It’s that time of year again where we catch ourselves adding some seasonal words to our vocabulary like yule, boughs of holly, and bells on bobtail. And the funny thing about it is that we don’t even think twice when we are singing about bobtails. Anyway, moving on. I received this forward in my email from my mom and I read it, liked it and am sharing it with you. I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the idea of giving only 4 gifts one from each category, want, need, wear, read (click here to read that post) because I am feeling the urge to not give in to the consumerism and commercialism of Christmas because, honestly, it is not about that. I love giving gifts, but it is not fun when you have to give a gift and you have no idea what to get. We find ourselves spending on useless gifts because we feel we must, and so we get Grandpa another tie, or Aunt Sue another cookbook. Just read this Birth of a New Tradition, we all have heard about the benefits of buying local when it comes to produce, but what an impact it can have on our community and our economy if we did that with Christmas! There are so many holiday handmade boutiques going on right now, it is the perfect way to support these small independent businesses while also giving a unique gift. While I don’t like the negative slant in the article toward the Chinese, because let’s face it, it’s all about supply and demand and we are demanding it, I do like the idea of buying local. This could be big. This could be really really good if we all partake!
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 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 plonking down the Benjamins 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 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 lights, 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 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.