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Christmas Shopping? Try Buying American!

Guess what I’m doing again this year?

I’m kicking the Chinese habit…what’s that, you say? Not Chinese food, which I love, despite the calories. I’m going to try to stop buying Chinese and other foreign-made products to do my part to save our country. It won’t be easy, for sure, but I feel I, we all, have no choice.

I took my six-year-old granddaughter to the dollar store this summer to buy art paper and supplies. While there, she checked out several other toys. “Grandma, every toy here is made in China. Why can’t I find something made in America?” Good question.

We’ve become accustomed to buying what’s inexpensive or easy to grab, since we’re always in a hurry. Consequently, we don’t always pay attention to the quality of a product or where it was made.

Buy American

Amidst the holiday reds and greens, don’t forget to look for the Red, White and Blue
(c) Can Stock Photo

America has lost the majority of its manufacturing businesses to other countries. Our big businesses find labor cheaper in China, even with the added shipping costs. As a result, America has lost money and power. Due to many of the foreign policies we’ve adopted, we are no longer perceived as a super power, but as a joke. A country who bases its economy mainly on service businesses will fail. That’s what’s happening to Greece, Italy, and Portugal. Conversely, Germany is more industrial and is surviving.

When President Clinton lifted the trade embargo, he sealed our fate. It’s been said that if all adult Americans refrain from buying $20 worth of Chinese-made products, we could have a $4 billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor…FAST!

Diane Sawyer stated in a news report, “ If every American spent a mere $64 more than normal on USA made items this year, it would create about 200,000 new jobs.”

 

Let’s seriously consider making a change this holiday shopping season.

Our economy has taken a hit like none other since the Great Depression. No one truly knows the outcome and how things may change. Many people have cut back on their spending and gasoline usage to help relieve their personal financial situation. We can do more.

We can’t rely on the government to put politics aside and make the right decisions to correct the economic issues, so we must take some action on our own.

Let’s make it a new American tradition – buy American made products and support owner-operated businesses in your community.

If you feel the same way, here are a few ways you can help your own and the country’s economy:

  1. Consider buying better quality American-made products for your home and family.
  2. Spend your dollars at your local small businesses.
  3. Your grocery store may have a section that displays locally made food products.
  4. Read labels and avoid any product made in China or labeled PRC.
  5. Shop for gifts at art or craft shows for handmade goods.
  6. Realize the real bargain is supporting American-made goods which will create jobs in this country and make the country strong again.

Having trouble finding American made products as I did? Try these ideas for Christmas gifts. They all support your local business people:

  1. Give a gift certificate for a hair salon, a massage, nail salon or a facial.
  2. Gas cards are a great idea with gas prices still so high.
  3. Treat your giftee to a night out at favorite restaurant or a neighborhood movie theater.
  4. Hire temporary maid service for a harried mom, an elderly relative or a sick friend.
  5. Give the gift of lawn mowing, snowplowing or driveway sealing.
  6. Grocery Store gift cards are always welcome.
  7. Who wouldn’t love a certificate for car detailing, car washes  or an oil change?
  8. How about a  gift card for greens fees or a gym membership?
  9. Local theaters sometimes offer big name music concerts and local productions of Broadway plays.
  10. For the hobbyist, buy an Adult Education class for cooking or painting lessons, learning a computer language, dancing, woodworking or basket making.
  11. A local computer geek may be struggling to get his computer repair business up and running.
  12. Every community is rich with crafters who spin wool and weave it into beautiful accessories, hand-form pottery vessels, craft elegant wood furniture, or create designer-like jewelry.

For a big selection of American-made toys click here. You’ll find something for everyone on your list, including yourself and for your home here. Etsy is becoming a widely known location for excellent handmade goods.

JUST SAY NO TO FOREIGN-MADE GOODS!

I hope these ideas and links make it easier to get into buying locally made products. We need to get our people back to work, get our economy back on its feet. We can’t do that if we send our money overseas.

One last note: Gifts lovingly handmade by you would be cherished by your family and friends. That’s just one more option for trying not to buy foreign-made goods.

Do you have any more American-made gift ideas? 

Have you discovered other things we can do to help ourselves and our country? 

 

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Discussion

  1. Nancy J Nicholson  December 7, 2012

    Marcia, I think this is a great idea. Here in the islands most countries impose a 15% VAT (valued added tax) on anything and everything that’s imported. Makes buying local a high priority. If foreign made goods weren’t so inexpensive, buying American would be much easier.

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    • Marcia Richards  December 7, 2012

      That’s really interesting, Nancy. Why can’t our “superpower” of a country and its president realize that’s what we need? We also need more manufacturing here. The Fair Trade laws need to be revoked. I suppose the only way we can get through to our government is by not buying foreign goods.

