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Giving Tuesday Puts Spirit of Giving Back into Holidays

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Feeling a little flush after saving so much on Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Lucky for all of us, a grassroots movement with a little momentum is here to remind us what the holidays are really about. 

Today is the first annual Giving Tuesday

A collaborative effort launched by the 92nd Street Y in New York City and the United Nations Foundation to promote generosity and giving during the holiday season, Giving Tuesday hopes to become as much a fall tradition as the two weekdays that precede it. It's also a wonderful way to teach kids there's more to the season than basement bargains on flatscreen TVs and kitchen appliances. 

If you hang out on Twitter long enough today, you'll notice the #GivingTuesday hashtag. Click through to learn more about 1000-plus corporations and non-profits that signed on to bring a little bit of that spirit of giving back to this time of year. Take some of what you saved yesterday – even if it was savings on gifts for loved ones – and give back to those who may need a little more.

For example, the non-profit Heifer International – which helps transforms communities with donated animals, stoves and grants – is explicitly tying Black Friday to Giving Tuesday, with the Black Friday Savings Calculator. The online tool asks you how much you saved on your shopping Black Friday, and suggests charitable gifts you can make on its site with your savings. 

It's certainly a kid-appropriate way to give to others – children love flipping through the catalogs and looking at pictures of animals while learning how the gift of a goat or pig can help another family.

But Giving Tuesday works domestically too. Cool Mom Picks points us to a few New York-area organizations that continue to provide much-needed aid in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, such as Baby Buggy.

Plus: Community Service Ideas for Kids

Big companies like Sony are also doing their part for children too, giving $1 for every re-pin it gets on Pinterest between Giving Tuesday and the end of the year to the Michael Phelps Foundation towards the Boys and Girls. And Starwood Hotels and Resorts, which offered savings of up to 25 percent at more than 500 participating resorts and hotels on Cyber Monday, is donating 10 Starpoints for every one of its Cyber Monday bookings to UNICEF – up to 500,000 points.

With a little luck Giving Tuesday will become as much a part of the post-Thanksgiving routine as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Which only invites the question: what should we do Wednesday? 

Let us know in the comments what you think of #GivingTuesday – and if you plan on giving a little something back today.

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