I detest most group movements and boycotts as they almost always start with finger pointing at some boogeyman or another that needs knocking down. An honest assessment of our nation's current situation starts with realizing that, for every finger we point, there are three pointing back at us.
With that I offer this -- slightly edited version -- of a current movement that has caught my eye. Without further comment, I ask, "What say you?"
Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition
As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide North Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of Canadian/American labor. This year could be different. This year North Americans could give the gift of genuine concern for others. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American or Canadian 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?
Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local 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, locally 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 $$$$ 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 businesses 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 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 could no longer be about draining North America's pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas could now be about caring for our neighbors and encouraging small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. And, when we care about our neighbors, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine.
THIS could be the new Christmas tradition.
Consider forwarding this to everyone on your mailing list -- or posting it to discussion groups -- or throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city -- or send it to the editor of your local paper, radio stations, and TV news departments. This could start a revolution of caring about each other as a people, and isn't that a part of what Christmas is about?