Monday, December 8, 2014

Buying American for the Holidays

"If each one of us spent $64 a year on something actually made in America, we would together create 200,000 jobs." -Diane Sawyer, ABC News.

This is the fourth year in a row that I've committed to buying products made in the USA for everyone on my Christmas list. It isn't easy and I'm lucky my list is pretty short. Besides my boyfriend, I only give gifts to children.

This year was easier than past years because I didn't waste much time looking for stores that simply don't exist. For a wide selection of reasonably priced kid toys, go to fatbraintoys. com and select American made in the search criteria. For adorable, one-of-a-kind, hand-made children's clothes, go to

I am not trying to encourage a boycott of foreign products; I just think if I want to help American workers stay relevant, I have to be willing to put my money where my mouth is.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Spirit of Christmas - Skipping the Gifts

For several years now, my family has decided to donate to charity in lieu of gifts to each other. We have given to Unicef, Heifer, CharityWater, to name a few. Helping someone on the other side of the world to become self-reliant feels better to me than receiving a bunch of things I really don't need. (And it saves on standing in the exchange line on December 26th.) It's much more consistent with the Christmas spirit.

Last year, I chose OxFam and I was able to donate a cow, which is, admit it, just fun. If you donate to them today, they are matching donations until midnight (for Cyber Monday). You can donate a well for $175 or a duck for $30. I think I'm going to give a school meal program for one child. If I donate today, that's two kids

I never donate to charity without checking with I will likely give the bulk of my donation to CharityWater, which is scoring higher this year. Program expenses get 84% of their budget and the CEO makes $192,000. (I can't stand charity CEOs who make millions.) I recommend checking out your charity here before donating. You can even look at their list of top-rated charities if you need ideas.