Every Day is Giving Tuesday

Tis the season to give, so why is charity limited to Tuesday?

If you made it through the celebrations of consumption known as Black Friday and Cyber Monday, then you may have looked up from your Secret Santa wish list long enough to notice yesterday was Giving Tuesday. In the ever-increasingly, long lead-up to Christmas, Giving Tuesday stands as a single day solely dedicated to charity and selflessness. 

How quaint! A whole 24 hours to redirect our excessive consumerism toward those in need.

If this is the season of giving, why is the notion of selfless giving relegated to only one day? Demonstrating care for other people’s social well-being – the very definition of charity – could (ahem, should) be a daily act, not one day’s efforts. The fact is, we’ll shell out more for wrapping paper and cards than most parents can afford to spend on presents for their kids. That said, there are endless ways to make someone’s day, so don’t get caught up in the monetary amount of your charity. A simple pay-it-forward act of kindness goes a long way this time of year.

Here are a few ideas ranging from zero to $$$ to add some everyday philanthropy (#filanthropy) to your holiday season. Have a favourite way to give back during the holidays? Share in the comments below.

Free & Cheap

Give the gift of encouragement. The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation welcomes gifts of “encouraging thought” to share with the patients and clients who rely on CAMH every day. On your lunch break, why not tap out a few bon mots to remind someone that life is worth living and that recovery is possible? 

Socks for Souls has partnered with Indie88 and on-air talent Josie Dye to collect thousands of socks for Toronto’s Homeless community. Every $1 donated can purchase two pairs of socks, so by skipping your afternoon oat milk latte you could gift socks to 10 people.

$50 or less

After scoring a pair of discounted shoes on Black Friday, don’t just recycle the shoebox. Consider putting together a box of goodies for a woman struggling with homelessness. The Shoebox Project distributes gift-filled Shoeboxes to women living in shelters across Canada, the United States, and the UK. Fill it with small items designed to comfort and pamper a woman who has been displaced from their homes and estranged from their families.

Big Spender

Second Harvest hosts a holiday auction with over 100 incredible gifts for your friends and family. Proceeds support Second Harvest’s food rescue program, where fresh, perishable food is diverted to their network of over 384 social service agencies. The items include everything from travel to cooking classes, toys to sports tickets. But hurry, the auction closes at 10:00 am (EST) on Monday December 9, 2019!

Join me at CUBE’s Style & Fashion Holiday Soiree

It’s the first week of December, are you holiday partied out yet?! I hope not, dear readers, as your festive energy is needed Friday, December 21st. That’s when the F-list co-hosts a Style & Fashion Holiday Soiree at CUBE with Evan Biddell, Push Models, Kealan Sullivan of 69 Vintage and many more fashionable types. 

Join me before 11:30pm for complimentary cover, holiday cupcakes and cocktails. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, get your photo taken with Santa and his fashionistas. Work off those Christmas cookies by hitting the dance floor to sounds from DJ MISSTARA and resident DJ Mike Toast.

Consider it your warm up for New Year’s! See you there.

Hashtag for the Holidays

I’m a procrastinator by nature, and a perfectionist by design – not a good combination when it comes to holiday shopping. The closer it gets to the holidays, the less likely it is that I’ll find the perfect gift. And then there’s the act of shopping. The crowds? The parking lots? Dragging overflowing bags through the mall? Ugh. 

This holiday I choose to keep it simple. I nailed all of my gifts with three easy solutions to holiday shopping, and so can you! #yourewelcome

Holt Renfrew (#giftsformygirlfriends)
If I do leave the house, it will be this Saturday, December 8th. Holt Renfrew on Bloor Street will host a personal appearance and book signing with author and celebrity blogger – Emily Schuman of the popular blog Cupcakes and Cashmere. Pick up Emily’s new book – or how about one for each bestie – at Holt’s and have it signed by Emily herself between 2 pm – 4 pm. There will be live music and of course, free cupcakes. 
Since 2008, Emily has been offering daily glimpses into her fashion-filled lifestyle to hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide. In addition to highlighting her polished style online, Emily also shares her ‘how-to’ world of cooking, baking, party hosting, and home décor. (I’m a sucker for a great beet-pickled deviled egg recipe.) 
Amex Holiday HotList (#familypresents)
American Express has made shopping easy by offering up gifts from their top online retailers in the Amex Holiday Hotlist. You can save items in a wish list of things you want to give or receive, and share your list with friends and family via Facebook. Because believe it or not, sometimes I don’t want to shop. Here someone has done it all for me. I simply browse the selections of tech, fashion, sports and recreation, toys and so on; pick what I want and check out. Boom. 
eBay (#giftsforeveryoneelse)
If you’re a retailer and not embracing mobile shopping, you’re setting yourself up for failure. (And as a customer, could shopping from your phone be any more convenient?) Mobile has become “increasingly important” for eBay. And the recent shopping figures prove it. On Thanksgiving and Black Friday, eBay’s mobile transaction volume was up 133% over the same time last year. Cyber Monday’s activity was double 2011’s numbers. 
Leading categories on eBay this holiday season include toys, collectibles and tech accessories. They recommend downloading the mobile device app to enhance your shopping experience.  “And shop when you’re inspired,” suggests Andrea Stairs, eBay Country Manager .
I like eBay’s Holiday Collective featuring seven designers including Jonathan Adler, Chris Benz and Ruffian. This limited-edition collection includes gifts for men and women and everything is under $100.  Once again eBay proving their commitment to mobile,  the Holiday Collective launched last month with a pre-sale on the iPhone App, eBay Fashion, a full day before the items were available on the fashion section of eBay’s site.
Look out this February for a special Valentine’s collective that includes Canadian labels Foxy Originals and Dean Davidson.

Disco Night Dilemmas

Once we make it through the Christmas wrapping and leftovers, the talk turns to New Year’s.  For some New Year’s Eve is the year’s hottest ticket of the year and for others (and sometimes, for me) it’s a night preferably spent in the comforts of your own home.
This year, however, we’ve decided on the Thompson Hotel‘s NYE 2011 party.  Now the talk turns to what do I wear?  Here are a few ideas:
Carlie Wong Holiday photographed by Mike Chatwin
  • Go to the experts: For sparkle perfection, check out Carlie Wong‘s holiday 2010 collection.
  • Go custom:  No one will be wearing what you’re wearing if you’re wearing Pam Chorley’s Fashion Crimes.  Dresses are made-to-measure from a wide selection of styles and fabrics.  Order in person or online. 
  • Go for what’s left:  Take advantage of Greta Constantine’s sample & moving out sale this Wednesday, December 29th, 11am – 5:30pm
But if planning ahead isn’t your style, you can always go with a reliable staple of any wardrobe: the little black dress.  How you wear it depends on where you wear it, and on New Year’s feel free to go big.
LOVAS by Wesley Badanjak, photographed by Peter Lytwyniuk
Embrace elegance with elbow-length gloves.  Holt Renfrew carries a wide selection and the Winter Sale could net you up to 70% off.  Feathers and fur are everywhere, so throw on a fur collar or feather headband.  To finish it off, I recommend a fantastic set of earrings (like those carried by ukamaku) and a patterned pair of tights with heels.  Remember the simple rule – accessories make the LBD whatever you want it to be.
Above all, it helps to be comfortable and warm.  It makes that search for a taxi after midnight much more enjoyable.
Happy New Year’s!