A word about gift giving this holiday season.
My family has notoriously been traditional during the holidays when it comes to gift giving. In the beginning we spent much to-do about shopping and purchasing that special do-dad to place on a shelf, the perfect piece of brick a brac or electrical appliance only available during the holidays. But after all, who really needs an electric yogurt maker that makes 7 – 6 ounce cups of individual flavors? Electric popcorn poppers, 10 kinds of candy, 9 fruitcakes, 8 pocket calendars, 7 cool ice cream freezers, 6 pretty trays, 5 molten chocolate dessert cups, 4 tiny ash trays, 3 curling irons, 2 waffle makers and what only one carousel microwave oven!?
Several years ago we advanced to creating our own wish list and sharing it with each adult family member. The idea was everyone would only get you gifts from the wish list. This theoretically guaranteed gifts that you genuinely wanted and needed. It worked for the most part.
One year we each vowed to only give homemade gifts or something that was being up-cycled. This worked too, sorta.
Year before last I skipped out on the gift giving altogether and asked my family to not send me gifts. They sent them anyway and I felt like a heel.
Last year was a free for all. Some shared wish lists, some gave home-made cookies and – it was a free for all.
Last week I received an email from my Dad. He sends lots of email to me. None of it contains any personal messages. It is generally a forward and mostly political. We differ in our political aspirations and leanings, but I digress. This email (and I do open every single one of them Dad, in the hopes you have
written typed a message to me) contained a very special message about gift giving. It elaborates on the importance of giving gifts from local sources and certainly at least made in the USA. I was impressed. This makes sense! Support your local shop keepers, local manufactures and local crafts people. Buy American!
I am blatantly going to cut and paste the entire writing without a clue who wrote it. Thank you to whomever you are! And Peace be with you brothers and sisters.
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 foreign produced wrapping paper?
Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates 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 plunking down the Benjamin’s on a
Chinese foreign 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 a bazillion 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 other 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.
THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
Forward this to everyone on your mailing list — post it to discussion groups — throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city — send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn’t that what Christmas is about?
Here is a beginning list of things local to my neck of the woods that I plan on incorporating into my gift giving this year;
Ozark Mountaineer, magazine about the Ozarks
Healin’ – Hollers, natural remedies (just down the road from me)
Professional photographs by Dennis Crider (there are many others specializing in Ozarks photography)
Wool socks, raised, sheared and hand knit by Mary
Pottery, Red Hot Pots, Pat Hight
Music by Marideth Sisco, Van Colbert, Big Smith and dozens of others
Eastwind nut butters, sold internationally and just a spell up the road
Quilts and quilted items, every burg has several to choose from
Try your local bakery, organic farm, whatever small factory is close by; you might find hammocks, futons, or exotic dried and smoked pablanos (yes, here in the Ozarks).
I personally make quits, jams and jellies, fruitcake, pesto, greeting cards, cool denim pot holders, great cookies and give free hugs! Thanks Dad for the cool email! Bro is already making plans to build me a new stoop for my Christmas gift! Merry HoHO to all! Check out my Etsy store for that great fruitcake you’ve been hearing about!