Sunday, November 20, 2011

There is a Different Way

With Black Friday fast approaching I thought this letter that was sent to me by a friend was appropriate. I felt some of the ideas were good and should be passed on. Though it is down on products from China you have to admit it's hard to find items made in the USA.

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods --merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor.

This year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is! It's time to think outside the box, people.

Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificate from your local American hair salon or barber? Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the Benjamin's on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course. There are hundreds of thousands, owner-run restaurants -- all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn't the fancy eatery sort, what about a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint.

Remember, folks this isn't about big National chains -- this is about supporting your home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy? Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.

OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at your hometown theatre. Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that China and other cheap labor countries can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.

Can you think of some other ideas for presents that would help other Americans and our economy? Remember November 26th is Shop Small Business Day.


  1. So, right, Donna! I'm all for gift certificates for gas, groceries, etc. Those day-to-day things that keep you going. How many times do we get things we don't need? Especially around this time of year, it's a good idea to remember what really matters and why this holiday is celebrated in the 1st place. Great post :)

  2. Donna, thanks for a thought-provoking post. Especially timely, too, when so many Americans are out of work.

  3. I love supporting my home town's businesses which is why I buy local if at all possible. You have some great ideas for presents for Christmas. Thank you.

  4. Donna,
    These are all wonderful suggestions. I think people should start thinking outside the box when it comes to gift giving.

  5. Donna I absolutely LOVE this post! What wonderful ideas. In fact, the car-detailing idea is perfect for my husband. Thank you for such great suggestions on perfect gifts from within our own communities.

    Something we've done is pick one home project we've been putting off, and focusing our gifts on that. Maybe hiring a painter for the bedroom, or a carpenter to reface the kitchen cabinets. Something that we can't 'unwrap' but will enjoy for a very long time... while still supporting local craftsmen.

    And in truth, the one gift that always makes me teary is an adoption card from an animal sanctuary like Farm Sanctuary or Save the Chimps. :-)

    Great post. I'd like to share this on facebook if that's okay with you.

  6. I also saw this on FB, and I have to say it made me think about how focused we are on acquiring more "stuff." ( I think that was a Geroge Carlin bit...)

    Great idea to support services and local merchants. It's never a bad idea to keep things close to home.

  7. That's actually a good suggestion, and one I hadn't thought of.

    I have my Christmas list whittled down to husband, mother, father, and dog. Don't ask how. I had to spend years living below the poverty level for it to be socially acceptable for me to buy so few gifts.

    Christmas gift-giving has gotten way out of hand. Our gift lists have expanded to include the UPS deliveryman and Aunt Fanny's husband's sister's third cousin from her fifth marriage.

    I think the sentiment behind the apple farmer taking his neighbor the pig farmer an apple pie and getting a ham in return has long been lost.

    So, while I think shopping small businesses is a great idea, I think buying less stuff and enjoying each other more is a better idea.

    And sorry for the soapbox. It just sort of fell out.

  8. There's Etsy for handcrafted items too.

  9. Thanks Tuere. You're right. I know I've got stuff sitting around my house that I really don't need but can't seem to get rid of because someone I care about gave it to me. Thanks for stopping by. Sorry I took so long to respond.

  10. Thanks for commenting Christine. I agree. If you have a female family member or close friend who is out of work and is cutting out the unnecessary expenses, it might be nice to give them gift certificate to a manicurist or something like that. It might give them a little boost in the morale department.

  11. Hi Patti. Glad you stopped by. It's always good to try and support the home town businesses. Too often we see them closing because of competition from the chain stores.

  12. I'm glad you liked them Marilyn. Thanks for coming by.

  13. I'm with you Debbie, I really like donations to organizations that help animals, wildlife, saving forests and helping people help themselves like the Heifer Project (I think I got the name right).

    Thanks for commenting.

  14. Yes Jeannie George Carlin did a great skit about "Stuff". Thanks for coming by.

  15. Hey Catie. We just buy for our immediate family (including cats) and we try not to go overboard. I usually don't even use my charge card during the Holidays. What I've saved through the year is the amount I have to spend.

    I like your idea "buying less stuff and enjoying each other more is a better idea". Or how about making a special pie or cookies to give?

    Thanks for popping in.

  16. Hi Gina. I haven't been on Etsy in awhile but you're right it's a good place to find handcrafted items. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Shopping local makes you feel good!

    Happy Turkey Day!


  18. It makes me feel good too, Sallie. Thanks for commenting.