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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shop locally this Christmas

Republishing a Classic Progressive Charlestown article
Every year as the holidays approach, foreign factories kick into high gear to provide Americans with mass quantities of cheaply produced goods—merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. Why not make this year different? Give gifts that will make a difference to people in our own community. It's simply not true that you can't buy anything that's made in America anymore. You just have to think outside the box. 

By Linda Felaco

Who says a gift needs to fit in a box, wrapped in fancy paper that will just be torn up and thrown away? Everyone gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local hair salon or barber, like Rebecca's down on Old Post Road in our Traditional Village District?

The dog lovers on your list I'm sure would appreciate a gift certificate to get their dog groomed down at Mutley's on Charlestown Beach Road.

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 has some dents and dings in their car that they wouldn't mind having straightened out at one of our local body shops like Crotty's or Sherman's on South County Trail. Or perhaps they'd like a truckload of gravel for their driveway, or their lawn mowed for the summer, or their driveway plowed all winter. Or maybe there's a home-improvement project they've been wanting to do that you could arrange with a local builder to have done for them. Or you could buy them a summer's worth of produce or seafood through one of our local community-supported agriculture or fishery groups.

And of course anyone with a car, truck or motorcycle periodically needs an oil change.
Christmas at Town Hall.

What about our fine local restaurants? I'm sure Hungry Haven, or The Gentleman Farmer, or The Cove, or Breachway Grill, or K&S Pizza, or Small Axe Cafe would be happy to sell you a gift certificate in whatever denomination you choose. And the best part is, they will give you an actual certificate rather than a nonbiodegradable piece of plastic that will end up in the landfill. Nordic Lodge mints their own gift coins. Remember, folks, this isn't about big national chains—this is about supporting your hometown establishments with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open. Also make sure to plan your holiday outings at local, owner-operated restaurants and leave your server a nice tip.

Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local housecleaner. And maybe Dad could use some new power tools from Pat's Power down on Old Post Road.

OK, you were looking for something more personal, or you need gifts to send to folks who don't live in the area. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit it into scarves and hats. They make jewelry and pottery and beautiful wooden boxes. Check out the web site for the HopArts Studio Trail for info on local artists.

And honestly, do you REALLY need to buy another 10,000 Chinese lights for the house and consume more electricity, which is generated by fossil fuels? Just to have the string of lights end up in the landfill when the bulbs burn out? If you have that kind of money to burn, leave the mailman or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

Christmas doesn't have to be about emptying our wallets and sending the money to overseas manufacturers. Christmas should be about keeping American small businesses—which generate the most jobs—alive. Keeping our money in our local communities helps keep jobs here. Help end the recession. Spend your money on American-made goods and services this Christmas.