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November 23, 2011

Discover a New Holiday Tradition

You know I usually like to write my own posts -- but I received this message via email today from a friend, and I felt it was worth posting.  Not only does the message about supporting our local merchants resonate with me, but I also think some of these gift ideas are wonderful --- especially for the person who "has everything."    So with that, I'd like to share this message...

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? Nearly 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 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 hometown Americans with their financial lives on the line, to help them 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 craftspeople spin their own yarn and knit it into scarves. They make jewelry, pottery and beautiful wood boxes.

Go 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 10,000 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 "charity begins at home," 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, beginning in November of 2011 and continuing until we have a job market again!

PLEASE take just a moment and 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, to radio stations and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is all about?

The one idea that I will add -- in this age where so many of us are blessed with more material goods than we could ever possibly need, please know there are hundreds of very worthwhile non-profit organizations that could benefit from even a small donation. Human service organizations such as boys & girls clubs, food banks, hospitals, schools, shelters, etc., provide necessary services to those in need.  During difficult economic times, many of these organizations are losing donations -- at a time when they are most needed.    A donation made in someone's honor, to an organization they believe in, is a gift that gives tenfold.
Here's to the start of a happy holiday season!

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