An anonymous email making its way around the Web and into inboxes these last few weeks echoes many of John and Peter’s thoughts on finding a life of abundance “within walking distance.” Searches for the author of the piece kept turning up David Evans, who published it as part of a blog post framed by A Christmas Carol and “our own period of uncertainty, need, and anxiety”; he too said that he received it as an email from a friend. If you haven’t seen it, it has some simple ideas to take to heart this holiday season and all through the coming year.
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 can be different. This year Americans could 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. 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 would think nothing of plonking down the Benjamins 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 hometown Americans with their financial lives on the line trying 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, 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 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.
Forward this to everyone on your mailing list — post it to discussion groups, throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city, send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news departments.
This is a revolution of caring about each other, and isn’t that what Christmas is about?