of the Christmas shopping season is bringing much
welcomed economic activity to our beleaguered business
communities. Early analysis indicates that retail sales
this year on “Black Friday” were nearly 20 percent
higher than on the same day last year.
that Americans buy about 25 percent of their annual
retail purchases during the Christmas season. In fact,
the average family spends more than $1,500 on Christmas
related purchases. This annual surge in shopping
activity provides rural communities the very real
opportunity to help themselves by buying locally
provided services and locally produced products.
instance, I estimate that there are at least 20,000
households living within a few minutes driving distance
of the greater Klamath Falls retail community that will
spend well more than $30 million dollars during this
Christmas season. More than 80,000 household in the
Medford area will spend in excess of $120 million and
the 8,500 households in the Prineville area will spend
more than $12 million.
We all know
that a lot of the Christmas gifts that we buy and
receive are not really needed and are often not even
used. What if we made a conscious effort to purchase
things that people actually use every day? What if we
focused only half our Christmas spending on locally
provided services and locally produced products? We
could pump tens of millions of dollars into our local
business communities during the next five weeks working
together to buy locally.
purchasing gifts for future services we would help to
create and sustain the local jobs that provide those
services. That job sustaining activity would extend far
beyond the Christmas season. Folks could redeemed their
gift card services, or use them to purchase locally
produced products, over a period of several weeks or
months. The money would stay in our communities and
serve to strengthen the small businesses that create and
sustain the preponderance of private sector jobs.
countless services that people need, use and enjoy can
be purchased as a Christmas gift.
automobiles: car wash, cleaning and detailing, oil
change, tune-up, mount or dismount snow tires, wheel
alignment, brakes and auto body or mechanical repair.
households: dry cleaning, interior cleaning, window
washing, interior painting, carpet and vinyl, exterior
painting, deck repair, rain gutters, and even remodeling
yards: lawn and yard care, weed eating, tree trimming,
pick up and disposal of garbage and junk, driveway
repaving or replacement gravel, and the purchase of
locally grown plants, shrubs and trees for landscaping
youth: movie theater tickets, bowling, music lessons,
skating lessons, skiing lessons, tutoring and job
opportunities such as babysitting, tutoring, or yard
pets: grooming, boarding, veterinary care including spay
and neuter, vaccinations, microchip identification,
dental care, and annual wellness exams.
services: gift certificates to your favorite restaurant
or coffee shop, take-out fast food, bakeries, coffee
kiosks, meat markets or supermarket gift card.
treatments: hair care, manicure, pedicure, facials,
massage, weight loss programs, exercise programs,
personal training, and dental care including teeth
cleaning, whitening and repair.
care: Meal preparation, transportation, and help with
personal hygiene and home maintenance.
business: tax preparation, financial and investment
planning, debt counseling and mortgage consultation.
money and goods contributed to local charities such as
the Food Bank, Gospel Mission, Goodwill, Salvation Army,
and many others will not only help other less fortunate
people during the Christmas season and beyond, but will
also circulate through the community helping to
stimulate local commerce and to create and sustain local
only a few of innumerable Christmas gift possibilities.
We can make a significant difference in our local
economy by focusing our purchasing power on local
provided services and locally produced products. We also
may find that the gifts that we give and receive are
actually both more useful and better appreciated.
gifts that truly keep on giving by circulating and
re-circulating through our business communities. A cash
infusion of tens of millions of dollars into our local
economies, for the benefit of those local economies, can
only benefit our people and the communities where they
remember, if we do not stand up for rural Oregon… no one