Gift tower

Let’s Rethink Our Holiday Routine

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I just saw a friend’s facebook re-post that urges us to rethink our holiday routine. I wrote a post recently about the pros and cons of homemade gifts for holiday gift giving and I was intrigued by this poster’s ideas.  The lady who posted gave an energetic argument for buying gifts locally and keeping as much money as possible in our own communities in an effort to tangibly improve our local economy.  I am not comfortable with the Anti-Chinese sentiment that somewhat clouds this otherwise thoughtful and thought provoking post, but I really like the idea of communities banding together to support each other during the holiday season and beyond.  I do not know the lady who originally wrote this and therefore have no way to ask permission to re-print it, but I suspect that she would be happy to know that her message is being shared.  Here is what she had to say about Holiday gift giving:

“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? (Even most Hallmark products are made in China.) Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificate 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 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. 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 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.”

As I mentioned earlier, I disagree with the Anti-Chinese sentiment that is evident in the post as I firmly believe that our current economic crisis was created by our own actions.  We as a society have ALWAYS had the option to buy locally and support our local business owners, we have simply chosen to buy imports due to price or other reasons.  Politics aside, doesn’t it just make more sense to try to support local businesses when we can?

What is your opinion on Holiday Gift Giving?  Will you be making your own, buying locally or in this tough economy just trying to save a buck wherever possible?

 This post is participating in the Patchwork Living Blogging Bee #11 at Attainable Sustainable.

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