Christmas Outsde the Box

As the holidays approach people all over the world are spending more than they do at any other time of year. Giant Asian factories have been in high gear making cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of more local business and labour
This year can be different. This year we can give the gift of genuine concern for those around us. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced locally. It’s time to think outside the box,(and the “Big Box”stores). 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 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, locally owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate.
Instead of plonking down the dollars on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like their driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the
summer, or driveway cleared all winter, or a few rounds at the local golf course.

There are a multitude of owner-run restaurants — all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, this isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting home town business’s with their financial lives on the line
trying 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 a local working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt 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.

Looking for something more personal: Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves,mitt’s and sweaters. They make jewelery,candles, pottery and beautiful wooden boxes. Elegant jars filled with jams,jellies and relishes.
What about a book by a local author, fiction and non-fiction. There’s a gift for everyone on your list.
Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip. How about going to see a play or ballet at a local theatre.
Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

You see, Christmas is no longer about draining our pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about us,
encouraging OUR small businesses to keep plugging away, to follow their dreams. And, when we care about them, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.

This Christmas the dollars you spend could save a local persons job, or stop a business from closing it’s doors. And. who knows, the job you save may be your own.

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