A couple times this past year I have mentioned, or maybe I strongly suggested, that we as a nation should start purchasing products that are made in America whenever and wherever possible.
I have no way of knowing whether anyone has joined my wife and me on our quest, but we persevere nonetheless. So, one last time before the end of the year, and coincidentally right around the holiday shopping season, Im suggesting a way to help Americans and buy a present at the same time.
As much as Id like to claim this idea as my own, alas, I cannot. It was sent to me in one of those annoying pass it on e-mails which we all hate to receive. Since I dont like to receive them, I also generally dont forward them and consequently, if they are to be believed, I will suffer decades of bad luck.
If you are the type of person whose idea of gift giving is to make sure you give truly amazing, wonderful and expensive gifts, this idea may not be for you. However, if you tend to give more thoughtful, useful and meaningful gifts, as well as gifts that will keep Americans working at the same time, then this might be right up your alley.
Heres the idea in a nutshell. This holiday season, please consider giving a gift that benefits both the recipient of the gift as well as the person or company from whom it was purchased. For example, for those of us who get our hair cut or done up throughout the year, why not purchase a gift certificate from a local barber shop or hair salon where they recipient gets their hair cut? They get hair cuts for free all year and the shop owner gets a couple of bucks to stay in business. Bonus: Not one single penny will go outside the United States!
Other ideas may include pre-paid car washes, car detailing or gift certificates for a few rounds of golf maybe theyll even invite you along. Or how about a gym membership? Youll have to be careful with this gift idea or you may end up wearing it around your neck.
The next is my favorite gift idea. Gift certificates to locally owned restaurants. I know there are at least several of these in downtown Frederick, and Im sure there are some where you live. Again, you are giving a great gift and supporting the local economy.
The list is actually endless once you start thinking this way. What about an oil change or two from a local repair shop, not one of the national chains. We all lead very busy lives and sometimes house cleaning isnt what we want to do when we have two minutes to rub together,as my mother would say, so you can give a gift certificate for the services of a local house cleaning company.
This time of year there are also craft fairs everywhere. Even if these folks may not be local to Frederick, they are at least private citizens and not representing companies whose money goes overseas.
My wife and I attend programs at the Weinberg Center as often as possible. What a great gift idea it would be to have gift certificates for tickets. Im sure there are many others who would also like this idea while supporting an important local institution.
Instead of going to Big Blue along with the zillions of holiday shoppers, and facing long lines, bad tempers, and screaming kids, you could do most of these ideas from the comfort of your home in your jamies.
This is a direct quote from the aforementioned e-mail and since I couldnt say it any better, I thought Id just quote it.You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so 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 a final thought, Ill leave you with a favorite quote of mine.
"The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want and if they can't find them, make them." George Bernard Shaw
I suggest that instead of us all sitting around complaining about what the federal government either is or isnt doing about saving or creating jobs, we use the same energy constructively to think nationally but act locally. Its in our hands really!
Thats my opinion whats yours?
Rick Godfrey writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.