Black Friday and the Christmas shopping season have been built up over the years into a huge display of consumerism. I'm not going to lie, I loved it as a kid but now in adulthood it makes me sad to see so many people wrapped up in the pursuit of stuff. I'm glad Thanksgiving comes immediately before the madness, as a time to do what's truly important - spend time with the family, share a meal and be thankful for all the good things already in our lives. That said, going against social customs and family traditions would be awkward and probably hurt people's feelings so even if you're not a fan, chances are you are participating in the mass exchange of stuff that has become Christmas. To get that stuff we have to buy it and to buy it somebody has to make it. Sadly, the majority of that stuff is made in Asia, which means another year of the former wealth and power of the United States being siphoned away to foreign lands.
All is not lost though, there are still good US made options for those willing to do a little looking. In fact, this is the most important time of year to make that choice because of the disproportionately large amount of money that will be spent in the next 31 days. Retailers exist to make money and are always looking to provide what customers want so they can make as much as possible. If they see more people are choosing to buy American, they will offer more options that fit that criterion, or even better, pressure suppliers currently producing overseas to shift their factories back to our own soil. The story of Lincoln Logs, a toy I grew up playing with and remember fondly, is a good example of how perceived consumer demand resulted in an iconic American product being built in the land of its creation once again. If you're interested and want to keep this success story going, you can find them for sale here: Lincoln Logs (This is an affiliate link, fyi).
Here are some additional ways in which you can help encourage retailers and manufacturers to offer products made in the USA:
- Do people ask you what you want for Christmas? Tell these people that you care deeply about supporting US workers and that gifts which do that are especially appreciated. I've done this for years and now I've managed to get my dad partially on board as well.
- When buying gifts for people who don't have a specific request, try finding a US made products first. This scenario also fits Secret Santa events and donations to Toys for Tots.
- In cases where there is a specific request, like a good kitchen knife, look for American made options first.
- When you're out shopping in physical store, if you can't find a US made options, stop by customer service and let them know the reason they missed out on a sale . If you did find a good selection of US made goods drop a thank you note at customer service instead. Many companies pay close attention to public feedback so if even a small number of us speak up, it may sway a decision maker to make the right decision for a change.
- If you're shopping online and the product listing doesn't include a country of origin, ask a question or leave a comment if possible.
- If you have a US made products you love enough to recommend, give them some love on social media.
- Please share this blog on social media :) You can find America Reforged on Facebook.