Green Gift Ideas

Posted on December 13th, 2007 in Green Gift Ideas by Kate Wade

Firstly, for having a green Christmas, Birthday, Anniversary etc we should all be shopping LESS! Cutting down on our consumerism and our need for ‘stuff’! After writing this a friend sent me this fantastic video. Gather your family and colleagues and click on this site and play this fabulous movie- it takes some time but it gives you the big picture and makes it very clear just what is happening!!

So, when you can, choose to buy less ‘things/products’ and more ‘events/services’. Even a gift of vouchers means the receiver will be more likely to purchase only what they want, plus the added advantage of buying things when sales are on after Christmas. Homemade gifts are the ultimate gift as they are made with the person’s actual time (rather than wallet) and is there a more precious commodity?

If you really have to get ‘things’ go for quality rather than quantity- things that last a life time or that can be passed down from generation to generation or passed onto another family. I found it astounding on that video that only 1% of products was still being used 6 months after purchase- that is horrific to me!! No more rubbishy market shopping for me- and I certainly have been guilty of it in the past!!

Second hand goods are even better- I guess that includes genuine antiques as well!

Edible items that will be consumed rather than cluttering up your house are another great gift. Fairly traded items and items made by communities that are in a great deal of poverty mean that your gifts are actually bought with a clear conscience rather than dodgy manufacturers subjecting their staff to poor working conditions/sweatshops. These communities usually make items from natural and recycled materials.

Here are some of the ideas we’ve collectively had for green gifts:

“I gave my husband a glass blowing class a while back. He hasn’t done it yet, so can’t say if it’s any good or not, but they look pretty professional. I hope he’ll do one soon. “ Sounds like great fun!!

The book by DB author Catherine Touzard “Going Green In Hong Kong” is a perfect gift for all your Hong Kong friends. $120 in Dymocks or you can buy through DB Green. Buy 3 for $300 from us and your Christmas shopping for friends is done! Call me 9810 9070 or 29875071.

Save a Bear from Animals Asia who rescue moon bears from bile farms in China. For $623 you receive a photo of your bear or you can pay for bear’s meals for anywhere from one week to a year. I think this could be the coolest gift for children. Imagine being able to go around saying I got a bear for Christmas!!

“reusable water bottle”

“gift voucher for kinoa or three sixty organic store” contact Gaelle at for your voucher requirement or visit the website . Three Sixty has vouchers in $50 and $100 amounts and both these shops would possibly introduce your friends to an alternative to PnS for their goods. (As an aside, the new organic shop next to PARKnSHOP is struggling I believe and has dropped their prices to compete with PnS. So if you went in when it first opened and found it too expensive please give it another shot. Not only this, but they have a policy to employ people from disadvantaged backgrounds so there is 2 good reasons to shop there first before entering into PnS.)

“ecoballs, soapnuts to start someone on their way to eco cleanliness” – again kinoa has these products

“Another gift idea … buy a pig or goat … on several charity websites (including you can make a donation which enables a village to purchase a pig or goat, whatever they want/need or is religiously relevant. Of course this is for milk (goat only don’t suppose pig’s milk’s too nice!!) and eating so if doing it on behalf of a child you have to tread carefully (though I have to say the children we’ve done it for seem to approach it in a very practical way)”

“Last year as gifts for friends and family, we made donations made in individual’s names to charitable organizations in Hong Kong. We picked our favourite 2 environmental, 2 animal related, and 2 social welfare charities and compiled the list with a brief description of the organizations which we gave out with greeting cards for everyone to choose one from. It worked out really well – all we had to do was go to the bank to make the deposits in everyone’s names. It was fulfilling for everyone, and there was nothing wasted! No time or money wasted… no packaging… and no wrapping!! We are planning to do the same this year with our families – maybe sending out greetings by email instead of cards.” Examples are: WWFHK, Greenpeace HK, Medicine sans Frontier HK, Oxfam HK. Some links below:

List of charities based in Hong Kong:

Give your partner the gift of a life skill with a first aid course. Conducted over 2 nights with 2 hrs each night this DB course is perfect if you haven’t done a First Aid course for a while- or ever. There are also courses available for helpers. Ph Anthea through Island Health 29877575 and she can make a gift voucher up for you. This is what I’m getting my hubby for Christmas.

