[box type="note" style="rounded" border="full"]The following text suggests a new approach (for many of us) to gift giving during the holiday season. It is from an email which was sent to us by a reader which refers to a new tradition about changing buying habits during the Christmas season. People are making a conscious effort to buy local and support their locally-owned, independent businesses. We offer this email as food for thought.
Note: a reader expressed concern that this email was a "slam" on the Chinese. I have responded in the comments below. Perhaps you will have a different take. - Editor [/box]
Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition
As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans and Canadians with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American and Canadian labour. This year will be different. This year Americans and Canadians will give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans and Canadians. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by our 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 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, local 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 $$$$$$ 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.
- If you don’t produce your own fruits and veggies, buy locally, and make yummy jams, jellies, salsas to share with your friends and family. Nothing better than homemade!
- There are a gazillion 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 peeps 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 local 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 our pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US, encouraging small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans and Canadians, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine. THIS is the new Christmas tradition.