I received this email just minutes ago and I usually roll my eyes at "Buy American" broo-ha-ha but I love the message of this. Let's buy local, not from big box stores. Let's buy (or even better - GIVE) services instead of stuff. I am not even getting on my soapbox this year - just going to share what the email said.
"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?
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 Benjamines 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.
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 theater.
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 can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about US (Uh, Towngirl here...technically Christmas is still about Jesus), 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."
What are some other things you can think of to give that would support your local community? I heard of a mother who gives each of her children a cord of wood for Christmas - love it. I still really love Anna's idea of a Christmas trip instead of gift, you can stimulate another town's economy by eating local and staying in an owner-run establishment when you are there. I'm quite sure your adult children would love a weekend away! How about a gift certificate to your local optometrist for an eye exam or glasses?
Don't forget when you are buying your food and decorations for the holidays, someone that forwarded the email to me reminded me to buy flowers from local florists instead of FTD. Can you find a local source for your turkey? I just saw an ad in our local paper yesterday advertising homegrown turkeys plus we have a huge local turkey farm here. It's more expensive but in the long run it's worth it. Local eggs, pay a local baker to bake your rolls if you're going to buy them anyways. The list could go on and on.
What are some other gifts you can give that would support your local community?