GREEN GIFTS by Michele Felder
Translated by Vicky Lau
I have been on a personal mission the last few Christmases. A mission to reduce the amount of Stuff that comes into our house. Especially Stuff that is opened, reviewed, and quickly forgotten. Just ask kids about the 5-letter word that their parents utter loudly as they tour their rooms or the playroom – STUFF!
說出的5字母單詞 – STUFF (東西)！
Last year, we took a vow of fewer gifts for the kids, which we implemented with some success. We also came up with an idea to give activity gift vouchers (quality time spent together) instead of ‘things’. At first we weren’t sure that giving a voucher for a “hike with mommy” or a “dinner at a restaurant of your choice” to the kids would quite measure up to the thrill of tearing off wrapping paper and seeing the latest electronic toy or plastic-encased item from Toys R Us, but surprisingly these gifts ended up being the most valued ones after the Christmas day ‘high’ had passed. The goal was one on one time between one parent and one child and it worked! They even asked for more.
個主意，送活動禮券（在一起度過具備品質的時間），而不是 ‘東西’ 。首先，我們不能肯定給予 ”
與媽媽遠足” 或 “上一家你選擇的餐館晚宴” 的優惠券會否討好孩子們達到相當程度於撕裂禮物包
So, as I was contemplating how to further reduce Stuff, it occurred to me that we could make all our gifts work harder. We could give environmentally-friendly gifts to family members who wouldn’t normally consider them. We could buy books or products that supported an environmental or education organization. We could donate money to a charity in their name. In fact, when I started thinking about it, I realized that there was a whole world of potential gifts that could support our environmental ideals of reducing consumption and waste, but also engaging and supporting us in our mission to improve the way we live.
So here are some ideas of ways to be more environmentally friendly during the holidays:
As a starting point, get the whole family to watch 作為一個起點，讓全家人觀看
” The Story of Stuff ” (物件的故事) http://www.storyofstuff.com/ - this is a great video that talks about where stuff comes from and what happens to it when we are done. Gets you thinking about whether we really need more.
Next, give gift vouchers for activities together, in other words, time not things!
Your kids or spouse will be surprised and perhaps a bit initially confused, but ultimately, we have loved the activities we did one on one and the kids even asked for more certificates! With our busy lives, we found that the 1:1 activities felt the most special since we rarely get that dedicated time. You can be quite creative with what the certificates look like: hand-written in a card, create your own ‘official’ template on the computer, download a standard template in your document program of choice. Here are some ideas for activities to do together:
hikes/walks, dinner at restaurant of their choice, sports together (bike ride, rugby, soccer, frisbee, kayak), Disneyland or Ocean Park or Museum visit; movie or Omnimax of their choice; nice picnic lunch with a book or board game; girls – manicure/pedicure voucher together with mom; spouse – date night or tickets to show.
欖球，足球，乒乓球，皮划艇），迪士尼樂園或海洋公園 或博物館參觀; 全天域電影 或讓對方選擇
的; 好的野餐, 午餐, 一本書 或棋盤, 遊戲等;
女孩 – 連同媽媽的 修指甲/修腳券 ;
配偶 – 夜間或日間的展覽門票。
Sponsor or donate to a cause of their choice. I have a mother-in-law who is dedicated to animals. This year I donated on her behalf to the SPCA. They will send her a certificate that says what she has ‘purchased’ (a dog bed and toys) and will also provide her a quarterly magazine to keep up with the local activities and issues. Most organizations now provide some kind of card or certificate, but make sure they send it to your gift-ee and thank them, rather than you. For global organizations, you may want to donate in the country where they live or for a particular program they would be interested in. Here are some ideas of organizations you can consider (environmental and other):
http://oxfamunwrapped.oxfam.org.hk/index.php?lang=eng ; http://www.greenpeace.org/international/
http://www.greenaction.org.hk/?cat=33 (Plantation foundation 植林基金會 )
RE-USE AND RECYCLE 再利用和再迴圈
If you do buy a physical gift, make your spending count by buying or sending products from recycled materials. There is an amazing selection of creative ideas appearing everywhere these days. Some can be bought locally, some are online. Do a search online for ‘recycled gifts’ and you’ll see all kinds of ideas.
In Hong Kong, look for 在香港，尋找
www.bezandoho.com (cool bags made from used colourful rice sacks (以色彩繽紛的大米用麻袋製造成別具特色的布袋)
www.patagonia.com/ (clothing made from recycled polyester) (服装由回收聚酯物料制成);
www.timberland.com/ (boots made with recycled rubber and organic components) (靴子由再生橡膠和有機物料組成);
http://aardbird.com/recycledfleece.aspx (products from recycled plastic) (回收塑膠產品);
A lot of different gifts can fall into this category, whether you consider clothing made from bamboo or organic cotton, organic food and wine, fair trade products, natural soaps and lotions, solar chargers for electronics. Really if we just think for a few minutes, we could choose to only buy products that are made responsibly and sustainably.
As a gift you could give a basket of organic fruit and cheese, select some lotions or soaps made naturally, or give a soft blanket made from bamboo.
In Hong Kong, look for these companies 在香港，尋找這些公司:
http://www.threesixtyhk.com/ (in Central)
Internationally or with local distribution, consider these products which have a foundational ethic of producing eco-friendly sustainable products:
Tom’s of Maine; Burt’s Bees ; Body Shop (fair trade products) ; beer home brewing products
For saving electricity consider a solar charger for the iPhone 為了節電請考慮太陽能充電器為 iPhone充電：
http://www.solararcadia.com/products/iphone-solar-charger-01 or other electronic devices 或其他電子設備：
or solar battery chargers from Kinoa-online ; or a nice basket of assorted CFLs 或從Kinoa網上購買太陽能電池充電器; 或一好籃子的各類CFLs?
Educating kids and adults about the environment is also a great way to use your spending power! There are a million books and magazines out there about the environment, but here is a small selection of ideas to consider.
Subscription to National Geographic’s Magazine on environmental living, The Green Guide 訂閱美國國家地
http://www.thegreenguide.com/ , paper version or digital 印刷版或電子版(save trees and reduce carbon from shipping 拯救樹木和減少來自航運的二氧化碳
Books for kids about saving the planet 給孩子們關於拯救地球的圖書
http://www.bogeybugz.com/book.html available at 可以在以下商店買到
Page One, Dymocks and Bookazine, as well as from Little Miss Green the Party Queen. 圖書資料
“Living Green in Hong Kong” — Catherine Touzard
“Hot, Flat, and Crowded” – Thomas Friedman
“Animal, vegetable, miracle” – Barbara Kingsolver
“The Economics of Climate Change:The Stern Review” – Nicholas Stern
“50 Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth” (updated and revised) – by John Javna, Sophie Javna, Jesse Javna
NEED MORE GIFT IDEAS 需要更多的禮物的想法
Check these sites 檢查這些網站：
Have some creative ideas we didn’t include 若有一些創造性的想法，而我們並未包括？
Please write back with suggestions 歡迎來信提供 ‘綠色的禮物主意’
Happy shopping and giving 祝您快樂購物與付出!