      We need to start a serious movement! :)
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  2. Angela Orlowski-Pear  December 6, 2012

    Marcia, this is an awesome post. If only people in this country stopped and think before making at least some of the purchases, we would be in much better shape as a nation. I only would add one thing to this: let’s not buy cr** that very soon ends up in American land-fields (aka Chucky Cheeses type of toys – all made in China).
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    • Marcia Richards  December 6, 2012

      I so agree with you, Angela! there is way too much junk in our landfills and too much on the store shelves as well! The low quality toys don’t last one season and I’ve also seen my grandkids clothes purchased in decent stores fall apart after two months! If I were younger and had more time, I’d make my grandkids’ clothes!
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  3. Kate MacNicol  December 6, 2012

    I agree with you Marcia. I was so mad the other day when I went to our local Wal-mart, picked out a bag of frozen salmon that said Alaskan Salmon and then in small print at the bottom it said it was packaged in China. I didn’t buy it. I’ve really tried to buy American over the years and buy local. I really, really like your tips and some of the suggestions of your readers. Thanks!
    BTW, I did find Alaskan Salmon packaged in Alaska at a small local store, which once again proves your point.
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    • Marcia Richards  December 6, 2012

      Holy cow, Kate! How can they say it’s Alaskan Salmon if it’s packaged in China! Do they catch it in Alaska and ship it to China for packaging? How stupid would that be? And how old is that salmon by the time it hits Walmart? Eww. Glad you went elsewhere and passed up the foreign garbage.

      I guess, as you attest, buying from an independent local business is the best way to find American products. But even some indie retail stores buy foreign goods, so check labels anyway.
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  4. Inion N. Mathair  December 5, 2012

    We live in a very small town in Western North Carolina and we use as many local shops as we possibly can. I think if more Americans stuck with that mantra, it would help so much. Wonderful post!
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  5. Diana Douglas  December 5, 2012

    Not buying foreign-made was one of my New Years resolutions for 2012. When shopping for myself or friends that like vintage, I frequent the thrift and resale stores. Though most of what I find was not originally manufactured in the USA, approximately 95% of what I spend on resale items stays in the local economy.
    If you need to buy new (I don’t give used gifts unless the recipient is also a fellow thrifter), this can be a challenge–particularly when it comes to electronics. Sometimes there’s just no choice! But if we all made an attempt to keep our dollars in the US when possible, our economy would be in much better shape.
    Thank you for posting this. It needed to be said.
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    • Marcia Richards  December 5, 2012

      That’s exactly my message, Diana. Wherever you can, buy American-made goods. Even better buy locally made goods. Small businesses are the backbone of this country and they need our help. I’ll be repeating this message every year until things change. Thanks, g/f!
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  6. karensdifferentcorners  December 5, 2012

    I’ve been trying to do this for years. I have been telling people we are our own worst enemy, but sometimes, due to the economy, we find ourselves buying the cheapest items. One problem is, we don’t know what we are getting, from lead paint in the children’s toys, to salmonella in our doggy treats. One suggestion is to buy hand-crafted items from small independently owned shops. Don’t have one in your area or doing your shopping online? Try http://www.etsy.com/
    where you can find some great gifts and everyday items, all handmade. I sound like an ad! LOL But they do have some great things, from handmade toys, clothes, bath products, jewelry, and more, at reasonable prices.
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    • Marcia Richards  December 5, 2012

      Hi Karen. I agree with you. Cheap is not always the best way to go and we can choose to give homemade gifts in their place. When we’re talking young children, we have a harder time giving American-made toys because they are next to impossible to find. Unless you can sew or create wood toys, or order from Etsy or a local crafter, we’re out of luck. Kids are so heavily marketed on TV that they believe they must have the latest toys or they’ll be outcasts among their friends.

      That’s the next issue to deal with. :)
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  7. Jess Witkins  December 5, 2012

    Crazy facts about the dollar amount impact there!

    Joe and I try to shop local as much as possible. I’ve gotten several of my gifts this year from a new all handmade beauty shop – soaps and lotions, etc. And lots of local businesses run great gift card promos this time of year too! I try to get myself a massage gift card while that’s happening and they’re also a great gift too!

    Fantastic ideas, Marcia! And don’t forget the baked goods! Tasty treats or homemade mixes for dips and holiday drinks are a fun idea too!
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    • Marcia Richards  December 5, 2012

      Great ideas, Jess! I’m doing lots of homemades for Christmas this year – but I can’t say what just in case my kids read this. I’ll be doing lots of gift baskets every year. It’s way more fun than shopping in crowded stores!
      Marcia Richards recently posted..Christmas Shopping? Try Buying American!My Profile

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  8. Kitt Crescendo  December 5, 2012

    What a great idea, Marcia! I think I’ll try to join you this year. :-)
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  9. Helen  December 5, 2012

    Absolutely agree! I have bought some of the things you suggested and try hard not to buy out of the country, but sometimes it’s pretty limited. Hope that changes soon. Great article M.

    (reply)
    • Marcia Richards  December 5, 2012

      Yes, for your grandboy, that’s tough. But for the adults, you should be able to find most of what you need locally or find ideas on Pinterest. Remember when we used to exchange gift baskets? We got really creative with mostly local foods and gift items. I loved that! Thanks for coming by, my friend!
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