The holiday shopping season is now in full force, but as you snap up all those gifts, you may have noticed that most of them are made in China.
Walk into a big box retailer or a giant toy store chain, and just about anything you can think of giving as a holiday gift will be made in China.
About the only exceptions are plants and food. If you want to break the cycle, and give gifts made right here in the USA, there are ways of having an American made Christmas.
Melinda Gardner owns a small toy store called "Ted's Toys", Ted is her husband.
As an independent business, she is proud to feature a number of independent toy makers from around the U.S.
Her top pick.
The Spooner grass surf board. Chosen by several magazines as a top toy this year, and it's made in California.
Anther top pick.
Wall coasters. Kids stick this American made roller coaster on their bedroom wall. From the walls to your stairs, and another red, white and blue toy...
"The old fashioned metal slinky. So it works really well on the steps," says Melinda.
From Vermont comes the wooden name train. They spell out your kids name. Vermont also brings us the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, while Pennsylvania brings the fun slides carpet skates.
"Well it's a carpet skate, they are super, super slippery, made from the material used to move furniture," says Melinda.
But what if your kid is now an adult?
Craft fairs are a great place to find American made jewelry and knickknacks. As is your local hardware store.
Manager of Ace Hardware, Jon Doucleff, says there's nothing more American than Craftsman tools.
"The Craftsman hand tools, forged steel hand tools are all made in the U.S." said Jon.
Other red, white and blue products include Maglight flashlights, Igloo coolers and Weber grills, though they contain some imported parts.
One caution, Jon says most power tools, including Craftsman, are made in China, so it's important to check the labels.
Just don't let the flag fool you, American Girl dolls are also made in China.
Melinda and Jon say buying American usually means quality, plus support for American workers.
"Why not? We all live and work here, why not keep your money as close to home as possible?'
Your best bet for finding American made products is to shop at small, independent stores. It will take more time, but in the end you may end up with creative locally made gifts that will be appreciated.
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