Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 26, 2007
Share your Advent gifts with your earth
Plunk those toonies and loonies into your Sharing Tim by following the calendar's direction
By SUZANNE ELSTON
As Advent approaches, we begin to dust off those traditions that link one Christmas to another like a string of lights on a tree.
The Advent Sharing calendar was originally created to help us be mindful of those in need during this season of such great excess.
This year, more than ever, we need to remember that our planet is in great need, and that the very act of celebrating the holidays can dramatically impact our already stressed ecosystem.
As a result, this year's Advent Sharing Calendar will focus on reducing our energy consumption, recycling more and buying less.
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 throughout Advent and the 12 days of Christmas, ending with Epiphany (this year, Jan. 6).
Gifts should be added as follows:
Dec. 2 (First Sunday of Advent) - If your home was untouched by severe weather this year, put a loonie in your box.
Dec. 3 - If you haven't prepared an emergency kit for your family, add a toonie and then visit www.getprepared.ca to find out how".
Dec. 4 - If you don't know why you need an emergency kit, add another loonie and them visit www.cleanairpartnership.org to find out about resilient cities.
Dec. 5 - If you drive a full-sized SUV or van, add $ 5. If you drive a six-cylinder vehicle, add a loonie. If you have a fuel-efficient four-cylinder vehicle or hybrid car, pat yourself on the back.
Dec. 6 - If you don't use a programmable thermostat, add 50 cents. You'll need to hang onto the rest of your cash to pay for your heating bill.
Dec. 7 - Add 50 cents for every string of Christmas lights on your house. Add 25 cents for every floodlight. Subtract 25 cents for every string of LED Christmas lights that you use, both inside and out.
Dec. 8 - Add five cents for every year of your life untouched by natural disasters.
Dec. 9 - Add 25 cents for every produce item you bought this week that was imported from Asia. And then ask yourself why.
Dec. 10 - Add a loonie if you visited a dollar store this week.
Dec. 11 - Add 50 cents if you haven't had your car tuned up in the last six months. A properly tuned engine can improve fuel efficiency by 10 per cent.
Dec. 12 - Add a toonie if you drive alone to work. Subtract a loonie if you take public transit.
Dec. 13 - If you haven't checked your tire pressure lately, add another 50 cents. Properly inflated tires not only improve fuel efficiency by six to eight per cent, but can also improve the life expectancy of your tires by 30 per cent, which means fewer tires in the landfill.
Dec. 14 - Add a loonie for every gift purchased that requires electricity to operate. (This includes battery operated toys and games.) Subtract a loonie for every energy or water efficient gift that you purchase.
Dec. 15 - Add a loonie for every disposable or single use product you purchased as a stocking stuffer.
Dec. 16 - Add a loonie for every degree that your daytime thermostat is set above 20 degrees C.
Dec. 17 - Add a loonie for every degree that your nighttime thermostat is set above 17 degrees C.
Dec. 18 - Add a loonie every time that you leave your car idling while parked.
Dec. 19 - Add $5 if you don't recycle. The energy saved by recycling a single aluminum can can generate enough power to run a television for two hours.
Dec. 20 - Add a dollar if you buy your holiday beer in cans, not refillable bottles.
Dec. 21 - On this, the darkest day of the year, add two cents for every light bulb inside your house.
Dec. 22 - When visiting friends and family, slow down! Add 10 cents for every km/h you drive above the speed limit.
Dec. 23 - If you take a drive around the neighbourhood to see the Christmas lights, add $ 5. Walking is better for you and gives you time to actually enjoy the lights.
Dec. 24 - On this most magical of nights, add a toonie if you leave your Christmas lights on after bedtime.
Dec. 25 - If you don't recycle Christmas wrappings and boxes, add a loonie.
Dec. 26 - If you don't compost the remains of Christmas dinner, add a toonie.
Dec. 27 - If you braved the Boxing Week sales, add $5. If you drove alone to the mall, add another $5.
Dec. 28 - Add a loonie for every item of clothing you purchased in the Boxing Day sales that has to be dry-cleaned.
Dec. 29 - Add 50 cents for every load of laundry that you don't wash in cold water.
Dec. 30 - Add a loonie for every showerhead in your home that isn't low-flow.
Dec. 31 - Add five cents for every disposable glass, plate and napkin you use at your New Year's Eve party.
Jan. 1 - Resolve to start a carpool at work. For more information, visit www.smartcommute.ca.
Jan. 2 - Resolve to use less energy this year. Visit www.weconserve.ca and take the pledge.
Jan. 4 - Make a commitment and a budget to replace energy inefficient appliances.
Jan. 5 - Sit down with your family and decide where you would like to send the contents of your Advent Sharing box.
Jan. 6 (Epiphany) - Send a cheque to the charity of your choice.
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