Spend green on Black Friday and go green

Black Friday is looming its ugly head over our wallets and our inner materialist.

I, for one, love shopping. But what I hate is the guilt I feel after thinking about all the damage I did to the world (and my bank account!) after my splurge of purchases. I’m talking about the receipt paper, the plastic and paper shopping bags, the wrapping paper and the driving. Oh and not to mention the energy and CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere to create the products I just purchased.

Ironically, they were all bought in the spirit of giving.

Thinking about all that damage, I gave myself the hugest guilt trip ever from something so simple as shopping on Black Friday. If that didn’t make you rethink about shopping, I don’t know what lump of coal replaced your heart lately because it made me regret a bunch of my past purchases.

To assist with my guilt though, I’ve decided to make this year all about green gifting. I can’t help the world with all of my purchasing, but I can help with the things that I purchase.

I’ve created a green gift guide that can reach across all price tags and budgets as well as all walks of lives and relationships. My hope is that you’ll love it, they’ll love it and the world will thank you.

The Cheaper Side

I understand, we are all on a budget because we have so many people to shop for, yet we have limited funds. So this section is all about the D.I.Y (Do It Yourself).

Currently, it’s not all too cold in Northridge. How lucky are we that its 80 degrees in November? But nonetheless, we all want to save money when it starts getting cold and we turn to the energy eating heater. So to cut down on the waste and to keep the heat inside along with the green in our wallets, why not create your loved one a “door snake.” The Daily Green blog, illustrates the easy DIY project as a simple piece of fabric sewn into a tube and stuffed. To make it a more personal gift give the snake a personality by adding button details and even a tongue.

But what if the loved one is more special than a door snake. I suggest you get personal and get creative. Its simple by just giving the person a little bit of your time and energy. Make them a coupon book, like you did in elementary school. The coupons could be for a homemade dinner, a back massage or even you washing their car. It all depends on the person and how much time you’d be willing to donate.

For those who dip into their wallets

A scarf, I know it seems very generic and highly unpersonalized, it is something everyone is going to wish that they’ll have when it starts getting cold outside. Nimli features an organic scarf that is green friendly that is 100 percent organic cotton in 110 colors. Choosing a color will be the true test of how well you know your friend. The cost is originally $200, but you can get it for a steal at only $39.

For those not wanting a scarf though, there is something everyone needs a charger. So why not make it a green eco-friendly one? Volt-star offers a green charger for electronics that eliminates wasted energy. The Volt Eco Cell Phone Charger ranges from $32-$34, depending on the phone your loved one owns.

For the ones you really love and feel worthy spending lots

The ultimate green giver will think beyond the purchase and think of the utility of the gift. So this area I will feel free to go on and on in this section, but I most likely won’t.

The number one gift on everyone’s list this holiday is probably the iPad, starting at $400. Like a lot of recent Mac products they are showing lovely green features. It is PVC-free, made with arsenic-free glass, the LED screen is mercury-free and the outer case is made of recyclable glass and aluminum. Plus, it uses less energy than most computers out there, which is always good, right?

If you’re not wanting to spend that much on a gift there are also other options for the generous green giver. Voltaic offers a solar charger, which I think is genius, especially for such it’s small size and the fact that we live in sunny California where sun is hardly never in short supply. The Voltaic Amp Solar Charger offers four times as much power and twice the battery storage of most solar chargers out there. For $99, I feel that it would be a steal.

But if you want to be the ultimate giver there is one last thing that you can gift in the spirit of giving. It is a gift that is truly universal in its recipients. I’m talking about a donation to a charity. It could be to the charity of your choosing, in any denomination of your choosing and all in the honor or name of the person of your choosing. You give them a gift of giving to the world. A little sappy, but as a true tree hugger and world lover this would be the perfect gift.

So if you wake up at the crack of dawn on black Friday or wait until midnight for Cyber Monday, keep the world in mind as you start the holiday season’s gift of giving.