When Did Giving Tuesday Start? This Day Encourages Us To Do More Than Shop

The holiday season is big on spending. Sales skyrocket as shoppers drop loads of cash on Black Friday deals, Cyber Monday sales, and more. But we mustn't forget another important meaning behind the holidays: The act of giving back. In fact, that's what Giving Tuesday is for. But when did Giving Tuesday start, and what's it all about?

Yes, I know, you already "give" — to the stores. When you swipe your credit card. But Giving Tuesday is about so much more than that. Occurring annually the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, it's actually quite a recent creation; it originated in 2012. As such, it's largely fueled by social media — just search the #GivingTuesday hashtag on any platform and you'll see what I mean.

The timing couldn't be more perfect, either. The holidays can be hectic and stressful, and we all need a reminder sometimes that there are other people out there we should be thinking about. Giving Tuesday helps kick off the charitable season, as the holidays are already a time when people give back and donate. But the extra boost provided by this campaign has upped the holiday cheer even more, and people are eager to do good deeds.

If we can all manage our holiday shopping, then we can definitely manage to donate $10 to our favorite charity, or drop off some canned goods at the local food drive, or bring a toy to the nearby children's hospital. And if you don't have the funds to give something of monetary value? Worry not — there are other ways to show you care. Maybe you can volunteer at a local animal shelter, or visit the elderly at an independent living facility. (I used to do this, and it was incredible.)

Giving Tuesday is a global celebration that happens on one day; but let's be honest: It's always a good time to give back. You can visit the officially Giving Tuesday Facebook and Twitter pages for more information, and a quick Google search should tell you what you need to know about ways to donate your time or money.

Need some ideas? Here are a few places to start. And remember: 'Tis the season, but there's nothing that says you can't keep giving even after Giving Tuesday is over.