Shop American This Holiday Season - Support Local & Small Businesses

I received a forward the other day, which I would have normally deleted before reading (I barley have time for real emails let alone forwards), but this one struck a cord. 

The general idea was to shop American this holiday season, something we often hear these days, but it is not quite what you think. 

Instead of shopping by avoiding the "Made in China" sticker or the big bulk wholesale stores, the forward simply suggests shopping local - I mean isn't that the most basic way to buy American, by supporting American business'? 

The forward went something like this:

At gift giving time, there is no longer the excuse nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. It is time to think outside the box. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in excessive paper?

1. Everyone gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local hair salon or barber?

2. Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.

3. Who wouldn't appreciate getting their car detailed?  Small detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.

4. Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a foreign 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.

5. 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?

6. Remember, folks this isn't about big national chains -- this is about supporting your home town businesses with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open. Plus it keeps the tax you spend local.

7. How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at an individually owned shop?

8. Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom might LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

9. My computer could use a tune-up, try Angie's List for a local repair business.

9. OK, you were looking for something more personal. Crafts, jewelry, and personal gifts can be found at a number of boutiques and stores around your area (Phantastic Phinds has great unique gift items too). Check out for national artisans.

10. Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip.

11. 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.

12. Honestly people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand 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.

The holiday season should not be a pocket drainer or stressful shopping time. You can get great personal gifts and encourage American small businesses to keep plugging away and follow their dreams. And, at the same time support your community, the benefits come back to us in ways we could not imagine.

Happy Holidays!


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