Please excuse me while I hop onto my soap box for a bit. We've reached the time of year where so many people buy things they don't actually need with money they don't actually have. To top it off, what sells by the boatload is cheaply assembled crap from third world countries made by slave laborers, many of whom are kids.
This country, the USA, was built by entrepreneurs. Whether it was mom selling her excess eggs to neighbors, or a family running a grocery store, small business and cottage industry made this country. Surprisingly, small business and cottage industry is still alive in the US.
So this holiday season, why don't we all make a conscious effort to support our driven, tax-paying brethren. Put something, if not several somethings, on your list, either for yourself of for gifting, that's been hand-crafted right here in the States. I promise you, whether it's something of mine or another artisan, what you will be purchasing will have been made by someone who actually cares about what they're making. That item will be durable and lasting. Odds are it won't need batteries, and it won't break in two or three days. Better yet, if you buy something hand-crafted for a child, the box it came in won't be their favorite part of the gift, and they'll probably still have it to pass down to a child of their own. Let's all make just a small effort to help someone buy their groceries or pay their mortgage... Those high-roller CEOs just don't need a third (or fourth) vacation home.
Stepping off soap box now......