The Jam and Jelly Lady

  (Lebanon, Ohio)
Yes You Can!
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Buying American products for the holidays

Something to chew on.  Figuratively speaking.  

This past weekend, I taught a brilliant group of women how to can.  I got paid for my efforts, and was very thankful for the revenue because our business is like any other retail business:  the holidays can make or break our entire year. 

I'm grateful for each and every holiday jam order we receive and every student that I teach, but I get nervous hoping that the farmers I work with for years are as blessed as us. Traditionally, the farmers' products outsell mine in the summer markets because we're ALL reveling in the harvest! But when the harvest is finally "put up" in jars, I get to reap the financial rewards while they tighten their belts for a long winter.

So as I headed to the bank today, I'm thinking about how the stores are packed with imports from so many other countries, all competing for our holiday dollars.  Why not try to find as many ways as possible to spend my money on strictly American products, agricultural or otherwise?  Could I surprise my family with a few gifts this Christmas season, while at the same time supporting my American brothers and sisters?

So I decided, in my small way, I'm going to try something new this year! My daughter is not going to get CZ earrings or clothes made in China.  She's getting fused glass earrings from an artist in town.  And I think maybe a weekend trip with Mom to DC to see the musical "1776"!  On the journey, we'll use our hard-earned cash to pay equally hard-working waitstaff, flight attendants, actors, pilots, cabbies, docents, etc!

Instead of imported electronics, the boys will get annual passes to the local train museum, which they are obsessed with. And we'll support local tourism by riding the train, dining downtown, taking the carriage ride they've always wanted, and spending a little at the shops filled with items made by local craftsfolk.  

My sis and her family may get a CSA share for Christmas - I need to work on that.  And all turkey, veggies, honey, cheese, and eggs used to provide our holiday meals will ALL come from local growers!

Finally, my husband will be getting a load of locally-quarried gravel hauled by the retired guy down the street. No, really, he'll love it...  Nothing is harder on our cars than a bumpy, pot-holed, gravel driveway!!  And I think he needs a dinner at the delicious Wildflower Cafe in Mason, which uses lots of fresh, local foods (they even own part of a local herd that is butchered just for their use!)  And perhaps a couple of gift certificates for oil changes or maybe a detail job for his truck?

He'll also love a new knitted hat and scarf set that I'll pick up at one of the nearby holiday craft shows. I can also nab other small gifts at those shows while supporting churches, schools, and the crafters. Beautiful homemade table settings, wooden toys, artwork, pottery, etc. - all made by talented local craftsfolk who really need and appreciate those dollars!

So, there's my thought.  A little long and drawn out, but you get the jist.   I don't have a beef with other countries - I just want to help out our own for once.  There are people in my little town who just need a little bit more cash to get them through the winter.  The farmers needs a little more help till the spring brings new crops.  I think if we all just think about how we're spending our money a little more carefully (i.e., forgo the new imported 52" flatscreen or 4G cell phone) our friends and neighbors could rest a little easier this winter.

Feel free to add your ideas on this subject.  Write them on this blog.  I'd love to read them!

And that's all I have to say about that. 

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