Living Green 365: Make memories, not trash

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Make memories, not trash

Although our homes may be overflowing with material goods, those things don’t bring us lasting happiness.

What does, research has shown, are experiences.

Our enthusiasm for new possessions is short-lived. Experiences, on the other hand, live on in our memories and stories.

Some additional benefits: experiences don’t have to be dusted, organized, stored, tossed, or donated. They don't end up in landfills or other waste disposal facilities. They're the ideal eco-friendly gift option!

This holiday season and beyond, consider experience-based gifts for those on your shopping list. Below are some suggestions to get you started.


Gift cards for unique winter activities—which can be done on your own or with a guide:

Theater tickets—Here are some Twin Cities theaters to get your wheels turning:

  • Southern theater
  • Park Square theater
  • Jungle Theatre
  • History Theatre
  • Guthrie Theater
  • Children’s Theatre Company
  • Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
  • Brave new Workshop Comedy Theatre
  • Any of the hundreds of professional and community theaters located across Minnesota! See Minnesota Theater Alliance’s compiled list.


Registration for social winter events, like:

Museum memberships–art, history, science, you name it. A few Minnesota favorites:

  • The Works
  • SEA LIFE aquarium or the Great Lakes Aquarium
  • Minnesota Zoo
  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
  • Minnesota Historical Society
  • Minnesota Children’s Museum
  • Minnesota Science Museum
  • Bell Museum of Natural History
  • Bakken Museum
  • See more museums across the state at Explore Minnesota.

The Gift of Learning

  • Music, dance, or art lessons
  • Cooking classes
  • Skating, horseback riding, sailing, skiing, golfing, or other activity/sports-related lessons

Orchestra, opera, or other concert tickets 


Winter indoor favorites, like:

  • Jump/trampoline gym
  • Batting cages
  • Bowling alley
  • Skating rink

Sporting event tickets –  Football, baseball, hockey, soccer,or other sports!

Movie or Comedy Show Tickets

Fitness classes – Yoga, Zumba, Jazzercise, Kickboxing, Jiu-Jitsu, to name a few

Registration for a winter family camp or retreat

Minnesota State Parks gift card–This gift card can be used for a Minnesota State Parks Permit, camping and overnight getaways; or canoe, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, cross-country ski, snowshoe, and snowtube rentals.

For more experience-based gift ideas, see Make Memories, Not Trash.

Community events and resources


Do It Green! Minnesota's 11th Annual Green Gifts Fair

TOMORROW! Saturday, November 19th, 10AM-5PM. Midtown Global Market, 920 East Lake Street, Minneapolis. Kick off the holiday season with Do It Green! Minnesota’s 11th Annual Green Gifts Fair on Saturday, November 19th, 10am-5pm at Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis.

Shop among 80+ local, eco-friendly artists and businesses; enjoy holiday food samples, live entertainment, kids activities, family passport with prizes, and many green living demos.

Come have your picture taken at the MPCA's experiences-as-gifts photo booth, or learn how to compost food waste indoors at the PCA vermicomposting exhibit!

The Green Gifts Fair is a fun, family-friendly event hoping to inspire Minnesotans to try a greener holiday season. A $1 suggested donation will be collected at the door. Visit for more information.


The More Fun, Less Stuff Catalog

The Center for a New American Dream—the same folks that brought us Simplify the Holidays—has released a free, new publication: The More Fun, Less Stuff Catalog. It's an alternative gift catalog for those who want to wrap their holidays in more of what matters—meaning, connection, and joy—and less of what doesn't (stuff, stress, and waste). The catalog includes hundreds of gift ideas along with downloadable coupon templates for gifts of time, experience, and memories.

Send questions or comments about living green to the address below.


Erin Barnes-Driscoll and the Living Green Team