Re-Thinking Gift Giving

21 11 2011

A few weeks ago, I received the following text in an email from my dad, its title was “The Birth of a New Tradition.”  I don’t know who the original author is, but it is not me.  I do however, agree, with the sentiments and ideas expressed in it.

As we gear up for another Black Friday in just a few days, let’s consider how and where we spend our money.  My gift giving will look a little different this year.

The Birth of a New Tradition

“As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide us with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods—merchandise that has been produced at the expense of local labor.  

This year will be different.

This year we should 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 local hands.

Yes there is!

It’s time to think outside the box.  Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?

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 plunking down big money 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 local restaurants—many 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, this isn’t about big national chains.  This is about supporting your local businesses.  Their financial lives are 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 local shop?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom?  Maybe she would love the services of a local cleaning lady for a day or a spa treatment or her nails done at a local salon.

My computer could use a tune-up, and I know I can find some shop that 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.

Do you have money to spend on a nice family vacation across the country or overseas?  Why don’t you leave a nice tip for your mail carrier, trash guy, or babysitter?

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining local pockets so that China can build another glittering city.  Christmas is now about caring about our neighbors, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams.   And, when we care about our neighbors and family, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.

This could be a new Christmas tradition.”




2 responses

27 11 2011

That’s a very interesting story. I like the idea of going more localized because my dad is a small business owner, and I think small, local businesses and their owners and the ones who can propel our economy!! YAY I solved our nation’s problems 🙂

27 11 2011
Katie Foster

My parents have given our family the gift of going to Opryland Hotel to see the lights, and even spend the night before. Super fun adventure/activity!

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