Last week, I wrote about how we can reduce our stress during the holiday season, a need that was once again underscored by the discount shopping (and attendant madness) brought to us by Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But as we try to shift from anxiety to generosity, reflection, and celebration, it's also a time to widen the circle of our concern and do what we can to give back to those who face challenges much bigger than stress.
So I'm delighted that HuffPost is among more than 2,000 partner organizations supporting the first-ever Giving Tuesday, celebrating one of our nation's proudest traditions -- generosity. It's built around the idea that after two days set aside for getting deals, it's worthwhile to have a day devoted to giving back. That might mean participating in a food drive, or volunteering your time, making a special donation to a cause that matters to you, reaching out to those in need, or writing a letter to the soldiers serving our country overseas.
A variety of organizations, including the 92nd Street Y and the UN Foundation, have mobilized in creative ways to give back, from those providing relief to victims of Hurricane Sandy to a group of pilots raising funds for Able Flight, an organization that helps people with disabilities learn to fly.
At HuffPost, we're using the month of November to tell the stories of those who are giving, and to spotlight ways you can give back. Our lineup of giving-related bloggers include Bread for the World president David Beckmann on how giving can mitigate the devastating effects of malnutrition, Demetria Arvanitis on the enduring American spirit of volunteerism, Heifer International president Pierre Ferrari on how to make charity a part of your holiday celebration, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria president Deborah Derrick on the power of public-private partnerships to fight disease, and University of North Texas professor Miriam Ezzani on how her parents' struggles inspired her literacy volunteer work.
Giving Tuesday is about giving back to those in need using all the tools at our disposal, including social media -- a powerful way to share your gift with even more people while inspiring others to give. One way to do this is by taking a photo or Instagram of yourself holding a note that says what you're giving and who you're giving to, along with the hashtag #GivingTuesday.
On Saturday, we'll be spotlighting a different cause: World AIDS Day, which has been held every year since 1988 to bring people together to unite in the fight against HIV, support the more than 33 million people living with the disease, and commemorate the lives of those who have died from it. It's a cause we at HuffPost have been supporting through The Big Push campaign, dedicated to a future where no child is born with HIV, no one dies of malaria and the spread of tuberculosis is stopped.
This week, in support of World AIDS Day, we'll be featuring posts from those who are giving their time, energy and passion to the cause, beginning tomorrow with (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan on the power of World AIDS Day to focus on the tremendous progress that has been made in the fight against the disease.
So, now that the holidays are here, please take a moment to think about the ways you can give back and brighten the season for others. And as always, use the comments section to let us know what you think.
Follow Arianna Huffington on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ariannahuff