Sunday, November 06, 2011

Think and buy locally as you go a-wassailing and a-caroling and a-gifting this holiday season

The work of Wyoming glass artist Laurie Thal is exhibited and utilized worldwide.  But you can go out to her Teton County studio and gallery and buy locally crafted gifts for under $100. On Saturday, I bought a pair of handmade drinking glasses for $50 and am happy to report that they each one is just right for a 12-ounce Pako IPA handcrafted by the Snake River Brewing in Jackson. What could be more Wyoming than that? In photo above, Laurie is shown at her furnace that is filled with molten glass. To book glass studio tours and workshops, go to
Hummingbirdminds is about a lot of things. It is about your blowhard editor regaling you with his deeply held beliefs. It is about progressive politics. It is about fine food and great craft beers. It is about snark.

Most of all, it is about my community. I am a locavore, as much as I can be in high-and-dry-and-cold Wyoming. I also love and promote locallit, localart and localtunes. And what better time to support all that than during this holiday season when all of us will be a-wassailing, a-caroling and a-buying gifts for our loved ones?

I spied the following post by Joseph Segal on the Rebuild the Dream Facebook page. It sums up the “buy local” theme for me this holiday season. As I read it, I kept trying to tally those local businesses that I had patronized the past month or so. Ariel Casiano and his crew aerated my lawn and trimmed my trees. Our family dined at the Morris House Bistro, owned and operated by local entrepreneurs. I got my hair cut last week by local stylists who happen to make their living via the CostCutters chain. I ate at Shadows Brewpub downtown which makes its own beers.

The list is long. Read this and find other ways to help your local economy:

Christmas 2011 -- Birth of a New Tradition

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 plunking down the Benjamins 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.

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, 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 ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five 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

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