November 28, 2010; Source: Washington Post | Hopefully people will put down the Christmas shopping ads and newspaper circulars long enough to consider a novel idea from personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary. Writing in the Washington Post, Singletary suggests that people make “searching for and giving to a good local charity” a part of America’s Black Friday ritual. She says she’s not saying people have to “stop their holiday shopping madness. That would be simply un-American. The unfortunate truth is our economy thrives on our wasteful consumption. But how much better could this season be if more people diverted some of the money budgeted for holiday presents . . . to nonprofit and charitable organizations?” Singletary adds that people who can find the time to get up to visit malls and shopping centers in the “wee hours of the morning” should be able make an effort to “find and financially support a charity that is changing people’s lives.” Just think, too, this is one gift you won’t have to worry about being returned to the store.—Bruce Trachtenberg