An Advent Calendar of Gratitude
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An Advent Calendar of Gratitude

Meet Heather and Chris Stockard, our guest authors. Heather, Chris, and I have known each other for years from the Mexican sailing community. Heather is a real Pack-n-Go Girl, having spent years cruising the west coast of North and South America. If you’re curious about living aboard a sailboat, Heather has a great cookbook, A Cruising Cook’s Guide to Mexico, that gives you the lowdown on provisioning on the west coast of Mexico and eating well. Her Advent of Gratitude calendar below is one to share! We realize these are challenging times for so many people and hope that even if these are difficult times for you that you still have places in your heart for gratitude.

Every December, I participate in An Advent of Gratitude that reminds me of all I have to be grateful for. It usually includes things like number of pairs of shoes, and how many TVs are in the house, but I decided I needed a special version to address the many challenges of 2020. If you’d like to play along, feel free to print or share. If you’d like to see the original versions of the Advent calendar, check out An Advent of Gratitude on Facebook. But ultimately, who needs Facebook to spread gratitude? Share the idea with your friends and family. We hope your children will be inspired to grow their own habit of being grateful.

An Advent of Gratitude 2020

Most advent calendars give a small gift each day leading up to Christmas. This calendar reminds us of all the things we have to be grateful for, even in this challenging year. Each daily reminder suggests a small monetary amount. At the end of this challenge, add up your dollar amounts and make a donation to the charity of your choice, preferably something local that helps those less fortunate than you.

Day 1:    If you received stimulus aid, pay $2. If you didn’t receive aid because you didn’t need it, pay $5.

Day 2:    Count the number of spare rolls of toilet paper in your house. Pay 10 cents per roll.

Day 4:    If you are working from home, do you have a dedicated work space? If so, pay $3.

Day 5:    Count every streaming service you subscribe to. Pay 50 cents each; 10 or more pay $5.

Day 6:    If you were able to safely cast a vote for the political candidate of your choice, pay $2. If your preferred candidate was elected, add an additional $1.

Day 7:    How many times have you been able to eat out (not takeout) in a restaurant in the last 6 months? Pay 50 cents each. 10 or more, pay $5.

Day 8:    If none of your loved ones died or were hospitalized for COVID, count your blessings and pay $5. If you’ve had the sadness of losing someone to COVID, our hearts go out to you.

Day 9:    If you have been able to keep current with your mortgage or rent all year, pay $3.

Day 10: Do you have easy access to good health care? Pay $2.

Day 11: Were you able to safely share Thanksgiving with family or friends–even if it was on Zoom? $2.

Day 12: If you work outside the home, did you have access to quality childcare? $2.

Day 13: Over the past six months, have you been able to maintain a somewhat normal fitness routine? Pay $2.

Day 14: Were you able to support a favorite cause, either financially or by other means? $2.

Day 15: Count the number of packages of beans and pasta in your cupboards. Pay 10 cents per package.

Day 16: In the last six months have you had a personal care appointment of any type (massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, etc.)? Pay $3.

Day 17: If you did NOT have to deal with work and distance-learning kids at the same time, pay $3. If you did, have a calming cup of tea and pat yourself on the back.

Day 18: If your parents are still alive, how many times have you been able to visit them in the last six months? 50 cents per visit; 10 or more visits $5.

Day 19: Have you been able to maintain your normal income without jeopardizing your health? Pay $3.

Day 20: Have you had a haircut in the last three months? If so, pay $3.

Day 21: Have you spent a night away from home for pleasure in the last six months? If so, pay $5.

Day 22: Count the friends you have been able to socialize with safely, in person or by zoom. Pay 25 cents each; 20 or more $5.

Day 23: Did you take advantage of this time at home to learn a new skill? Pat yourself on the back and pay $2.

Day 24: How many strands of Christmas lights do you have on your tree and in or outside your house? Pay 25 cents each.

DONATION TIME! These days, local charities are overwhelmed and greatly benefit from donations. If you have the luxury of giving, now is the season.

~Best, Heather & Chris