Contributed by Jimmy Simmons, a high-school classmate of Walton County District 2 Commissioner Chuck Bagley. The actual authorship of the piece is unknown, but it is circulating on a number of Tea Party and other websites.
As the holidays approach, the giant factories throughout Asia 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.
I think this year should be different. I believe this year Americans should consider the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There can no longer be an excuse that, at gift-giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Of course there is!
It's time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to be a Japanese or Korean gadget 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? You want to be a bit more extravagant? How about a gift certificate to a nearby spa for a massage — or a manicure or pedicure?
Gym membership? It's appropriate for all ages. Everyone should be thinking about some health improvement these days.
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.
How about a contribution to a 525 Plan for a grandchild's — or a niece or nephew's — college education?
Are you one of those extra-generous givers who think nothing of plunking down the Benjamins on a Chinese-made flat-screen TV? Perhaps that grateful gift recipient would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or driveway plowed all winter, or a few games at the local golf course.
There are a gazillion 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 help them 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 an American working guy?
Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day — or a number of days, if you’re feeling particularly generous.
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 theater?
Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand foreign-made 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 delivery person and babysitter a nice BIG tip.
You see, Christmas should no longer be about draining American pockets and seeing our hard-earned wages go outside the country. Christmas could be about caring about the U.S., 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 should be a new American Christmas tradition. Enjoy family get-togethers, church services, caroling, as in past Christmases, but put more emphasis on the REASON FOR THE SEASON and less on material gifts.