TORONTO -- It’s an advent calendar, but there’s no chocolate waiting behind the doors. Instead, the sweet surprise is learning what charity is benefitting that day.

“When you open one calendar door you will see exactly the effect that your donation for that day will have,” says Ute Shaw, who launched the Canadian edition of the 24 Good Deeds Calendar. “One day, you may vaccinate a child in Africa. The next day, you may plant a tree in Uganda.”

The 24 Good Deeds Calendar was first created in 2011 by German siblings. Ute received one of the calendars as a gift last year.

“I saw it, and realized that this only exists in Europe,” she tells CTV News Toronto. “So I was wondering, how about Canada!”

The concept is simple. Just like an advent calendar containing treats or toys, a door is opened on each day in December leading up to Christmas. Inside, details are shared of which social or environmental project is being helped that day as a result of the calendar’s purchase.


“24 good deeds on 24 days and all that you have to donate is 24 dollars,” Shaw explains. “I am excited because I think it looks pretty special and of all the projects in there they are all very deserving causes and charities.”

Shaw’s efforts to create the first Canadian edition of the calendar came to fruition in October. This year, 11 Canadian charities, along with 13 international charities, will benefit.

One those included in the calendar is Toronto-based Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food recovery organizations.

“We’re pretty excited to be getting involved with this calendar,” says Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest. “On the 12, you’ll actually see the impact of your spend in that moment of how many people we can support with the wonderful purchase of this advent calendar.”

Shaw says she’s happy to play a role in helping charities, especially this year with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a really a tough year for them,” she says. “I really hope that very many people want to help the world become a better place, 24 good deeds at a time.”

“It’s absolutely brilliant,” adds Nikkel about the advent calendar. “This teaches such important message to children, to families. It’s a great idea to bond around giving.” 

You can find out more about 24 Good Deeds here.