Advent Sharing Calendar
The Advent Sharing Calendar was created to help us to be mindful of those in need during the holiday season. Given the state of the economy, many of those who have contributed to help others in previous years may find themselves unable to meet the needs of their own families this holiday season.
It’s time to consider the source. Supporting local businesses not only helps local commerce, it builds resilient communities, and ultimately stable national economies. Locally produced goods and services don’t have to travel thousands of miles, which reduces their environmental footprint. Environmental standards are much higher in Canada than they are in many of the countries that we import cheap consumer goods from. With all that in mind, this year’s Advent Sharing Calendar will focus on shopping locally and supporting fair trade.
To begin, create an Advent Sharing box. Take a small box or coffee can, put a slot in the lid, and then wrap the container in recycled Christmas paper. Monetary gifts are added every day until the Epiphany (January 6th). Gifts should be added as follows:
December 1st – December 1 to 7 is Buy Local Week. For more information, visit greenenterprise.net or put a loonie in the box.
December 2nd – Check out www.buycanadianfirst.ca for great Canadian gift ideas or put a loonie in the box!
December 3rd – In addition to the extra dollars you put in your tank, add five dollars if you drive to another town to visit a big box store in another community.
December 4th – Deduct five dollars if you buy from a local artisan or jewelry store.
December 5th – Add five dollars if you have your company Christmas party at a chain restaurant. Deduct five dollars if you eat at a locally owned restaurant.
December 6th - Add 10 cents for every plastic bag you brought home after Christmas shopping. Deduct a loonie if you took your own!
December 7th – Add a loonie if you don’t buy fair trade coffee.
December 8th – Add a loonie if you don’t know what fair trade is, and then go to www.fairtrade.net to find out.
December 9th – Add 10 cents for every produce item you bought this week that was imported from the US.
December 10th - Add 25 cents for every produce item you bought this week that was imported from Asia.
December 11th - Drop in a loonie every time you see a Salvation Army kettle, and congratulate yourself for supporting local charities.
December 12th – Add a loonie if you visited a dollar store this week.
December 13th – Add a loonie for every big box store you visited today. Subtract a twonie if you can call your local storeowner by name.
December 14th – Read the label. Find out where your Christmas lights were actually made. Buy Canadian or contribute a loonie for every string that isn’t.
December 15th – Add a loonie for every disposable or single use product you purchased as a stocking stuffer.
December 16th – Add 25 cents for every gift packaged with Styrofoam.
December 17th – Add 10 cents for every present that you wrap with previously unused paper. The comic section makes colorful gift wrap for kids of all ages.
December 18th – If you purchased an imported item because it was cheaper than a Canadian-made equivalent, put the difference in the box – plus a loonie.
December 19th – Deduct a twonie for every gift purchased from a local winery, fruit producer or chocolatier.
December 20th – Add five dollars if you shopped at a Big Box electronics store. If you patronized a locally owner-operated store, put the five bucks back in your wallet.
December 21st – On this the darkest night of the year, remember to bring light to a needy child and donate a new toy to your local toy drive.
December 22nd – Add ten dollars if you haven’t contributed to your local food bank. Better yet, make a donation the next time you’re out shopping. Food banks are in desperate need this time of year. Every donation helps.
December 23rd – Add 25 cents for every stocking stuffer that was made in China.
December 24th –When the stockings have been hung by the chimney with care, add 10 cents for every gift under the tree. If all your gifts are locally produced items, congratulate yourself with a glass of Canadian cider or wine.
December 25th - If you don’t recycle Christmas wrappings and boxes, add a loonie.
December 26th – If you don’t compost the remains of Christmas dinner, add a twonie. Deduct a twonie if you did.
December 27th – If you braved the Boxing Week sales, add five dollars. If you drove alone to the mall, add a twonie.
December 28th – Add a loonie for every item purchased in the Boxing Day sales that wasn’t made in Canada.
December 29th – Add a loonie for every fast food restaurant you visit over the holidays.
December 30th - Add 25 cents for every bottle of imported wine you purchased over the holidays. Purchasing VQA Ontario wine puts as much as 4 to 6 times more money back into the local economy than an imported wine.
December 31st – Add 5 cents for every disposable glass, plate and napkin you use at your New Year’s Eve party.
January 1st – Resolve to think before you buy. Think locally and buy locally. It makes a difference.
January 2nd – Sit down with your family and plan how your weekly purchases can support local business in 2009.
January 3rd – Whenever possible, shop locally. The San Francisco Retail Diversity Study found that diverting just 10 percent of purchases from national chain stores to locally owned businesses would create 1,300 new jobs in the city and yield nearly $200 million in incremental economic activity annually.
January 4th - Make a list of large ticket items you plan to buy in 2009 and commit to buying goods made in Canada. For example, according to the Canadian Auto Workers, every job in the auto industry creates an additional 7.5 jobs in related sectors.
January 5th – Sit down with your family and decide where you would like to send the contents of your Advent Sharing box.
January 6th- (The Epiphany) – Send a cheque to the Canadian charity of your choice or support your local business development association.