For the Father Who Has Everything

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How do you know what to do in the way of green and sustainable gift giving?  Substitute the word “quality” for “green,” and let that guide you.

Provided the manufacturing process is not horrible, if you give someone a gift that they cherish for a lifetime, it never hits a landfill – and doesn’t that meet a reasonable definition of sustainable?  In order to fulfill that requirement, one must really know their father, understand his passions and be able to match that understanding with gifting.

Quality does not have to be expensive.  “Genius of the And” tells us that quality and low cost are not mutually exclusive.  A couple years ago, when my cash flow was flowing like the rest of the economy, I gave my daughter the card game “I Spy, Go Fish.”  Cost of about five bucks.  But what I really gave my daughter was a love of playing games with her family, a gift that appears to be a successful sustainable gift, as we are likely to enjoy playing family games for a lifetime.

Perhaps you could give the gift of a new family tradition, like going on a hike in the Back Bay, to what may soon become that special place of common ground.  Maybe you ride your bike to breakfast down on Balboa Peninsula, then walk over to Paddle Power at 15th Street and spend a couple hours kayaking, telling stories while viewing a local wonder.  (Tip: Go left, into the wind to start.) Maybe family games are in your future.

How about beer?  Maui Brewing Co. makes handcrafted ales and lagers, brewed with Aloha.  A friend, talk about a quality gift, recently shared the Bikini Blonde Lager with a tag line of “What the Sailors Really Come to Shore For …”.  What was most intriguing was the observation that what is old is now new again.  The can highlights a welcome to the “Micro Canning Revolution.”  Cans eliminate light damage and reduce the risk of oxidation, keeping our beer fresher than do bottles!  Cans are lighter, chill more quickly, and can be enjoyed on beaches and in sensitive environments.  Aluminum is the most recycled and most eco-friendly material.  SOLD!

If Dad is into baseball, you could visit Uncommon Goods to get him a bottle opener made from wood reclaimed from a baseball bat used by his favorite player.

Is your Father a USC fan?  If so, visit Generic Youth, where Jeff Yokoyama has taken actual USC game day uniforms and cleverly stitched the cardinal and gold onto the fingers of a “Fight On” T-Shirt.  Other USC one-off items are ties, hats, jackets all made from actual USC uniforms.  Notre Dame fan like me?  Then check out hoodies upcycled from beach towels others have donated.

Another can’t-go-wrong quality gift is to give the gift of a picture.  Some cherished moment of a special memory.  With you in the picture, or your father holding a prized fish.  Better yet, make the frame, or go to Michaels, buy a generic frame and decorate it with things from around your house to complement the memory and perhaps yield a sustainable heirloom where you ReUse the frame, but freshen the picture.

Quality recycling bins from the Container Store would be a hit.  Or, we need to figure out how to keep our food scraps out of the landfill, so getting a composting bin and following the natural order of things would be good for Dad and the environment.

Plant a tree.  You do not have to hug it, but you or your kids might climb it and trees are lots of fun to watch grow, providing a lasting memory.  You could site it properly to provide passive cooling and the longterm increase in property value is meaningful.

Get him a bike.  Teach him to eat healthy.  Find his passion and facilitate it.  Do it with him, in hopes that you can share the passion for a lifetime.

Remember those that have passed.  A father, grandfather or mentor.  Think about what they taught you to influence your sustainable life.  If you are lucky enough that your father is still with you, hug him or call him.  Deliver the most sustainable gift of all: “I love you Dad.”

Send summer green ideas to [email protected]


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