We're not big fans of forwarded e-mails, but we recently received this and couldn't help but want to share.
As the holidays approach, the giant factories overseas have been in high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of goods - merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year can be different. This year Americans can 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?
Almost everyone gets their hair cut, for example, and that money stays on these shores in the hands of an American business owner who spends it in their community. 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. Many people use the new year as a jumping off point for a healthier future and you can help with a gift certificate to the local gym.
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 think nothing of plunking 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 home town Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
Don't forget a gift certificate for a local bed and breakfast. Many owners of these establishments have been barely scraping by during these times and your thoughtful gift helps them get through the winter while also giving the recipient the promise of a wonderful getaway.
How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working family?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. Or a month.
Many computers could use a tune-up, and some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running would love your business.
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. Many of those musicians have CDs available and a great deal of this music is really, really good. Of course we really love The Train Singer, but you must have your favorites, too.
Honestly, people, 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. If your local mom and pop operation does well enough, they tend to employ more of us and that's good for everybody.
That's how we get America back to work. Your gift to someone else may mean the gift of a job for someone. Wow.
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?
Life isn't about how to survive the storm but how to dance in the rain.