This week, we are thinking about gifts.

I cannot count the number of times I have seen requests for gift ideas in my social media feeds this week. It seems odd that we would reach out to strangers for suggestions for a partner with whom we share our daily life.

Are we just not paying attention?

Other posts are more desperate pleas for children who absolutely need the latest game or toy or gadget that’s out of stock and if they don’t get it they’ll feel all left out because everyone else will absolutely have one.

Do we realize that what our children really want is our attention?

The saddest part of watching this investment of time and energy into the search for the holy grail of the perfect gift is imagining the sea of waste left behind the next day. The plastic packing, the paper wrapping, the useless stocking stuffers, the meaningless silly trinkets, the single-use holiday hats, the pointless packaging surrounding gifts of food, the party favors and decorations, the disposable cups and glasses and plates and napkins and cutlery … the list goes on.

But something else is also happening.

Instead of brunching and drinking and catching the bargains, some people are doing something different.

In just 7 days, nestled among countless holiday promotion emails shouting at me with last-minute, last-chance warnings not to miss out in the final countdown, I found news of thousands of volunteers collecting tonnes of plastic from our seas and our country parks.

Last Saturday, volunteers fished another 2 tonnes of trash out of Aberdeen Harbour. Social enterprise HK Cleanup wrapped up their annual challenge with a private party to celebrate the fact that 80,210 participants collected 48,070,857 pieces of trash weighing 5,567,680kg from our coastlines, country trails and urban areas over the past 3 months. And I am truly inspired by the Clean Up Hong Kong Trails meetup group of domestic helpers who spend their one day off every week cleaning up after others after spending 6 days cleaning up after others.

We received invitations to 5 beach cleanups already this month.

The campaigns just keep coming in. Our friends at Go Green have committed to Jup Yeah‘s campaign and pledged to buy no new clothes this season. The Royal HK Yacht club is getting on board and preparing to go plastic-free in January.  And Rainforest Rescue is urging everyone to ditch coffee pods because of the high volumes of recyclable aluminum wasted in the name of convenience because the pods cannot be recycled — aluminum from open-pit mines that are eating into precious ecosystems.

These topics were among the discussion when we caught up with everyone last Thursday evening, acknowledging the change in consciousness that is upon us and sharing our thoughts on who is in and who isn’t and how we can reach out even more. Since many who are busy in the silly season wanted to join us but were already booked, I am hosting A Fresh Start next month where we will introduce community leaders, share our intentions and pick up the conversations where we left off.

As the marketing machine heats up in the coming weeks, it is easy to get sucked into the vortex and find ourselves in a spin during the season of joy. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities in our community this week to decompress and reconnect and take a breath.

When it all feels like it’s getting a bit too much, take a moment, close your eyes and remember why we do this in the first place.

When we don’t want to be part of the problem, we can consider our gifts, be ourselves and be the change.

What is the best gift you can give yourself right now?



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dragonfly – A platform for your transformation, synthesizing spirituality with social awareness > details

AcquaVibe – Water filtration system using natural pressure without electricity > details

Wendy Lam – Integrative manual therapist, craniosacral therapist and physiotherapist > details

Dr Tommy Chan – Clinical & Consulting Psychologist with a non-drug approach to psychological health > details

Tian Yan Nei Gong Centre – Classes and private sessions to integrate body and mind; free trial class. > details

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Events in our community this week

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12 (7:30-9pm) Year-end Meditation, Sharing & Social | HK Insight Meditation Society

12 (7:30-9:30pm) Meetfree Gathering | Meat Free Hong Kong

13 (7:30-9:50pm) Physician Assisted Death | HK Philosophy Café

13 (6-9pm) Xmas Drinks | Bamboa Home

14 (9:30am-5:30pm) Managing Addictive Behaviours | HK Society of Professional Training

14 (7-8pm) Outdoor Yoga Bootcamp | The Yoga Room

14 (7-8pm) The Power of Food | All About You Wellness Centre

14 (7:30-9:15pm) Lasting Happiness | Kadampa Meditation Centre Hong Kong

15 (6:30-8pm) Managing Difficult People & Overcoming Negative Emotions | Raja Yoga Meditation Centre

16 (10am-8:30pm) Christmas Open Day | Food For Life

17 (10:30am-1:30pm) Clear the Clutter and Calm the Mind | dragonfly

17 (12pm) The Great Big Clothing Drive | The Guest Room

17 (11am-1:30pm) Healthy Holiday Desserts | SpiceBox Organics

17 (2-5pm) End of Year Reiki Cafe | Shine Body & Soul Healing Centre

17 (3-5:30pm) Christmas Tree and Raw Chocolate Class | Food For Life

17-18 Animal Communication Workshop | Animal Talk Ltd

18 (2-3:30pm) Winter Solstice Drum Jam | Kumi Masunaga

18 (3-5pm) All-vegan Meal | Meat Free Hong Kong | details

Coming up

Dec 30 2 Jan FarmFest 2017

Jan 12 (7-9pm) A Fresh Start

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Fresh directory updates

Here are some of our new and updated listings on the directory …

Laurence James Lucas – Astrologer, Psychologist, Shaman; Individual consultations, talks and workshops > details

Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation – HK YAF presents exhibitions, performances, workshops and art tours. > details

Dr Susan Jamieson Integrative Medical Practice – Combining modern medicine with traditional therapies > details

Osho Information Center Hong Kong – Meditation activities and groups; books and CDs by Osho > details

KELY Support Group – Empowering young people to help themselves through peer support and positive contact > details

Samaritans – 24-hour confidential emotional support and monthly meeting for emotional support > details

Hong Kong Dog Rescue – Rescuing and homing stray, abandoned and surrendered dogs and puppies > details

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Author: Kinzie

Founder of HK heartbeat - serving Hong Kong since 2001 ... naturally