It is that time of year again. We are now just a few days away from Christmas. As many of you are reading this, you are painfully reminded that you have yet to finish your Christmas shopping. For those of you that have already finished most of your shopping, have you flipped the item over and checked where it was made? Billions of dollars are spent every year on Christmas gifts. This includes the billions that are spent on children’s toys, clothing items, even those sweaters that you dread getting from that eccentric relative. The sad fact of the matter is that an overwhelming majority of those items were manufactured in a foreign country by exploited labor. While around 20% of our nation’s workforce is unemployed or underemployed, those of us blessed enough to still have a job will send much of our hard-earned money overseas.
If I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times: “Those Chinese will own us one day.” This is referring to the fact that a large amount of our nation’s debt is held by the Chinese, and the fact that we continually purchase goods of Chinese origin. At our own peril, we are weakening our nation as we Christmas shop.
I challenge you to become conscious of where you spend your money this Christmas and beyond. Sometimes it requires a little extra effort, but in most cases, if you know where to look, you can always find an “American option.” It is not a challenge that I take lightly, as I have uncompromisingly taken it up myself. Together, we can put our countrymen back to work and be proud of the products that we purchase.
Right now you’re thinking that it is nearly impossible to “buy American.” It is indeed very hard to find that perfect gift that is also made in the USA, but I am going to give you some tips that will make it very possible and very worthwhile. Thankfully we live in an internet age where you can find anything you desire on the World Wide Web. I am going to break down my own experience in buying American for both myself, and for Christmas gifts.
• Many of us will give clothing as gift this year, and thankfully there are some great options out there. All American Clothing Company is a brand that was founded by a former Sales Manager for a major clothing company who took a risk and founded his own company based on a 100% American brand of clothing. All American Clothing Company products are well made, and their customer service is both polite and prompt. You are assured that you are getting a product that is grown in America and crafted by Americans. http://www.allamericanclothing.com/
• Shoes are a popular item that many people enjoy getting for Christmas. New Balance offers an American made line that is stylish, affordable, durable, and comfortable. Since I started buying American made shoes, I have had to buy new shoes less often, and have experienced a much higher level of comfort during activity. http://www.newbalance.com/usa
• Every man needs tools; we insist on tearing things down and never quite getting them back together. For that special someone, man or woman, get them a set of tools that they can enjoy and use forever. While Craftsman and Sears have sold out to the overseas manufacturing for the most part, there are still a few items in the Craftsman line that are still proudly made in the USA. It might have taken me a few extra minutes to hunt down that American made set, but it is well worth the search. My brother-in-law to be will enjoy his set of Made in the USA socket set for the rest of his life.
• Those that know me, and regularly receive gifts of any kind from me, know that I like to give guns, ammo, and gun accessories as gifts. Who can’t use another holster, cleaning kit, or box of ammo? Thankfully, it is not difficult to purchase quality products in this genre. If you ask me, all of the “good stuff” is made in the USA. I am the guy that you bring gun shopping, only to have me try and talk you out of that Glock, and into the Ruger. Hey, I know they’re great weapons, but as you have read above, I do not compromise. If you feel like guns and ammo are appropriate gifts for that special someone, this is a wonderful opportunity to make sure that you are spending your dollars on American goods.
• Still stumped on an American-made gift? Think outside of the box as you give your gifts this Christmas. Give the gift of a local good or service. Purchase a house cleaning from a local cleaning service. Who wouldn’t appreciate an appointment or gift certificate for a massage? Consider searching the internet for that Made in the USA project. There are webpages and organizations dedicated to buying local and buying American. Think about the American worker that has to deliver your package to your doorstep. Simply shopping a “Mom and Pop” store over a Big Box Mart will keep the money here in our economy.
Let’s send retailers a message this Christmas, and in Christmases to come. As we continue to demand and purchase quality, Made in America items, we will begin to turn the tide. One of my college business professors used the term “dollar votes”, meaning that we vote with our dollar every time we spend our money on a goods and services. I don’t know about you, but I am voting American.