Each day in December people all over Manitoba are opening a little cardboard flap to pry out a chocolate, toy or even wine depending on the advent calendar they have. But a new trend has started around the world and is picking up steam in Manitoba — Advent of Gratitude.
Winnipeg teacher Katherine Abra has been taking part and explained the 24-day challenge is about shifting the focus of the advent season from consumption to gratitude.
"As a Christian … advent is an important season to me," she said on CBC Radio's Weekend Morning Show.
"To me, there is so much consumption around Christmas these days and it jumped out to me to be a way to refocus on the specialness of this season beyond what you get out of it."
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Each day there is a suggestion of what people should be grateful for and a small monetary gift that will grow into a donation, made to any charity, at the end of the season.
For example, Dec. 1 had a suggestion to pay $0.25 for each woman in your family who graduated from high school.
"As a feminist and also as a teacher that one really stood out to me as one I appreciated and what got my attention with this particular advent calendar," Abra said, adding it made her remember that not all women around the world are able to get an education.
"Education is so important and we don't often think about that."
Other days suggest opening the pantry and if there's more food than you can eat in two days, paying $2, or counting how many televisions there are in the home and paying $1 for each — plus an extra $1 if you have Netflix.
Abra said it's been really helpful in recognizing how grateful she is for the things and people in her life.
Her three-year-old son is also taking part, and Abra said it's an important way to teach him about gratitude.
At the end of the advent season, Abra said her family is planning to donate their gratitude dollars to the Bell Tower Community Café at Westminster United Church.
"I just hope everyone refocuses in on really what is this season about. I have discovered as an adult that I way more enjoy giving gifts than receiving them," she said.