Archived Story

Dreaming of an American Christmas?

Published 12:00am Sunday, November 13, 2011

Halloween is less than two weeks gone. Thanksgiving is still on the horizon. Yet it is starting to feel a lot like Christmas — especially if you visit any of the big-box retailers who seem intent on trying to one-up each other every year.

Pretty soon Christmas decorations will pop up in July.

Each year, The Tribune tries to urge people to “shop local,” although that can be difficult at a times.

But a recent email chain letter that has taken off grabbed my attention because, according to this message, that phrase is about far more than geography.

I don’t share these types of things too often, but here is the bulk of this “American Christmas” letter:

“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. 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.

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 plonking down the Benjamin’s 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.

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 heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would love the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.

… 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.

Honestly, people, do you really need to buy another 10,000 Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a $5 dollar string of light, 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.

This is the new American Christmas tradition.”

I cannot argue with the logic in this. It gives us all the chance to play Santa Claus for local businesses and ensure everyone’s holidays are a little happier.


Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at


  • Bluemule

    Its about time Americans stood up for themselves, we’ve had the power all along, just did not come together to use it against corporate greed. Two recent good examples are the fleeing of Netflix customers, and the fleeing of BOA customers. Next, should be the refusal to shop at these big box retailers who are set to open on Thanksgiving, lets do as this article says and spend our money at places here at home where the money spent stays here at home with local owners. Just be careful where you buy gift cards locally for restaurants, be sure its a place that has been around a while and is stable….I remember a couple of letters to the editor earlier this year where the restaurant they bought the gift cards from closed with no way to recoup the money spent on the gift card. Have a Merry new Christmas tradition!

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Michael Caldwell–Like your sentiment in this subject, and have thought about it. Would love to buy hometown or even tri-state, locally made/produced items, but how does one become aware of what is available?
    Did try out the business search at the top of the page but didn’t get very far.
    Did try somewhat on scarves and local meat,found one in kitts hill on meat, “dickess”, but ended up with no luck for scarves.
    Is their an easier way?
    I’m somewhat a hometown shopper in the sense of shopping at Iron City and Central for hardware and Ungers for shoes, but never thought of fruit and vegetables and meat from local producers although was reminded of the market on third street.
    I will confess that like most people I fall for convenience and forget about our local producers.

    (Report comment)

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