State Environmental Agency: Christmas gifts bad for landfills

living-green-logoThe Minnesota Pollution Control Agency may be the last place you’d think of turning to for gift ideas for your Christmas shopping list, not to mention how to find more meaning during the holiday season.

After all, what does regulating feedlots, landfills and power plants have to do with Christmas shopping and presents under the tree?

The answer seems obvious, but the state regulatory agency just released its monthly “Living Green 365” newsletter anyway, featuring an environmentally correct theme for the holidays: “Make memories, not trash.”

The MPCA’s state guidelines for holiday shopping can be traced to obscure research on “the vogue mantra of behavioral economics.”

The “Living Green Team” provides what amounts to a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking compiled with your tax dollars. The agency’s anti-consumption streak comes through loud and clear, just in time to protect Minnesotans from falling for Black Friday.

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.

Of course, Christmas shopping is an experience in itself that constitutes a non-negotiable tradition for many of us. But that appears to be lost on the state regulatory authorities who actually get paid to put the imprimatur of state government on their personal social agendas, value judgments and alternative gift catalogs.

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.

MPCA also offers a “Make Memories, Not Trash” online gift list with “50 things you can give that are more about about experience.”  Take your pick from dog sledding, fat biking, tool library membership, trips to community-supported farms, Metro Transit passes, yoga, geo-caching, bike-sharing memberships, eco-getaway, charitable donation to your favorite cause.mpca-workout

The “Make Memories, Not Trash” state guidelines could be the gift that keeps on giving. MPCA suggests cutting back on buying things and consuming presents not only at Christmas but year round.