Dirt Cheap

cover of "Dirt Cheap" by WynhausenAbout fifteen years ago I took on a reviewing role with our local newspaper. My motives were somewhat mixed, as were theirs, but there were enough benefits on both sides that the arrangement continued for five or six years. I have posted several of those reviews to Green Path under their original dates (examples here) but in this case I wanted to comment on what I wrote all those years ago.

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Christmas 2011 – supporting the community

This arrived via email as one of those passionate but not always articulate pleas written by someone who saw a need and forwarded endlessly (that’s the hope, at least) from friend to friend. I agreed with it enough to spend a few minutes tidying it up, and commend it you.

As Christmas approaches, the giant Asian factories are kicking into high gear to provide Australians with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods.

But this year can be different. This year Australians should give the gift of genuine concern for other Australians. There is no excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by Australian hands. There’s plenty! And, honestly, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand Chinese lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of lights, about fifty cents stays in the community.

Looking for something personal? Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit it into scarves. They make jewelry, pottery and beautiful wooden boxes.

Your small retailers also needs your support! They may not be there for you next year if they don’t have your support this Christmas. So keep them in mind when you’re choosing your gifts – and please look at the labels and support Australian made goods, too.

Remember, this isn’t about big national chains (many of which send their profits overseas anyway), this is about supporting people in your own town or suburb who put their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

And who says a gift needs to fit in a box wrapped in Chinese wrapping paper?

  • EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates from your local hair salon or barber?
  • How about a gift-certificate for a Photo Shoot for a family portrait to reflect back on?
  • Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some health improvement.
  • Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, Australian-owned detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a book of them.
  • Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plunking down the dollars for a Chinese-made flat-screen TV? Perhaps that grateful gift receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or games at the local golf course?
  • How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or motorcycle, done at a servo run by the Australian working guy?
  • Thinking about a really practical gift for mum? She would LOVE the services of a local cleaning lady for a day.
  • My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is struggling to get his repair business up and running.
  • There are a gazillion owner-run restaurants, all offering gift certificates. If you don’t want to give a night out as a gift, hold your own celebrations at a locally owned and operated restaurant and leave your waiter a nice tip.
  • And how about going out to see a play or ballet at your nearest theatre? Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

Christmas is not about draining Australian pockets so that China can build another congested city. Christmas is about caring for each other. And when we care for other Australians, we care for our communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we could not imagine.

This can be our new Australian Christmas tradition!!

Please pass this around – we can make a difference, can’t we?