Wednesday, 21 November 2018

This Thanksgiving and Christmas, Think “Buy American”

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Thanksgiving is the most American of all holidays, going back to the earliest days of English America. (While most associated with the Pilgrims of Plymouth, who settled in 1620, the fact is that the Jamestown residents in Virginia celebrated their own Thanksgiving feasts years earlier.)

In recent years, Thanksgiving has almost been lost between the more commercialized Halloween and Christmas. Families can hardly finish the turkey and dressing before someone pipes up that they need to get to this or that store and buy some product for a sale price. In exchange for a few dollars off on the product, family time is lost forever. It used to be that the sales started the next day — Black Friday — but now, sales often commence before the pecan pies are set out on the table.

This year, if you want to consider products “made in America,” rather than all the imports available in the Black Friday sales, there is a “2018 Made in America Holiday Gift Guide,” compiled by the Alliance for American Manufacturing. The guide “shines a spotlight on companies that support U.S. jobs and the local economy.”

In Alabama, the Red Land Cotton company is a maker of 100 percent North Alabama cotton bedding, bath towels, and home décor. Colorado, on the other hand, boasts “Little Colorado,” which makes unfinished toddler furniture. Sepe Farm in Connecticut is a small lamb farm in Sandy Hook that raises lambs and shears the wool to manufacture blankets, scarfs, and throws. They say that their wool is a much finer grade because the lambs are “raised stress free and eat softer grasses.”

What about a surfboard? In Hawaii, the Timpone Hawaii Surfboards company has been in business on Maui since 1989. Their products are known for their high performance.

For the environmentally conscious, there’s Aardvark Straws in Indiana, which claims to be the manufacturer of the first paper straw in 1888. This Fort Wayne company has straws that are not only durable, but also compostable. In Oregon, you can get vegan nail polish from Claws Out. Wisconsin’s Au Naturale is a cosmetics maker that prides itself on creating “vegan, organic, paraben free and ethical makeup.”

Want to play a game of cards with the family this holiday season? The United States Playing Card Company of Kentucky has a variety of brands with decks for all occasions.

Everyone has heard of Russell Stover, which has been around in Kansas since 1923, making chocolate in two different facilities.

Not every New Balance shoe (Massachusetts) is made in America, but the company does make more shoes in the United States than any of its competitors.

Toys for the kids? American Plastic Toys are made in Michigan, and you can find its products just about everywhere, while Ohio’s Step 2 is the largest manufacturer of preschool and toddler toys in America.

A Montana manufacturer, Fisher Blacksmithing, makes garden tools. Want to keep your dog from digging? Nevada’s Zen Den designs and manufactures pet beds meant to withstand man’s best friend from digging in the wrong place.

Christmas ornaments, jewelry, and other products are the business of Hampshire Pewter, a New Hampshire-based company.

Want to keep your head warm this winter? Check out Seratelli, a hat manufacturer in New Jersey. And in Oklahoma, Ada’s Handcrafted Baskets celebrate the beauty of natural wood and the artisanship of basket-making.

Need a lighter? Zippo is a Pennsylvania company, and the craftsmanship of United Steelworkers has made the lighter legendary. Their lifetime guarantee is “it works, or we fix it for free.”

Denim is always popular (and certainly American). The Diamond Gusset Jean Company of Tennessee has been making denim for both sexes since 1987. Motorcycle riders are probably well familiar with its Defender line.

Texas has SAS Shoes, known for soft, high-quality leather. They make everything from walking shoes to sandals to pumps and boots. Forty-two percent of its employees have been on the job for over 15 years. West Virginia’s Gurkees also makes sandals and belts, as well as leashes and collars for pets.

After Thanksgiving, or Christmas, or any other time, you might want to save that turkey and other leftovers. Bee’s Wrap (Vermont) is a healthier option than plastic wrap. It is washable, reusable, and makes an excellent present.

How are you going to wrap your present? Wrappily is a company with its headquarters in Hawaii and its manufacturing in the state of Washington.

All in all, if one wants to buy American-made, this list provided by Made in America helps one to do it. Just go to their website,, and check out these and many more products.

But first, eat the pecan pie and talk to the family.

Image: MarianVejcik via iStock / Getty Images Plus

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