buying season decisions matter.

If there was a simple thing that you could do that didn’t cost you anything except maybe a few extra minutes of your time, yet could have a big impact on the financial wellbeing of your community, would you consider it?

When you make out your list for gift giving this year do me a favor, do us all a favor and make it a point to buy at LEAST one gift that is made in here America. If every one of us took a brief little diversion from the mall to find one gift to purchase made by anyone here in the states the impact would be very noticeable.

I know that the whole buy US made is a tough proposition. We can’t compete with Walmart and Sears and Target and Kohls. The fact is that China, Indonesia, Korea, etc… wages are soooo low, their factories don’t have to follow humane labor practices or worry about responsible environmental practices, and cranking out hundreds and thousands of the exact same thing (quality be damned), keeps the costs so low that it is hard to rationalize the cost difference. And for much of the things you buy it is hard finding US made alternatives.

But there are options out there. Aside from local music (which I know you support), do you realize how many artisan jewelers there are in your area? If you plan to buy a piece of jewelry for someone, DON’T go to Jared! Stay away from the mall. Find an art show in your area (they are happening everywhere every week) and find a hand made custom piece of art that will be distinct and says something about the thought you put into buying this gift?

Check out your local artisan community, artist guild or art associations. Look for local businesses that make things. Here in my little town there is an iron worker / artist who set up shop and I would say that 80% of the town hasn’t even bothered to find out what he does. Need iron railings, a light fixture, a gate, plant stand, a piece of art for your wall? How hard would it be to stop by and check it out on your way to the mall? Who knows what you can find.

My brother in law has a company that makes boat covers and towers not 30 minutes from Boston. That’s right – made here! You probably know that Michelle is a stained glass artist. We do a lot of art and gift shows this time of year. At these shows you can find locally made items like; jewelry (a lot of that), clothing, furniture, glass art of all kinds, pottery, iron work, art work, and even things in that “cute little gift” category. Shouldn’t some of that hard earned money of yours end up back in the pockets of people in this area?

I haven’t explored all the possibilities and am not an expert. Feel free to share any ideas you have. In fact I encourage you to post here, facebook, tweet anything you find that you think is worthy of someone checking out. Let us know it’s US made and where to find it.

We let our government and our corporations run our economy into the ground, ship our jobs over seas and turn the American Dream into a fantasy from days past. But we still have a little bit of power left. Just a hint of discretion with the money we spend and this season it important for everyone. It can change a life. It can change many lives. So man-up so to speak. Do this one simple thing. You’ll feel better. Happy holidays.

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