Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of December 1, 2008
Advent Sharing Calendar supports local community
By SUZANNE ELSTON
The Advent Sharing Calendar was created to help us 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.
Itís 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 donít have to travel thousands of miles, thus reducing their environmental footprint.
Environmental standards are much higher in Canada than in many of the countries that we import cheap consumer goods from. So this yearís Advent Sharing Calendar will focus on shopping locally and supporting fair trade.
Craft the box
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 Epiphany (Jan. 6). Gifts should be added as follows:
Dec. 1: Dec. 1 to 7 is Buy Local Week. For more information, visit www.buycanadianfirst.ca or put a loonie in the box.
Dec. 2: Check out www.buycanadianfirst.ca for great Canadian gift ideas or put a loonie in the box.
Dec. 3: In addition to the extra dollars you put in your tank, add $5 if you drive to another town to visit a big box store in another community.
Dec. 4: Deduct $5 if you buy from a local artisan or jewelry store.
Dec. 5: Add $5 if you have your company Christmas party at a chain restaurant. Deduct $5 if you eat at a locally-owned restaurant.
Dec. 6: Add 10 cents for every plastic bag you brought home after Christmas shopping. Deduct a loonie if you took your own.
Dec. 7: Add a loonie if you donít buy fair trade coffee.
Bone up on fair trade
Dec. 8: Add a loonie if you donít know what fair trade is and then go to www.fairtrade.net to find out.
Dec. 9: Add 10 cents for every produce item you bought this week that was imported from the U.S.
Dec. 10: Add 25 cents for every produce item you bought this week that was imported from Asia.
Dec. 11: Drop in a loonie every time you see a Salvation Army kettle, and congratulate yourself for supporting local charities.
Dec. 12: Add a loonie if you visited a dollar store this week.
Dec. 13: Add a loonie for every big box store you visited today. Subtract a toonie if you can call your local storeowner by name.
Dec. 14: Read the label. Find out where your Christmas lights were actually made. Buy Canadian or contribute a loonie for every string that isnít.
Dec. 15: Add a loonie for every disposable or single use product you purchased as a stocking stuffer.
Dec. 16: Add 25 cents for every gift packaged with Styrofoam.
Dec. 17: Add 10 cents for every present that you wrap with previously unused paper.
The comic section makes colourful gift wrap for kids of all ages.
Dec. 18: If you purchased an imported item because it was cheaper than a Canadian-made equivalent, put the difference in the box Ė plus a loonie.
Dec. 19: Deduct a toonie for every gift purchased from a local winery, fruit producer or chocolatier.
Dec. 20: Add $5 if you shopped at a big box electronics store. If you patronized a locally owner-operated store, put the $5 back in your wallet.
Dec. 21: 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.
Give to the food bank
Dec. 22: Add $10 if you havenít contributed to your local food bank. Better yet, make a donation the next time youíre out shopping. Food banks are in desperate need this time of year. Every donation helps.
Dec. 23: Add 25 cents for every stocking stuffer that was made in China.
Dec. 24: 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.
Dec. 25: If you donít recycle Christmas wrappings and boxes, add a loonie.
Dec. 26: If you donít compost the remains of Christmas dinner, add a toonie. Deduct a toonie if you did.
Dec. 27: If you braved the Boxing Week sales, add $5. If you drove alone to the mall, add a toonie.
Dec. 28: Add a loonie for every item purchased in the Boxing Day sales that wasnít made in Canada.
Dec. 29: Add a loonie for every fast food restaurant you visit over the holidays.
Dec. 30: Add 25 cents for every bottle of imported wine you purchased over the holidays. Purchasing Ontario wine puts as much as four to six times more money back into the local economy than an imported wine.
Dec. 31: Add five cents for every disposable glass, plate and napkin you use at your New Yearís Eve party.
Jan. 1: Resolve to think before you buy. Think locally and buy locally. It makes a difference.
Jan. 2: Sit down with your family and plan how your weekly purchases can support local business in 2009.
Jan. 3: Whenever possible, shop locally. The San Francisco Retail Diversity Study found that diverting just 10 per cent 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.
Buy Canadian, buy local
Jan. 4: Make a list of large ticket items you plan to buy in 2009 and commit to buying goods made in Canada. According to the Canadian Auto Workers, every job in the auto industry creates an additional 7.5 jobs in related sectors.
Jan. 5: Sit down with your family and decide where you would like to send the contents of your Advent Sharing box.
Jan. 6: Send a cheque to a Canadian charity of your choice or support your local business development association.
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