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'Tis the Season of Saving - Small Businesses that is...

December 1, 2011

COLUMN PIECE - OPINION

As the holidays approach, the giant foreign factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods, remember that this is merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor.

Make this year different! This year Americans need to 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 foreign produced wrapping paper? There are a whole lot of unique and thoughtful gifts that you can give while showing your support for the small businesses in your area!

Everyone gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local hair salon or barber, a gym membership is appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvements or might not be able to afford one for themselves and what about getting their car detailed? Small, American owned, local 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 flopping down the Benjamines on a foreign made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like to have their driveway sealed, lawn mowed for the summer or a years pass to a local golf course instead? Is someone you know’s computer in need of a tune-up? Find a local repair business and get them a gift certificate!

There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants which all happily offer 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 who have their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for the woman in your life? I am sure they would love a cleaning lady for a day, a massage, a manicure or pedicure. Gift certificates from the local grocery store or pharmacy for the older citizens are heartfelt and very appreciated. And they will most certainly be used. Or what about a gift basket filled with can meats, peanut butter or herbal teas?

Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves, make jewelry, pottery and beautiful wooden boxes, just to name a few things. Not only can you find that perfect something for your loved ones, you are also giving them a gift that a lot of love went into making!

Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand foreign made twinkle lights for your 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 baby-sitter a nice BIG tip.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that someone else 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.

I think this should become the NEW Christmas Tradition. As the years have gone by many have forgotten the true meaning of Christmas, and let me give you a hint, it doesn’t include a price tag! This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn't that what Christmas is about anyway?

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