As the holidays approach, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide us with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods — merchandise that has been produced at the expense of South African labour. This year will be different. This year South Africans will give the gift of genuine concern for other South Africans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by South African hands. Yes,there is plenty.
It’s time to think outside the box! Who says a gift needs to fit in a shirt box, wrapped in Chinese produced wrapping paper? Everyone – yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local hair salon or barber? Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement. Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car valet’d? Small, South African owned car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of gift certificates.
Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down the cash on a Chinese made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway fixed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or roof waterproofed and painted. There are a gazillion owner-run restaurants – all offering gift certificates. And, if your intended receiver 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 South African with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.
How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorbike, done at a shop run by a South African working guy? Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day. My computer could do with an upgrade, 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 artists and crafters are great. They make jewellery, pottery, knitted stuff, teddy bears, paintings, home preserves, etc. 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 theatre. Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.
Honestly, do you REALLY need to buy more Chinese fireworks to scare your neighborhood’s dogs? If you have those kinds of bucks to burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.
You see, Christmas is no longer about draining South African pockets so that China can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about us South Africans, encouraging small businesses to keep following their dreams. And, when we care about other South Africans, we care about our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.
THIS should be the new South African Christmas tradition.
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