There is an e-mail message making the rounds these days about how to shop at home for Christmas gifts. The name of one version I received is “Buy American This Christmas.” The e-mail offers quite a few suggestions for shopping in your local stores for gifts that everyone can use. Not a bad plan.
The author reminds us that just about everyone gets his or her hair cut during the year and encourages the purchase of gift certificates at your local barber shop or hairdresser. Other gift certificates mentioned include the services of a local cleaning lady, a dozen or so meals at a local restaurant, hiring someone to mow your grandfather’s lawn for the summer, green fees at the local golf course, or a year of oil changes from your neighborhood mechanic.
The e-mail encourages looking for local artists who weave, spin, make jewelry, or pottery. Readers are urged to shop in stores or boutiques that carry locally made or grown products instead of buying from national chains that import most of their merchandise.
There even is a line encouraging readers of the e-mail to contact their local newspaper and have someone adapt it to an opinion column. Someone locally did just that.
And I don’t mind sharing these suggestions at all. They are good ones.
However, I would like to expand them just a little. Go to the city building and purchase some Peabody Bucks. When you tip your hairdresser or waitress during the holiday season, do it with Peabody Bucks. The money stays in the community and helps our local economy.
Have a friend who loves plants and flowers? Make a contribution in her name to Partners of Peabody Parks. They will use the money to plant shrubs or annuals in your friend’s name. Depending on the interests of your friends or family, give in their names to Peabody Township Library, American Legion Avenue of Flags, Peabody-Burns Scholarship fund, Peabody Main Street, the Senior Center, Peabody Historical Society, Peabody Community Foundation, the tree project at the city park or at Prairie Lawn Cemetery.
If your grown children look back fondly at the Christmas lights on the downtown buildings, make a contribution in their names to keep the project going. The local Ministerial Alliance and the food bank help individuals and families in need of food and financial assistance all year long. The HUB is struggling to stay solvent following the death of founder Dale Hague in the spring. They would appreciate contributions to help keep the youth center open for Peabody young people.
I am sure I am forgetting a group or two that does good work locally, but you get the idea. In 2011, make it a new holiday tradition to sit down with your family and see how many local businesses or groups you can support in creative ways, ways that can make a difference in someone’s life or the life of your community.
If you receive that e-mail, keep it going. It sounds like a terrific suggestion to me.
— Susan Marshall