Ways To Help The 99% This Holiday Season
Have you ever wondered how you can do your part to help the U.S. economy? I'm not talking about the multi-millionaires who have helped to ruin our economy, but your local businesses and neighbors. If you are a typical American, each holiday season is spent buying large quantities of cheap, foreign goods, wrapping them in dollar store, foreign made wrapping paper, and giving them to people who may return the items for more foreign made products. Is it any wonder that our economy is in so much trouble? Nothing can be purchased that was made by American hands! Or is there? Why not make a difference this year and support your neighbors and local businesses this Black Friday? A gift does not need to fit in a shirt box. Think outside of that box and give the people on your gift list something they can use and something that will help our struggling economy. If everyone would do this during the holiday season, just imagine the impact we could make on our lives? Here are five gift ideas Ways To Help The 99% this Holiday Season.
Instead of running out to buy that gift card from the local big box chain store that sells only imported items, why not help the 99% by shopping at a locally owned shop. Everyone you know goes to get their haircut. A good present is to find out where they get their hair done and buy a gift certificate from their local salon. Why not buy them a massage? A car wash or - if you are a big spender - a car detail or maid service are also fantastic gifts. The point is, you are taking control away from the 1% who own the big chains and buying from people just like you.
Some people like things a bit more personal. Why not buy a personalized craft for them from a local craft vendor? During the holiday season, you will find dozens of craft shows with local business people making items. If Americana isn't your thing, who wouldn't want a homemade comforter for their bed or a seasonal flower arrangement? These type of gifts help out people who usually don't have a brick and mortar store and are just trying to supplement their income using a trade that they know.
We all have someone in our families who own everything they would ever need. It is people like this that a restaurant gift certificate makes a wonderful present. Don't buy the one from a big chain, though. If you know the person loves Italian food, find a local, family-owned Italian eatery. If they aren't the dinner-type, why not try a breakfast place or buy them an evening at a location that features live music. This way you are supporting two local groups at one time! Another idea is to get them a month at a local gym. It's appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement. The goal is just to put the money back into your community and quit helping unknown billionaires - many of whom aren't even from the U.S.!
If you are still looking for gift ideas by this time, there are other gifts that can help people out. Some of the elderly need help around their homes. Why not buy these people in your life some lawn care or have their driveways shoveled? This not only helps them out, but it gives a job to the kid down the street who is looking for extra money. Buy someone a game of golf at their local greens or have their driveway sealed (if you are looking for a more extravagant gift). If you are one of those people who have to have 500,000 Chinese made light bulbs on your house each holiday, remember this: Only about fifty cents of each string goes back into the community. Wouldn't it be better to give five dollars to the paper boy who delivers your newspaper or the mailman who brings you your mail? The holidays are a time for giving, but help the people around you first instead of supporting foreign countries with their exports.
So, by this time you might be asking yourself: "How is this going to help me? I don't own a business and even if I do, this isn't the type of information that is going to help me." This is where you are wrong! You live in your community. The taxes people pay go into your hometown. The people in your community that you hire or buy from have the opportunity to keep their homes, pay off their student loans and become productive members of society. That makes your property worth more and your neighborhood a safer place to live and raise your children. Think about it. If we all work together and buy just one half of the items we'll be giving to people this holiday, how much would it serve your own needs in the end? If you live in a town of 25,000 people and each one of them spent only $25 on their hometown businesses, they would increase the revenue of the town by a half million dollars! It doesn't take much to help your community.
If you are interested in more tips on how to help your community, join my Facebook Fan Page: Americans For U.S. Small Businesses.
The ideas on this list were submitted by Alan and Jackie Zabiegala who own small businesses in Northeast Ohio.