Friday, May 27, 2011

Have yourself a made-in-China-free Christmas

Someday, I am going to be a radically perfect woman who eats all organic from my personal farm, makes most clothes from hand-woven cloth and buys only fair trade goods. That day is not today. I believe in small changes for the betterment of my immediate family and can simply hope that other families are doing even more and believing in the 'let peace begin with me' way of life.

I have been pretty successful with not buying Christmas and Easter decor from anti-Christian China for the past few years, and I am going to continue. Yes, other countries are also not-so-perfect, but I am starting somewhere. And China is such a giant of  industry, it makes other anti-Christian countries' seem like ants in their efforts to compete. In any case, if I don't start somewhere, I will be paralyzed and do nothing.  Here are some ideas I am going to use that you also might find helpful

1. If you want to join me in reducing your purchases from Chinese manufacturers for Christmas time, we have to start planning now! Make a budget & decide with immediate and extended family about gifts, special meals and travel.

2. Go handmade or thrifted- start with ebay, etsy, and maybe craigslist for ideas for gifts. Buy as you go along. Etsy is a treasure trove of endless handmade delights. So be careful with the pocketbook. You can even have something created only for you with artists competing for your project. You can't do this in December, so start now.

3. Once again, organization is key. Keep a box in your closet for the presents you have already bought (perhaps one box for presents to be mailed and one box for presents that will stay in the house). Duct tape the shopping bag closed for each gift and maybe use a sharpie pen to label it in secret code. I don't wrap until December. Keep a list in your wallet of the people that you have gotten a gift for so you don't forget (ask me how I know)

4. It's hard to feel creative now- school is wrapping up & summer can be the busiest season of all, but start planning and making handmade gifts now. I'm going through all my wayward crafting and sewing items and starting from there. My extended family doesn't 'need' anything, so they will be getting either consumable items or sentimental stuff that they can't get rid of! My family isn't the type that exchanges the latest electronic gadget so there isn't pressure to spend a lot- but I have to get packages in the mail early to save money and stress. My goal is to finish all the gifts before November15th- the beginning of St Phillip's Fast (Advent)

5. Buy less, reuse more, fix what is broken, take care of what you have, find ideas for Advent & Christmas now in blog archives and start now, tell kids they will have an experience (riding lessons, skating party with friends after Christmas day, picnic & movie with dad, visit to grandma's, tea with auntie, etc, etc) rather than an I-Pad 2 like their next-door neighbors, choose a good charity and donate with the children, make some simple quilts for the local crisis pregnancy center, choose a family on the giving tree (but still steer clear of junkish toys) decorate with less and it will be more elegant, clean out the pantry and bake with the entire family- everyone cleans up, bring back bringing plates of cookies to neighbors and co-workers (find a good sugar cookie recipe and then sprinkle in different color-easy), plan to find your place in church & volunteer your time & talents

6. Click on the 'China' topic at the bottom of this post for older posts on this topic. I am probably repeating myself, but I feel strongly about this issue.

7. Just to let readers know, I do not look a gift horse in the mouth and inspect things given to me to see if it was made in China. Not everyone is concerned with this issue, and I am not where I want to be yet- I'm going to try to take the plank out of my eye first. It is a challenge to not buy from China. It is basically impossible when one is on a budget. But I believe we should attempt to reduce our dependence on Chinese manufactured goods as we should reduce dependence on foreign oil. So maybe all we can do right now is walk more and thrift more.

Reasons to Boycott Chinese Made Goods  

with permission from

1) Safety- there have been toys testing positive for lead paint and tainted dog food

2) China frequently imprisons political dissidents who want democracy in China

3) China has hacked into Google and continues to pose a threat to security in the Pentagon

4) China is placing long range missiles to target Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and Guam

5) China dominates the Yellow Sea

6) China sends spies to the United States

7) China invaded and continues to occupy Tibet destroying its culture.

8) China lays claim to Taiwan despite the Taiwanese having an independent government.

9) China is a Communist country with only one political party.

10) China heavily restricts religious freedom.

11) China heavily restricts freedom of speech and information.

12) Many American companies have set up shop in China leaving the US factory worker without a job.

13) China has a one-child only policy. This forces Chinese to make the painful decision to abort or have to support another child on their own.

14) Unfair labor conditions for the average Chinese worker


  1. Yay, PW! Great idea to get us started thinking about this!!! coincidentally, i read this today...’t-involve-“stuff”/

  2. This is my second stop to your blog, and I really appreciate your content. It's a great reminder to start thinking about this stuff now, so that during Advent we can really focus on what matters. Thanks!

  3. Christina- every year, I want to do more meaningful, handmade gifts (or at least not sweat shop made)- so I have to start after easter to get it done (before Lent/easter is just too early for me)
    Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Good for you!! I'm on board. I don't know that I've been a t-totaler but I like you know that if I don't just jump in and start I'll be paralyzed.

    Blessings, Debbie

  5. This is our goal for Christmas 2011: nothing from China, it's a place to start the break from consumerism, if nothing else - tried to buy much, lately, that isn't produced there? And gifts will be made (by hand, ours or a local craftspersons) or found (thrifted, antiqued, etc.).

    More difficult for us will be not buying anything from Mexico - the internal corruption there that has given rise to the Cartels and the violence they perpetrate is it's own human rights crisis. I pray for them daily.

  6. Cottage Child- I know what you mean- news of horrible gender inequality in India is depressing, I am starting with China, and I hope to get more and more 'radical' in my advancing years

  7. I was the chairperson of the "Buy American" committee for my labor union retirees club. We helped educate consumers about the labor practices in China. Sadly, I can't get the Opus Dei bookstore near us to stop selling Christmas cards made in Red China - religious art made by people who would go to jail if they used them for religious purposes.


  8. Just stumbled across your blog. We've also tried going China-free at Christmas. I appreciate your mention of etsy where I have a shop. I make glass saint pendants and happily take custom orders. Those of us who makes things by hand are constantly undercut by cheap knock-offs made by people working in deplorable conditions in the Third World.

  9. Geomama- thanks for the link to your shop- very pretty things!


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