Hennen: Celebrating our region's giving spirit this holiday season

Columnist Scott Hennen takes time to be thankful for the local community's generosity.

Scott Hennen.jpg
Columnist Scott Hennen
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There is a "holiday" for almost every day.

Thanksgiving used to be it's own holiday. Family gatherings and great meals were enough for us to savor. But somewhere along the way "Black Friday", "Small Business Saturday", "Cyber Monday" and "Giving Tuesday" became a thing in the days after Thanksgiving.

Black Friday is of course that holiday for shopaholics to wait in long lines to hunt for money-saving Christmas presents. The "black" signifies the profit that retailers net from the biggest shopping day of the year.

It seems Small Business Saturday is a creation of the credit card company American Express. It's good marketing on their part. They play nice with businesses who accept their card by encouraging holiday shopping. I shopped at some local businesses on Saturday, but only because I like small businesses. I didn't need American Express to "encourage" me to shop at a small business.

Then comes Cyber Monday. Are you keeping track of all of these "holidays"? This is getting silly. It seems Cyber Monday is a marketing term for e-commerce transactions on the Monday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It was created by retailers to encourage people to shop online. You don't say?


So far, all these "holidays" were invented by retailers or companies hoping to separate you from your money. I'm not a big fan of cyber or online shopping because it hurts local businesses. If we don't support local businesses, we'll all wake up one day and find they don't exist anymore. Imagine the business gone and the taxes they pay for roads and bridges, the contributions they make to little league teams and the people that work there.

The last of the Thanksgiving-related "holidays" cluster is "Giving Tuesday." Other than Thanksgiving itself, this one should give us all a great feeling of generosity. It even has an official hashtag for added traction with social media encouragement. So to be proper, we shall refer to the big day as "#GivingTuesday." It's been around since 2012. #GivingTuesday is global and its website describes it as a "movement that unleashes the power of radical generosity around the world."

I asked an expert on giving, Pat Traynor, executive director of the Dakota Medical Foundation and the Impact Foundation, for his thoughts on #GivingTuesday. He said, "This is a great time of year in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it's a time to really reflect on all of our blessings. And so we love all these giving days. We're partial, of course, to Giving Hearts Day, but this day also brings out the best in people. And so for that we celebrate."

Giving Hearts Day is the gold standard of giving in North Dakota. It began in 2008 and has raised over $138 million benefiting over 550 charities.

Traynor says we live among great givers. "We live in the most generous region on the planet, and these activities bring out the best in others. People believe in helping their neighbors. And these charities are a way to manifest that love of neighbor."

So with Thanksgiving done, we look forward to Giving Hearts Day.

Scott Hennen hosts the statewide radio program “What’s On Your Mind?” On AM 1100 “The Flag”, AM 1090 KTGO “The Flag” and AM 1460 KLTC. Email him at

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.


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Opinion by Scott Hennen
Scott Hennen hosts the statewide radio program “What’s On Your Mind?” On AM 1100 “The Flag”, KFYR AM 550, AM 1090 KTGO “The Flag” and AM 1460 KLTC. Email him at

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