Anyone who knows me knows I have had a long standing love affair with things from the past, from vintage clothing and jewelry to collectibles, and that is what is primarily carried in all the Galleria stores. Without doing an inventory, I think I could safely say that the vast majority of the items there will proudly carry labels that are definitely made in America. The quality and workmanship of our couturiers' designs of the past are evident in the fact that so many of these dresses are still quite wearable today. There was, as Americans designers came into their own, the same standards of quality that had long been associated with those in Europe.
Actually, a great many of the early jewelry designers fled to America at the threat of war and were responsible for creating some of the masterpieces, as well as the design standards, that make so many names in vintage jewelry highly collectible today.
The American dream walked hand in hand with American built products and ingenuity for a good many years. It's a shame that things changed as they did. What's been eye-opening has been finding out how many companies, both large and small, are still operating....and are thrilled to find this new spotlight. Some have been around for years (did you know Crayolas and the venerable Slinky are still manufactured here?) Others are companies with new and innovative ideas that are quietly (until now) letting us know that they believe in America.
The Facebook page for the Evening News was filled with requests for lists of American-made goods and the answers have been plentiful. One that I spent a good while last evening pouring over is http://www.madeinusa.org/. You'll be surprised how many familiar names you'll see...and how many you'll want to bookmark to visit! (I was delighted to see some familiar Oklahoma names there!) Try also http://www.madeinusaforever.com/.
Most of us are familiar with food specialty companies: fruit and cheese, candies, jams and jellies that have beautiful color catalogs to shop from...but I was surprised to see a lot of unique creations too from syrups and honey, to salsas and sauces...even a Montana company that uses their native huckleberries in a variety of products! (My husband has assured me that there is nothing quite like the Montana huckleberry...we'll be ordering!)
I really loved the Green Toys website although I'm not in the toy buying stage. They make their colorful children's playthings from recycled plastic (bravo!) that is promised to be BPA/PVC free. Another company makes a clever item called the "bobble"....dedicated to giving you a"carry with you" permanent water bottle with the reusable filter that lets you purify your own tap water. (Think of the landfill space that can be saved!!)
I've already ordered a couple of things...including our very first pairs of socks from Creekwater, a company in Georgia, made from organic alpaca fleece. They are said to be comfortable, 3 times warmer than wool (after our Oklahoma ice storms and the 30" deep snow we had last year, that part sounds divine!), and keep your feet dry. I won't know until we try them how marvelous they are...but I'm willing to simply because I think alpacas are adorable!
Some of the viewers' ideas are even more thoughtful...supporting your local businesses by giving a local gift. A gift certificate for a haircut or beauty salon visit...think even a dinner out...an oil change..or a bit of lawn care would be so appreciated by someone who is really stretching a budget! I was a local business in a small town for a number of years; that type of thinking would have been welcomed by merchants and neighbors alike!
I was actually getting ready to write an entry reminiscing about some Christmas' past...and started reading about bubble lights. Although they actually began in Europe, they have been manufactured in the USA ever since the 1940's...there's a track record! I also read all the printing on some boxes of vintage Shiny Brite and other round glass ornaments that I've been trying to find time to list. Each and every one of the four boxes was manufactured in America! Love it! Maybe I'll get to the bubble lights story after the first of the week....
Americans are going through some difficult times...a lot of the news stories are enough to break your heart, others that show our innate kindness to others give us hope. I have a lot of faith in "us"...we're made of "the right stuff" to borrow that phrase. Tough times will usually bring us together, bring out the best in us...maybe that's just exactly what the "Made in America" message is all about...reminding us to care and help...and we'll survive!
It's also one of the profound messages of Christmas...touching others with caring and kindness. After all...the most overwhelming Gift of all times came to us at Christmas. It's the perfect time of the year!