With all the political mudslinging that flies around this time of year, and with all the “hot topics” that Mr. Prez & Mr. Romney chose to discuss during their debates (which we watched all of…even with the National League Championship going on), there’s something that I wish either (or both) of the candidates would have focused on: buying local/domestic.
It’s one of the easiest ways each & every one of us can benefit the economy. Real, true, tangible results. The Hubs & I were discussing the Reagan days on the way to church yesterday (because we were kids during that era and are therefore totally experts on Reaganomics…) Reagan was faced with a similar challenge of coming into a crappy economic situation, and came out of his Presidency as the new Golden Boy of the Republican Party.
How? Well, one thing was that he championed buying domestic-made products. I remember going to WallyWorld as a kid and seeing banners everywhere that screamed “Made in the USA!” “Proudly Selling USA Products!” “Buy USA!”
“U.S.A’s A-OK!!!” (One of my favorite movies, everrrrrrr.)
Time Magazine has reported on the benefits of buying local, noting that money spent in your community stays in your community, and helps generate and secure local jobs.
I read another article (which I cannot find right now) that noted if every American adult spent approximately sixty additional bucks per year on domestic products, that it would create hundreds of thousands of jobs. I can’t remember the exact number at the moment, but with some simple math we can make some assumptions: there are over 239 million adults in the United States. If each of those adults spent $60 on domestic goods & services that they would have normally spent on foreign-made products, that’s over $14 BILLION staying in the domestic economy, rather than going overseas.
Granted—there are plenty studies out there that discuss how buying ONLY American goods would actually hurt our economy, since American-made products are often higher-priced, it would effectively decrease the “buying power” of the dollar, etc. etc…
But we’re not talking about boycotting foreign products. I’ve tried that. It’s next to impossible. And that’s fine; we have a very global economy. What we’re discussing here is the good ol’ “everyone pitches in a little” methodology. Send one kid out to pick up trash, it takes all afternoon. Send ten people to do the same job, and it’s done in 15 minutes.
ANYWAY… *hops off soapbox* I’m here with a few suggestions for your Christmas Shopping Delight, so that you can perhaps take a stand and chip in your $60 while getting some truly fabulous Christmas gifts at the same time.
(NOTE: I refer to some local-to-here businesses in this post; if you’re not a fellow Missourian/Springfieldian, fear not—just seek out similar types of locally owned businesses in your own area!)
- Have a friend who loves artistic knick knacks, or want to buy a gorgeous Christmas ornament? Here in Springfield you can check out Springfield Hot Glass. They’ve got beautiful hand-blown glass ornaments in a variety of colors and styles…and if your friend (or yourself) is a bit accident prone, no worries…they’re not overly delicate.
- Look for locally owned boutique shops that champion good works. Here in Springfield, we have Five Pound Apparel, which carries the motto “Every purchase benefits someone, somewhere”. Every brand they carry in their store has a charitable cause that they donate to. The 5 Pound brand itself donates 5 lbs of fortified peanut butter to Nepal Nutrition for every article purchased. It’s hard to feel buyer’s remorse when you’re helping fund something like that!
- Heading to spend the holidays with your family? Before you leave town, call up AmyCakes & reserve a pan of her famous take ’n bake cinnamon rolls. You are guaranteed to be your parents’ new favorite child.
- Got a company Christmas party coming up, and you want to get that truly AWESOME gift that everyone keeps trying to steal in the Dirty Santa game? Swing by Mother’s Brewing Company, and fill up one of their classic glass growlers or NEW stainless steel growlers with some delicious Mother’s brew.
- Oh, beer’s not your thing? How about a bottle of local wine? Small, craft-style wineries seem to be popping up all over the place these days. Missouri has over 100 wineries scattered across the state. And if you visit their onsite stores, many of these wineries also sell other local artisan foods like jams, salsas, cheese…you could make a lovely gift basket of local goods pretty easily for $60! Or heck…two small gift baskets for $30 each!
- Did someone mention cheese? Artisan cheese making is HUGE here in the US. Missouri has the Osceola Cheese Factory (they make a chocolate cheese that tastes like fudge. I’m not even kidding). OR…if you’ve got an uber-foodie-cheese nut on your shopping list, pick up a Cheesemaking Kit for them! Ricki’s is based out of New England and they have a big variety of supplies & kits.
(This is actually on my Christmas list.)
- On the Louisiana front: Perhaps you want to play a role in the restoration of the famous Hubig’s Pie Company? Their factory in New Orleans caught fire in July, and there has been an AMAZING outpouring by the public to help get these guys back on their feet. You can purchase logo’d merch at their website and the proceeds will go to helping rebuild the factory. Because seriously…I NEED these pies when I visit down south.
- And since this is a Cajun blog: CajunGrocer.com offers a HUGE selection gift baskets, chock full of authentic Louisiana-made products, delivered straight to your door!
- For the person who has “everything” and doesn’t need “stuff”—go with services! Do they like to be pampered? Get them a gift certificate for a massage, facial, or mani-pedi. Got a gun nut? Try a Groupon for the local shooting range. Golf fanatic? Seems like I see Groupons for golf courses at least once a week. And the nice thing about Groupon/Daily Deal/etc specials is that a lot of the time, once your friend goes to get the service, the provider will often offer them a follow-up deal for a discount on a future trip as well in order to keep them coming back. So there’s the potential for your friend to save money, AND give more business to the provider. It’s a win-win!
- Sometimes, even if the product isn’t necessarily domestic, the salesperson is: I’m talking about buying from independent consultants, and products like Thirty-One Gifts, Pampered Chef, or Scentsy… also, my cousin just became an Independent Designer for Origami Owl jewelry, and this stuff is SUPER cute:
- And if someone’s been ESPECIALLY good this year, there’s always Kitchenaid!
(Note: Only the stand mixers, blenders, and coffee grinders are made here in the US. All the accessories are made overseas.)