Should We All “Buy American” for Christmas?

As a follow up to my previous post, which discussed some of the innovative initiatives starting to bubble up regarding the economy and how to boost job growth, somebody forwarded along a thought-provoking passage that they’d seen circulating out on the Internet.

This “New Christmas Tradition” letter, which I’ve re-posted below, appears to have gone viral by this point and as a result I was unable to find out who originally wrote it to give proper attribution.  I also don’t necessarily agree with each and every point the author makes.  But all in all, I thought it was a thoughtful reminder about the importance of understanding our own personal values/priorities, as well as the impact that takes place based on the gift-giving we do each year.

So for what it’s worth, here’s the article.  See what you think…

Christmas 2011: Birth of a New Tradition

As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will 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 Chinese produced wrapping paper?  Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local American 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, American 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 Benjamines 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 Americans 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 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.

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


3 Responses to “Should We All “Buy American” for Christmas?”

  1. I wish that we’d become serious in this country about enacting at least a basic level of healthcare coverage for ALL AMERICANS so that American businesses could compete with “cheap” overseas labor in terms of not having to provide expensive health care benefits to their employees. I wish that Congress would revise the tax code so that it was fair to small business owners (and by small, I don’t mean those with thousands of employees and massive facilities currently considered “small” by the federal government) so that they could hire American workers and produce goods domestically. I wish that Americans would insist that high quality education be made available at a reasonable cost to all Americans so that we could compete with foreign labor markets who send their kids to America to get college educations that are paid for by their governments, and where we keep increasing college costs and expect American kids to take out massive amounts of student loan debt to get a college and graduate education and then have no jobs waiting for them.

    Rather than worrying about what they’re doing in China, India and other emerging economies, perhaps we should take a serious look at what’s wrong in America’s system that has caused us to lose our manufacturing edge and leadership position in the global economy. Spending most of our national wealth to fight foreign wars rather than invest in education, health care, tax incentives for domestic manufacturers with domestic jobs, and infrastructure projects that allow for the free-flow of commerce has really cost us as a nation. I personally don’t want to live in China where you can barely breathe with the polluted air, where you should exercise great caution before using some of their products that contain toxic components, and where their completely de-regulated business environment may have made a few wealthy, but hasn’t done much to enhance the human condition. Rather than being isolationist, we should fix our internal challenges and move FORWARD in an economic sense rather than continuing to stagnate with no governmental leadership, no consistent national economic focus, and no productive plans for getting American jobs back and creating wealth for ALL in this country (as opposed to a handful of executives). My $0.02 on this post.

  2. I got this a month or so ago and posted it to Facebook. So it’s definitely gone viral.

    The longer the tough labor market goes on, the more that people will consider what has happened in the U.S. The global economy, and the movement to manufacturing jobs overseas (particularly China and SE Asia) is making many folks thinking that something is awry in the U.S.

    I’m all for buying local – Xmas or not – and supporting the type of merchants listed in the letter.


  1. Weekend Reading - December 17, 2011

    […] Should We All “Buy American” for Christmas? (via Career Horizons) […]

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