By: Sue Wilson, Volunteer Leader and Board Member
Black Friday. The kick off to what is suppose to be the most joyous time of the year. Yet, a trip to any mall parking lot or big box retailer shows anything but joy. Black Friday can be a dark day, exemplifying the worst of consumerism in the holidays, and by the end of it we often hear some dreadful news story about customers rushing into stores, battling over a limited number of “door buster” specials. Sales consultant, Steven A McQueen, tweeted: “Black Friday is the day we trample people for things we don’t need, the day after being thankful for what we have.”
We have been convinced, through a bombardment of advertising messages, that the holiday season is all about MORE. Spending more money on more presents to fill our spaces with more stuff that we’ll be paying off for a long time.
If stepping back from the consumerism of gift giving sounds good to you, here are four suggestions to bring some meaning back to the holidays:
- Give the gift of time. Volunteer with an organization you believe in. Every single day, the Red Cross helps people in emergencies. Whether it’s one displaced family, thousands of disaster victims, or providing care and comfort to an ill or injured service member or veteran or support to a military family member, our vital work is made possible by people like you. It is through the time and care of ordinary people that we can do extraordinary things. Click here for information about becoming a Red Cross volunteer.
- Give something that means something. Honor a friend or family member with a gift that helps those in need. When you donate to the Red Cross you are helping people who face emergencies every day rebuild their lives. Donations can help provide safe shelter, food, emergency relief supplies, emotional support and health services to people in need. To make a tax-deductible donation, visit redcross.org/gifts and choose from a variety of symbolic gifts that give back to the community, or call 1-800-RED CROSS to support Red Cross services.
- Give something practical. If you still enjoy giving traditional gifts, you can shop online at the Red Cross Store and give a practical gift; the gift of preparedness for emergencies, with first aid kits, a hand-crank radio that can charge your cell phone, water bottles and more.
- Donate Blood. The holidays are a hectic time with upcoming travel, family gatherings and festive events. But hospital patients don’t get a holidays from needing lifesaving blood donations. To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets visit redcrossblood.org.
Brighten up Black Friday. Give …rather than buy.