A number is never just a number: Season of giving

• 55

Percentage of Canadians who plan to pay straight cash when gift buying this holiday season. (Source

• 37

Percentage of Canadians who plan to put their gift purchases on their credit card. (Source

• $640

The average amount Canadians plan to spend on gifts this year, up from $624 last year. (Source

• $429

How much, on average, Canadians went over budget on gift giving last year. (Source

• 85,000

Number of registered charities in Canada. Most rely on charitable donations, which have reached a 30-year low in Canada. (Source

• 23.1

Percentage of Canadians who claimed a tax deduction for charitable giving in 2009. (Source

• Nearly $1 billion

The drop in Canadian charitable giving in a two-year period, 2007-09. (Source

• 51

Percentage of Canadians who would give to charity if they had better finances. (Source

• 61

Percentage of Canadians who say hunger and food charities are in greater need, yet food bank donations have declined in Vancouver and Toronto. (Sources here, here and here

• 67

Percentage of Canadians 55 and older who reported giving a cash charitable donation in 2010, compared to 48 per cent of Canadians 18 to 34 who donate. (Source

• 25

Percentage of end-of-year charitable giving to national non-profit organizations. (Source

• 12,000

Number of members who donated to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives last year. Give the gift of reason this season from the CCPA.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative's Trish Hennessy has long been a fan of Harper Magazine's one-page list of eye-popping statistics, Harper's Index. Instead of wishing for a Canadian version to magically appear, she's created her own index -- a monthly listing of numbers about Canada and its place in the world. Hennessy's Index -- A number is never just a number -- comes out on the first of each month.

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