How about an adventure. DB resident Mary Jones has a brother involved with an organisation that does volunteer work in South Africa. See the following website: There is a range of adventures from a couple of days to 28 days and more.

“Swimming with the dolphins at Ocean Park is on my wish list for Christmas! Or what about photography (or other) lessons.”

Give a movie ticket gift coupon (IFC $60) or gift card (IFC$150 and $300) to indulge in a cinematic delight/s in 2008. I imagine Tung Chung has a similar gift voucher.

Gift vouchers just about everywhere. In DB there is Sense of Touch for facials, massages etc and Philippe from Chef Pour Toi has gift vouchers to choose some Maxwell Williams crockery and other table and kitchen ware or why not cooking classes- great fun. (also Cc’d above)

Is there an event or show happening in 2008 that you can give as a gift? How about a night at the comedy club or a play or a concert or opera or musical

GIVE A GIFT THAT WILL LAST FOR LIFETIMES… PLAN B 3.0: MOBILIZING TO SAVE CIVILIZATION a new book by Lester R. Brown filled with solutions to the problems the world is facing. Take a look at Chapter 1, “Entering a New World” at and visit the website

Photography classes Cc’d above for adults and children

Piano lessons adult/ children Ph 97077994

Musical instrument lessons and used instruments from Michael in DB 6076 2849

Courses in drawing/ watercolours/ oil painting/ Chinese painting/ calligraphy from the HK Academy of Fine Arts (HKAFA) call 2385 9929

Art classes for adult/ children in DB, call Lan Nguyen 2914 1160 or 9819 4951

Clothes by American Apparel found in the plaza at Rush and they guarantee none of it’s pieces are made in sweatshops.

Xtreme Green at has clothes for adults and children made with organic cotton and their shop is in Sheung Wan.

Belly Dancing classes at the School of Arab Dances 10 lessons for $1110. Ph 2525 2503.

Fringe Club Membership for people interested in the Hong Kong Art, music scene, courses, renting the venue, dinner at M at the Fringe (my favourite restaurant for special occasions) etc all comes with good discounts for a membership card valued at $300 plus $300 joining fee.

Pole dancing lessons to get in shape I hear are a lot of fun! 8 classes for $1880

A dinner outing somewhere nice, visit to Disneyland or Ocean Park- just don’t be tempted to buy all the commercial ‘stuff’ at the end of the day.

Homemade cooking. Pull out that famous chutney recipe from great Aunt Maud or homemade jam, cookies, fruit mince pies, chocolate truffles or whatever. You can’t get past this for the ultimate Christmas indulgence and warm fuzzy feeling for both giver and receiver.

For fair trade items check out Global Handicrafts Tuen Mun with ethnic, handmade products from around the world. The craftsmen are all struggling against economic hardship.

Donate to Heifer Hong Kong a non profit organisation which donates income producing animals such as cows sheep and geese to charity projects throughout China and gives animal care training to the recipients also.

“…. buy someone one of those re-usable coffee cups that pacific coffee or uncle Russ will fill up for you. They used to be sold by all the coffee shops ….. try Starbucks. As I remember they had a slot down the side where the seller slide the name of their coffee shop (at least the star bucks ones did – maybe they still sell them?) and perhaps the giver of the present could slide a photo of the family in there instead?”

Added bonus when you get a cup of coffee in your own mug your coffee is $1 less at Pacific Coffee.

Find more ideas in Inside Db and various magazines about town. Please feel free to add to this list and throughout the year we will try and keep it updated so there is always an idea for gifts for birthdays etc for you and your loved ones.

Spend wisely!!

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