I got this 'chain email from my mother-in-law a couple weeks ago. Usually I immediately hit delete on chains. I get over 100 emails a day so the delete key is my friend. But this one caught my eye and hits right along the Small Business Saturday concept:
As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods -- merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This year will be different. This year Americans will 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. Oh....Yes there is!
It is time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper?
Everyone -- yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. 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.
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 TV? 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 gazillion 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.
How many people couldn't use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?
Thinking about a heart felt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts peoples pin 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 yourserver 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.
Honestly people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lightsfor the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about fiftycents 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, the holidays are no longer about draining American pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas and Hanukkah are now about caring about US (We the People) , 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 could not imagine.
THIS is the new American Christmas tradition!!
This year instead of the new bike I just knew I was going to ask from our local WalMart, I am asking to have my current bike taken to our local "Marty's Bike Repair" down the road: new tires, grease the chain, oil the brakes, make it just like new. Instead of new sweaters or socks from Target or Kohls I would love to have the inside of my van detailed. Long road trips with four boys, running around town from soccer practice, to school functions, to church-get togethers lead to a /very/ milk stained, food crusted, just-plain dirty car interior. Perhaps a local car-detailer will have gift certificates. A few home decor items from a local antique store would be a lot of fun! (Even the opportunity to go antique or craft shopping with friends or family would be a gift.) Gift cards to dinner at my favorite new local-restaurant 'Wood and Wine' would be wonderful. Just the little things. My list won't be long this year but I would love to know that the gifts to me were also a gift to the local businesses that so deserve it.
What are your thoughts? Will you be participating in Small Business Saturday? Will you make it a point to invest in the local economy? Before you head out be sure to see if there are local military-discounts. MOST of our MilitaryAvenue Partners are those small-local businesses. They want to meet you, the military family. Become their customer this Christmas Season. http://militaryavenue.com/RewardFinder.aspx
Best wishes for a joyous Holiday Season -
Leanne from MilitaryAvenue.com