For the past decade or so, like most Canadians, I have been watching the U.S. media reports on the Friday after their Thanksgiving — Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year — with some astonishment. The worst elements of it are what sticks in my mind: the crowds, the line-ups, the people crushed, all to save a few bucks. (Ok, maybe it's to save for a lot of bucks, but still.) Like many Canadians, I tend to adopt that vaguely superior attitude at the sight that I usually reserve for bad reality television. It all seems so un-Canadian.
As is typical, this cultural phenomenon has seeped northward and is becoming entrenched in Canada, along with its younger cousin, Cyber Monday, the day the deals move to online-shopping.
Partly obscured by all the hype is a third day: Giving Tuesday. Created in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to the consumerism of the first two, for me Giving Tuesday is the antithesis and the antidote. This is an idea I like. Any reminder of our obligation to our community and the betterment of our world is a good thing. Moreover, if the shopping can also help build a community, then all the better.
In that spirit, the OHS is launching Giving Back is the New Black encompassing all three days. On Black Friday, you can shop at our own Buddy and Belle Boutique, find some great deals, and know that our only shareholders are the animals. On Cyber Monday, you can order some great programs online, or arrange for some fantastic gift baskets for the pet members of your family. And on Giving Tuesday, you can give the gift of a second chance to a homeless, injured or abused animal, knowing that your gift will be doubled by one of our most committed donors.
If it helps the animals, maybe we all both learn to like all the hype after all.