Monday, November 28, 2011

Final Word on Christmas. Maybe ...

One of the great things about writing a blog is receiving links to interesting websites and articles, being forwarded emails of interest and people generally bringing up what we're doing in conversation. A couple of weeks ago a friend forwarded this email to me.

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

 Christmas quickly approaches, the giant Asian factories are
 kicking into high gear to provide Australians with monstrous piles of
 cheaply produced goods and merchandise, produced at the expense of
 Australian labour.

This year will be different.

This year Australians will give the gift of genuine concern for other
 Australians. Christmas 2011

There is no longer an excuse that, at gift-giving time, nothing can be
 found that is produced by Australian hands. Yes there is.  It's 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, so 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, Australian-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 dollars on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful
 gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the
 summer, 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 Australians 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 an Australian worker?

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mum? Mum 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, maybe you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts
people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make
jewellery, 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.>
Honestly folks, 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 do have those kinds
of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, garbage man or babysitter a nice
BIG tip.

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

THIS is the new Australian Christmas tradition.

I don't agree with everything in it; the feel of it is a little too jingoistic for my liking. For us, it isn't so much WHERE something is made but HOW. By using some of the ideas suggested in the email, however, we can give gifts that have not been made in an eco-unfriendly or unethical way. I've already spoken to both my sister and sister-in-law about it and we've come up with some good ideas. My sister suggested we get her family baseball tickets. I never would have thought of that. Over the past few years, with all branches of the family being so busy, I've lost touch with who my nieces and nephews are so I've just given them cash or vouchers. I know these gifts have been appreciated but, by actually making the effort to get more information, I'm relearning what they like and what kind of people they have grown into. These aren't the kinds of gifts for everyone but, even if I do it for a couple of people, it's better than nothing.


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