What a wonderful way to stimulate and support the American economy - thinking "made in the USA" when brainstorming a Christmas gift list. Focusing purchase power on goods that originate in the USA keeps money in this country and keep both businesses and employees working, thereby earning a living. Stringent quality control standards that have been put into place (and practiced) also ensure a higher quality gift.

When shopping, especially at "big box" stores, it can seem a daunting task to hunt through the mountain of foreign made goods to find the perfect gift, for a special person, that is labeled as being produced in the USA. There are a few tips that can significantly increase sightings of this elusive prey.

Craft Shows

Entering a craft show during the Christmas season (or the months leading up to it) is like stepping into an indoor winter wonderland. Carols playing in the background, delicious scents from the food stalls wafting through the air, and the splendid array of unique handmade items are guaranteed to uplift anyone's spirit. There is no guarantee, it is true, that the components of each craft are of US origin but the product itself has been. Shopping Christmas craft shows is a wonderful opportunity to not only find those "one of a kind" items that are perfect for even the toughest person to shop for, but also to keep the economic support within the local community.

Small Independent Shops

Big Box and other chain stores are restricted by the powers that be when it comes to what can be ordered and sold. Not so with "boutique" stores, which can be found in abundance when walking down the quainter streets of town. While some do cater to the desire for specialty imported items, there are also many "mom and pop" operations that prefer to showcase (and sell) items of local/state/national manufacture. A quick step in and browsing at the label of origin on one or two items will usually suffice to let you know whether you should invest further time exploring their treasures or if you should move on to the next shop.

"Made In..." Websites

Economic stimulation can also be kept at the state level by shopping at a number of "Made In (name of state)" websites. For each state there is a website that is aimed at promoting creative and unique items that are made within that state. There are variations in the names but, generally, typing "Made In (name of state)" into any search engine will bring up at least one website with the appropriate items.

One website, though not based upon any particular state, that is incredibly helpful is Still Made In USA. This has an extensive listing of items made in the USA as well as those that qualify as American made, yet still contain some foreign components. The items listed are both those that are ordered exclusively online as well as those products that can be found in land-based stores. This is a great resource for those who still love the feeling of walking around stores to shop for Christmas gifts - before hitting the crowds, a short browse of this website will give you a list of brands and items that can be looked for.

These are only 3 small ideas that carry great impact. Shopping for Christmas gifts in this manner will not only help the economy through the purchase of gifts made in the USA but these are also great ways to find one-of-a kind Christmas gifts for even the most difficult person to shop for.