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I found this Radical (my word) Advent Calendar on the Toronto Sun. Yay, you, Suzanne Elston, for writing this.

It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes, by a remarkable Presbyterian priest/author named Frederick Buechner:

“Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It’s the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too. ”

‘Nuff Said. Read it for yourself.


Photo Credit: StarryNight1

Set up a piggy bank.  During Advent, each day you will contribute to the piggy bank per below.  At the end of advent, choose a not-for-profit to which you will use the savings to write a cheque.


1: For every finger and toe your children have — intact and unblemished by landmines — add 5 cents. Landmines have killed or injured more than 70,000 Afghans in the past two decades.

2: For every female in your family who is free to go to school, pursue a career, or walk openly in the street, add 50 cents.

3: Add 10c for every time you’ve voted in a democratically held election.

4: Add $1 if your drinking water is safe. An estimated 5 million people die every year from illnesses caused by drinking poor quality water. 1.1 billion people lack access to safe water.

5: Add 25 cents for every shower or bath taken by members of your family today. Two-and-a-half billion people lack access to water for sanitation.

6: Add $1 for everyone you know with HIV/AIDS. 270,000 children die of AIDS every year.

7: Add 50c if you can name your family doctor. Add $1 if you’ve paid a visit to his or her office this year.

8: Add 5c for every year of your life untouched by civil war or conflict.

9: If you live above sea level, add $1. The World Health Organization estimates that 150,000 people die every year from drowning in low-lying coastal areas.

10: If you have flood insurance, put a loonie in the box and count yourself lucky.

11: Add 25c for every toy gun in your house (don’t forget video games).

12: Add 25c for every time you’ve called 911.

13: If you’ve had a permanent address for more than six months, add 50c. If you own your own home, add $1.

14: If you have open access to information through newspapers, the Internet, radio or TV, add $1.

15: Add 50c if you’ve ever written a letter to the editor. Add $ 1 if it was published.

16: Add 1c for every book that you own. If you have more than 100 books, add $2.

17: Add 50c for anyone in your family or circle of friends that serves as a member of the armed forces, police, fire or ambulance services. Now call them up and say thank you.

18: Add 50c for every one of your children who attends a publicly funded school. An estimated one billion adults are illiterate. Two-thirds of them are women.

19: Add $1 if you’ve ever sought legal council.’

20: Add $1 if you’ve ever been called for jury duty. Add $2 if you’ve been privileged enough to serve.

21: On this, the darkest day of the year, add 2c for every light bulb in your house. Don’t forget your Christmas lights!

22: If you’re free to visit with friends and family over the holidays, add $1.

23: Add $1 if you’ve sung Christmas carols this season. Add $2 if you sang them in public.

24: When the stockings have been hung by the chimney with care, add 25c for every gift under the tree.

25: If your family celebrates Christmas Day with a sumptuous feast, add $5.

26: If you didn’t recycle Christmas wrappings and boxes, add $1.

27: Add $1 if you had fast food today. One billion people suffer from obesity in the developed world. In the developing world, one billion people are starving.

28: If you have a drug plan, add $1.

29: If you have a pension plan, add $2.

30: If you have ever collected employment insurance or disability benefits, add $2.

31: Add $5 if you attend or host a New Year’s Eve party.


1: Add 10c for everyone you called to say “Happy New Year!”

2: Add a loonie for every member of your family who received a flu shot this year.

3: Add 50c for every member of your family who has lived past 70 years of age. In Zambia, life expectancy dropped from 44 to 33 years between 1990 and 2000.

4: Consider how fortunate you are. And then consider that 50% of the world’s children live in poverty.

5: Sit down with your family and decide where you would like to send the contents of your Advent Sharing box. Suggestions include UNICEF and Oxfam.

6: (The Epiphany) — Add up the contents of your box and then send a cheque to the charity of your choice.

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About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com

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