmas tree decorating with donations to our favorite charities. We sacrifice an hour or two of our after-work evenings to serve our community. There are several reasons these winter months may spark such altruism – cramming in extra brownie points for the nice list before Santa’s big night out or impressionable stories and songs with such themes of the season – but whatever the motive, such acts of service warm the heart, and make Michael Bublé and Mariah Carey defrost all the more quickly.
This season of giving really ramps up during Thanksgiving, especially on Giving Tuesday. What is Giving Tuesday? According to the official website, Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Black Friday and Cyber Monday designed to “unleash the power of generosity”. It encourages people to give back in any way they can to nonprofit organizations.
As a nonprofit, we rely on charitable donations to help us keep our facilities clean and updated, offer free or discounted admission to families on WIC or SNAP, host field trips, programs, and events that promote curiosity and unity within our community, and bring STEM programs to schools all over Utah.
For Giving Tuesday this year, Thanksgiving Point is offering a free venue ticket to individuals who donate $20 or more. Individuals who donate $100 or more are entered in a drawing for a chance to win the Ultimate Curiosity Prize Package. Thanksgiving Point donations go toward the Every Kid Counts program which provides hands-on STEM learning to the lives of economically disadvantaged children in Utah. This campaign will begin Wednesday, November 23 and end on Giving Tuesday, November 29.
If you are looking to serve this holiday season, you can contribute to a nonprofit’s Giving Tuesday campaign or take part in any of the several winter volunteer opportunities that pop up this time of year. Here are a few winter volunteer opportunities:
- Soldier Christmas Cards: This time of year can be especially difficult for soldiers who cannot be with their families. You can write them a letter of appreciation or of well-wishes for the holidays, just to let them know they are being thought of.
- Nursing Home Carols: All seniors want for Christmas is for people to sing to them! Get a group together, rustle up some of your favorite sonorous seasonal tunes, and go caroling.
- Organize/Take Part in a Drive: There are several drives that are extremely helpful this time of year. Toy drives provide children with presents on Christmas, food drives make sure families have something to eat (some organizations make Thanksgiving and Christmas food packages), and clothing drives provide people with coats, warm socks, gloves, and hats that are sorely needed in the winter months.
- Baked Goods to Shelters: Share the holiday spirit at a shelter by gifting warm, home-baked goods.
- Soup Kitchen: It’s a cliché, but it really makes a difference, and your help makes it easier to get everyone fed. This option is popular though, so you may have to call ahead.
- Themed Care Packages: Make a care package for a shelter ziplocked full of socks, a toothbrush and toothpaste, some bandages, some single-serving snacks, and maybe some nice holiday lotion or lip balm. A sweet note is always appreciated too.
- Shoveling Snow: Shoveling snow is a physical feat that only gets harder as you get older. Pop in some headphones and play some banging tunes as you shovel up that ice and snow, helping your neighbor enjoy a safe, slip-free driveway.
- Blankets for Homeless and Refugees: Especially here in Utah, the temperature can get extremely cold, and your creation or donation of a blanket could make for a much more bearable night.
No matter the reason you choose to give, or how you choose to serve, this time of year or any other, we are grateful to you, and hope you have a truly wonderful holiday season.