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The holidays: extra shopping or extra kindness?

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Yet another special day was on the holiday calendar last week, but with a different purpose. #Giving Tuesday, a project by nonprofit charitable groups, sought to carve out a day for itself when Americans could turn their thoughts to the less fortunate and pledge gifts to worthy causes.

On its debut Nov. 27 #Giving Tuesday seemed to have gathered momentum. People pledged more than $10 million, as well as volunteered time and donated goods, to some 2,000 nonprofits groups on that day. Some groups asked people who'd found a great deal on the previous Black Friday or Cyber Monday to donate their savings to charity.

#Giving Tuesday  (the "#" identifies it on Twitter) is trying to grab back some attention to a deeper meaning for the season from efforts to make it a month-long exercise in consumer self-indulgence.

Adding special shopping holidays to the season may or may not end up being good for business. But these promotions do little to foster the sentiments Americans really want to express: sharing, caring, and loving. These are sentiments of the heart that most exemplify the spirit of the holidays.

What we most need is a season of good deeds done with no expectation of recognition or reward. We need a season to pause and cherish and acknowledge our own and all efforts to promote peace and goodwill.

That's what fills empty hearts. And people need not be members of a certain religion, or any religion, to take part in that holiday joy.

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