Let post-Tgiving shopping frenzy merge into Giving Tuesday

Isn’t it interesting that Thanksgiving, a day originally set aside to focus on being grateful for what we have, has become pinned to a few days of trying to have more? Granted, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday do offer ways to get started on discounted holiday gifts and on Saturday, to support not just small but local. Still, the sum of these days when combined with Giving Tuesday, can add up to so much more than “stuff.”

Five years ago Giving Tuesday (#GivingTuesday) was started as an international day of giving by the United Nations Foundation and the 92nd Street Y, a community center and cultural institution on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in response to the rampant consumerism and commercialization attached to the holiday.

In a 2015 Fortune Q & A with Giving Tuesday founder Henry Timms, who is also the executive director of 92nd Street Y and co-founder of Social Good Summit, when asked why he thinks the campaign has caught on, said, “It speaks to the most American of values. America is the most generous country in the world.”

However, the event continues gaining momentum around the world. Last year, Charisse Jones, reporting for USA Today, noted that the event “sparked $168 million in charitable donations worldwide,” topping the 2015 tally “by 44%.” The article also said that “volunteers pledged thousands of hours to assist their neighbors and those in need.”

One fun way to dovetail the “shopping days” with the “giving day” is to BOGO steeply discounted finds this way: buy one, get one…for someone else! After all, if you find something half off and get two, it’s still the same pre-sale price as one. Also, it’s a great way to extend the core Thanksgiving message and teach kids that one way to express gratitude is to share.

In a Time magazine article by Eric Barker titled, “How to Raise Happy Kids: 10 Methods Backed by Science,” one of the ways is to “teach them to build relationships.” The article says, “It doesn’t take a lot. It can start with encouraging kids to perform small acts of kindness to build empathy.” This not only, says the article,“builds essential skills and makes our kids better people,” but “research shows over the long haul it makes them happier.” 

When shopping for holiday gifts for kids, consider the cost to usage ratio, or in more colloquial terms, bang for the buck. For example, big 320-page workbooks are a super value at full price and even more so when they go on sale. Writing by hand fires up specific parts of a child’s brain, improving their ability to not only remembers what’s learned but to think of new ideas. Tear-out pages make great individual worksheets, and with more than 300 pages, the big workbooks deliver hours and hours of fun and learning.

Another learning tool that gets excellent mileage, traveling with kids from preschool through first grade, is the Little Scholar® learning tablet, recently recognized by Family Living Today. When purchased as a package that includes a car charger, it makes road trips a supercharged learning adventure. It delivers School Zone's proven learning curriculum and prepares kids for pre-K through 1st grade. With more than 70 preloaded apps, videos, books, songs, and games, it provides a safe and secure learning environment that doesn't require access to the Internet to learn and play. It also features Charlie and Company, an original preschool series that inspires curiosity, nurtures a love of learning, and empowers kids.

How about a gift that needs no wrapping, delivers great value, can be shared among multiple kids of different ages, and includes storybooks, original music, games, interactive worksheets, printables, and more? check out Anywhere Teacher, an online learning destination named by Mom’s Choice Awards, as among the Best in Family-Friendly Products. It connects children ages 2-8 with powerful online learning wherever they are, anywhere, anytime. Give your child—or another child!—access to limitless learning and fun, starting at just $6.99 per month.

During this season of shopping and giving, for pennies a day, you can gift kids you love and kids who need love with exciting tools that make learning fun. These kinds of purchases help retain the sweetest spirit of the season and instill lessons.