If we all signed up to one little act of kindness on the same day, imagine what a difference it could make.
Well, thanks to a new campaign by the Scottish Government, we don’t have to imagine the outcome.
For that dream will become a reality on November 30, with people across the country being asked to commit to doing something nice for someone else on St Andrew’s Day.
The Maake Someone’s Day initiative aims to celebrate our generous nature.
On Saturday, December 1, we’re also being invited to take part in the first Fair Saturday here, a celebraion of art and culture while raising funds and awareness for charities.
Founded in Spain in 2014 to combat Black Friday’s commercialism, it is now a global movement.
But Scotland is the first nation to sign up as a whole.
Ben Macpherson, Minister for Europe, Migration and International Development, was delighted to launch the initiative.
He said: “This St Andrew’s Day presents an inspiring opportunity for people in Scotland, in all our diversity, to celebrate the inclusive, outward-looking and compassionate spirit of our nation – by helping others and showing our generosity.
“We can all show the best of what it means to be Scottish by each doing something small to #MakeSomeonesDay.
“If each of us does something kind for someone else, together we can make a hugely positive impact.
“We wanted our national day to act as a focal point to showcase the Scots’ generous spirit and nature.
“This is not about how much you can spend; it’s about little acts of kindness that mean so much more.
“We’re asking people to make time for elderly neighbours, donate goods to charity shops, hold a charity bake sale at work, volunteer time to a good cause or gift a meal or hot drink to a homeless person.
“Everyone can get involved – all you have to do is make someone’s day.”
The initiative is tied in with Fair Saturday which next year will take place on St Andrew’s Day itself.
Ben added: “We’re linking in with the event this year so we can build up to having a major celebration in 2019.
“Fair Saturday gives communities across the country a chance, through arts and culture, to celebrate what it means to be Scottish in the 21st century.
“We live in a multiculural and diverse society and we want to celebrate that.
“Fair Saturday offers the perfect platform to do that.”
First staged in Bilbao in 2014, the Fair Saturday movement is spearheaded by social entrepreneur Jordi Albareda.
It has since been adopted by Malaga, Santander and Huelva in Spain, Milan and Pisa in Italy, Lima in Peru and Bristol in England.
However, Scotland is the first nation to sign up.
Jordi said: “When we began the Fair Saturday movement, we wanted countries all over the world to embrace its ideals of creating social impact through arts and culture.
“It is fitting that Scotland is hosting the first nationwide Fair Saturday festival outside of Spain.
“Scotland is a nation that focuses on diversity, multiculturalism, social empathy, kindness and, of course, arts and culture.
“So it made complete sense for us to deliver the movement here. It is the most vibrant case of Fair Saturday to date.
“In a time of building walls, we want to build bridges to connect people, cities, communities and cultures.
“Millions of people working together surely must be stronger than some irresponsible global leaders.
“We hope the Scottish people will mobilise behind our aim of creating a better future for all.”
Some 76 events have already been organised in 25 cities and towns across Scotland on Fair Saturday, December 1.
And the movement will also be celebrated in more than 100 locations globally.
Jordi said: “More than 600 cultural events with a social impact will be taking place around the world.
“Could you imagine the day when millions of people take part? It would send such a powerful message – that’s our aim for the future.”
Fair Saturday aims to make people reflect on how arts and culture and social causes contribute to society.
So all its events support a social cause of their choice in one of three ways:
By recognising the charity’s work;
By allowing the charity to spread its message to a wider audience;
By contributing to the charity’s work via ticket sales and donations.
November 30 and December 1 in Scotland will also serve as a perfect antidote to Black Friday’s commercialism, which initially prompted Fair Saturday’s launch.
Jordi added: “We connected with the Scottish Government thanks to our British Council in Bilbao in late 2016 and are delighted to launch our first Fair Saturday here this year.
“We believe it is one of the best nations in the world in which to start the journey.
“Scotland’s National Day is all about sharing, giving and being kind. That tells you a lot about its people.”
Visit www.scotland.org/events/st-andrews-day/makesomeonesday to find out more or share your good deed at #MakeSomeonesDay.
Fair fight back against Black Friday
Fair Saturday aims to mobilise people through social empathy rather than commercialisim – being staged the day after Black Friday to make that point.
Jordi Albareda, its founder, convinced 20 choirs to perform in Bilbao, Spain, on November 29, 2014, in different locations around the city at the same time.
The result was incredible; more than 8000 people attended, raising more than 8000 Euros for social causes.
Since then, the movement has continued to grow, with more cities, cultural and social organisations and supporters joining along the way.
Jordi said: “We are living in a material world. It prevails over humanity.
“The strong desire of having has taken over from the profound aspiration of being. But living to the fullest is mostly about love.
“In the last hours of our lives we won’t remember the things we owned but rather the people we loved.
“Black Friday is one of the most irrational days of the year; strong proof of a growing materialist system, based on the short term and unsustainable.
“We do not pretend to fight against Black Friday but we do offer a positive alternative.
“It’s all about culture before materialism. Social empathy before greed.
“It’s a day to be better following a day to have more.”
As for the future, Jordi hopes to target one of the world’s largest commercial markets – America.
He added: “We are already taking the first steps to develop the movement in the USA in 2019 and we’re expecting more European cities to get involved too.
“Black Friday may be popular but surely Fair Saturday makes more sense.”
To support Fair Saturday and find out about events in your area, visit the website at https://app.fairsaturday.org.