Monday, November 07, 2011
Christmas Shopping in 2011
My wife had this very special cousin with whom I still keep in contact. She sent me a LONG forward about shopping this year for Christmas, and as I read it, I had to agree.
It's about time we buy American. I know, I know, another blog harping about cheap stuff made in China, Taiwan, or Mexico! Well, here's a bit of news. Look around your area at the locally owned businesses that need your support.
Give your loved ones who still have hair a certificate at a locally owned Hair Salon or Barber Shop. If you have hair, you need a haircut and/or style once in a while. Everyone would enjoy having their car washed and detailed, and there are lots of enterprising local businesses that do that very thing. Look for products that are made in the good ol' US of A when buying gifts. There are American artisans that actually raise, dye, spin the wool, and weave, knit or crochet beautiful garments right here in my area of the Midwest. I know there are woodcrafters around who make beautiful bowls, boxes and even furniture. Yes, they cost more than the products you will find on sale at WalMart, but they are more unique, and will last longer.
There are many young entrepreneurs who are struggling to get their own businesses off the ground. I have a dear, quirky friend who makes the most gorgeous jewelry and craft items. She is a divorcee trying to make it on her own. Another is a young man who can repair your computer, and will even clean it for you. If you have anyone in need of this kind of service, look around your area for some local person who does it, and get a certificate for your loved one.
Take your family out for a meal at a locally owned eatery and leave the waitperson a nice Christmas tip. You will not only be helping the restaurant owner, but the service person, too. Their Christmas might just be a little merrier because of you.
How about giving some homemade things this year. What person wouldn't enjoy a nice batch of cookies or fudge. Or a cake or a pie, maybe. Or if you are a crafter, make your loved ones something.
I know I have enough sweaters, socks and underwear to last me the rest of my natural life. What I would like is a gift card for a service on my car from the dealer where I trade. I would like a gift of a neck and shoulder massage at a local salon. I would like to have a cleaning lady come into my home and clean it well. Then maybe I could keep it that way.
I am making my Christmas cards again this year. Maybe I won't send as many, either. I plan to deliver them personally to the local friends and family. I will mail them to folks far away. I like to send cards because I enjoy getting them, and it's a way to keep in touch with those friends in far-away places, but, I won't be spending a lot of my hard earned cash on them. I enjoy making them, and I consider them a small gift of myself for the person I am sending them to.
If I do buy things that are non-American this year, I think I will go to the stores that sell hand-made items. These stores are designed for and usually are church-based, to help people rise above poverty by giving them an outlet for their wares. Look around you for these stores. They are in most towns, and they have some amazing, beautifully unique things.
So, fellow Americans, this year, keep it simple, keep it useful and keep it local. Our local businesses and our nation's economy will thank you!