From the series: Life on Dog Hill

Last year I had a real awakening when, thanks to Diane Sawyer, I became aware of how much I spend on products made in China. It all started when I caught the world news story about how many jobs would be created if everyone spent $64 during the holiday season on products made in the USA.

Easy! I thought. With seven kids and hubby to buy for, I expected to spend $64 x 8. Little did I know where American consumerism had taken our nation. Everywhere I looked — imports. But as the old saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. In the end, we exceeded the ABC challenge but it wasn’t easy. You can read the results from my last year’s experience here.

A couple of days ago ABC kicked off its 2012 Made in America campaign and I’m already well on my way to meeting this year’s challenge. While the majority of products are still imported, I’ve noticed a greater focus on products made in the USA. Another interesting change I’ve noticed since last year is that many of the online sellers no longer indicate where an item is manufactured or they bury the information so deeply in their website that it’s difficult to find. Obviously this is inconvenient when consumers don’t have the time or patience dig deeper. But for folks who are working hard to keep our dollars in our own country, a phone call to the company will give you all the product details. I recently called Tempur-Pedic to confirm where its memory foam pillows were manufactured because they didn’t specifically state that their products were 100% made in the USA. A couple of minutes later, I knew this company was one I wanted to support.

According to ABC World News if every American spends just $64 during the holiday season, we can create 200,000 US jobs! Imagine how many more Americans we can put to work if we make it a practice to always support companies that manufacture products in the US.

This holiday season a Google search provides quite a few website options supporting the Made in America movement and ABC has a great list going too. My biggest tip for those of you jumping on board is to give yourself a little more time to find the right gift. Moreover, you probably won’t find it in the mall or other large retailers like Walmart or Target. Smaller, local stores are a good place to start if you like getting out. For online shoppers like me, Living Social is an excellent online tool since that site is all about local business deals. I’ve bought several birthday and holiday gifts through that website, the latest being a car detail!

The bottom line is that providing a Made in America holiday takes extra time and effort but what a great way for every U.S. citizen to grow our economy. Now that’s a gift that we all can enjoy!

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