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Keeping Christmas American
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A friend of mine at the Pentagon has told me about an idea that has been circulating on various email circuits. She suggested that everyone make the maximum effort to buy for Christmas only goods, products, and services that are either made in America or that directly support the local community. For example, if a family member goes to a certain barber or hairdresser regularly you can buy a gift certificate for that service, ditto for car services, book certificates for students, etc. I would leave it to everyone’s imagination and ingenuity for how it all would work locally and how the idea could be expanded. As I was watching the endlessly repeated commercials on television during a football game this afternoon (alas, the Jints lost) I realized just how few products were made in America and became a bit annoyed at how we have been trapped into supporting foreign manufacturers because we have frequently not been resourceful enough in supporting our own local economies. As America’s political class really doesn’t begin to understand just how badly many working and middle class Americans are hurting and probably doesn’t care, it would help for all of us who do care to make a conscientious effort to keep at least some portion of holiday spending within our local communities.

(Republished from The American Conservative by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Christmas 
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  1. JJT says:

    A lovely idea. I’ll do my best.

    Trade protectionism would be the best Christmas gift at all. Somehow I doubt the Revolutionary Internationalists in the nominally American government will provide..

  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I have done this for over 7 years, year-round. But you’re right – it is hard to do. Sometimes buying Made in USA is nearly impossible, but it is relatively easy to avoid products made in China if you take the trouble to examine boxes and labels.

    Keep up the good work, Mr. Giraldi.

  3. It’s difficult to know exactly what is and ehat Isn’t made in the USA. Kershaw knives for instance sounds very American but is in fact Japanese. Good knives, but not American.

    The best way to proceed with this is to assemble a clearing house of info on what is made in the USA. It would need to be updated regularly as companies change hands etc.

  4. You can find a list of products manufactured in America at http://www.americansworking.com

  5. Phil — this is a tremendous idea. The “goods” may be difficult as others have mentioned. But the “services” would be easy — gift certificates to local stores and restaurants, for example.

    I have been getting increasingly annoyed with what is an obvious full court press by big commercial enterprises, i.e K-Mart, Toys r Us, to start the holiday buying marathon early, and not only that, convince Americans that it’s alright to spend like there is no tomorrow (and no recession) because this year they are offering LAY-A-WAY. Thanks pal, another way to fleece the poor and make them pay extra for the privilege! I know it’s their job, and their right, and they are evermore desperate to keep the illusion of bounty alive through the first of the year, but it’s all so unseemly and manipulative and well, gross, when you really stop to think about it.

    However, it’s also our job — and right — not to sink our families further into debt and to resist the temptation to “go all out” because that is what we all do, year after year. The almighty god of material consumption has driven this country to hell in a undistinguished, mid-sized luxury car, and its time we return to some semblance of spiritual awareness and sanity.

    So again, I’m all for sticking it to big business and flipping the script when it comes to buying presents this year!

  6. 104639

    Kelley – Thanks for your comment. I too have noted the heavily promoted K-Mart lay away nonsense aimed at the poor in expectation that they will overextend themselves buying junk. You have to pay a management fee and a weekly sum for an eight week lay away…presumably if you miss a payment or are late, which K-Mart is probably relying on, you are punished with some kind of extortionate interest rate lest you lose the money you have already paid.

  7. When you buy gifts at a Craft Fair, you are buying unique and beautiful items that show the recipient you really care. Items at a Craft Fair (not a flea market) are not only made in America, they are mostly made in your neighborhood. Many of the crafters are retirees, veterans and the unemployed. By buying their work you are helping both America and Americans.

  8. Bravo. Buy local. Whether food, services, other goods. First look in immediate area, then regionally, then nationally.

  9. Tom says:

    I’ve got to disagree on the issue of lay away. These were used for a long time by people before just throwing it on a credit card became the thing to do. It may encourage people to overspend, but at least their only overspending what they actually have between now and Christmas, rather than adding to their permanent debt.

  10. Niranjan R says: • Website

    An idea whose time has come – indeed long overdue. I suggested the following in a recent piece (Beyond a Demanding Occupation – http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/10/13/beyond-a-demanding-occupation/):

    “A very simple idea, then. Each time you go to the store, whatever you are buying, note where it is made. If it is made outside the USA (as it is 99% of the time – another 99%-1% issue!), ask the store if they have a made in the USA substitute. If not, either leave saying that you will look for another store where an American-made equivalent is available, or tell them that you will stop buying this non-American-made product after six months. And do. Thousands and thousands of customers insisting on American-made products will make for a groundswell of consciousness, besides sending word up the chain to the 1%, where dollars and cents light up attention as no demand can.”

    But both parties

  11. Niranjan R says: • Website

    …seem to be hell bent on the suicidal (for the country) path of even more free trade agreements…

  12. I’ve avoided buying products that were innovated in the USA and are now under pressure from foreign equivalents. For instance, trucks, firearms, hand tools etc. There is something very American about our pickup trucks, revolvers, ATVs, and other hardware that were either invented or popularized here that should be cultivated. I try to buy gasoline from domestically owned gas stations as well.

    Unfortunately, many “American” companies today are in reality, American subsidiaries of foreign corporations. In that regard, I’d rather patronize a Western European form than a Chinese one. At least that is what I told myself all those years that I bought German cars! Now I drive a very spiffy little Ford that feels like a German car.

  13. Dave says:

    Not sure why a holiday that itself was imported from abroad can’t involve imports.

    Maybe the Magi should have stayed at home and spent their money on local goods, instead of exporting perfectly good gold, frankincense and myrrh for free.

    And maybe Mary and Joseph shouldn’t have moved to Egypt to get away from Herod’s decree.

  14. I find this post particularly interesting, because I received the same e-mail from a senior manager at a small manufacturer that I sell components to. The interesting thing is that most of the components I sell to him for his “made in the USA” product are made overseas. Persistent pricing pressure from competitors that are exclusively importers makes it nearly impossible for me to sell him made-in-the-USA components. In fact, many of the older, traditionally domestic brands that compete with the importers also have production facilities overseas, but their costs are typically slightly higher due to expensive footprints in the USA requiring them to maintain higher margins.

    Many of that customer’s competitors (also customers of mine) boast patriotic slogans about being proud American manufacturers, but they all do the same thing he does. Although I’ve never noticed any of them stamping “Made in the USA” on their products, most of them probably could get away with it. Compliance with the FTC’s “all or nearly all” made in the USA standard is open for at least some interpretation, particularly regarding how far back in the manufacturing process one has to look for foreign content.

    There are a lot of reasons that American manufacturing and the average working stiff are suffering, but the interdependence of commercial relationships that don’t respect borders is not chief among them. Look to your central banking cartel, your fiat currency, and your private sector regulations and subsidies. (And I don’t mean “tax subsidies”, a misuse of the word “subsidy” — as if a mugger who lets you keep your shoes has actually given them to you.)

    Still, I have to agree with the desire to remove the crass commercialism from the celebration of our Savior. His gift, given liberally to all mankind, is not a scarce good. There’s plenty to go around. Why commemorate it with gadgets that don’t begin to convey the spirit of His limitless offering to us? Christmas cheer and joyful expressions of love, though rare, are gifts that one can give to every friend and stranger– regardless of one’s budget.

    That being said, I could use some new sweaters.

  15. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    @Dave… Maybe you are part of the reason why America is in the shape it is in… The continued outflow of American Dollars to foreign countries. The Dollars are not coming back Dave.

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