We Need a Little Christmas: These American-Made Products Can Help

Haul out the holly; Put up the tree before my spirit falls again. Fill up the stocking, I may be rushing things, but deck the halls again now. For we need a little Christmas Right this very minute, Candles in the window, Carols at the spinet.

--We Need a Little Christmas

by Jerry Herman

I could lead off with distressing factory news from distant lands, but instead decided that we Americans, weary from tragedy on our own shores, need a little Christmas, right this very minute. I'm sure you'll agree. So on with Day Eight of CAMJ's Twelve Days of Christmas, American Style...

Picture this: You're snuggling on the sofa, a lush blanket tossed over your laps to keep you and your loved one warm as you watch It's a Wonderful Life or Miracle on 34th Street or A Christmas Story. You're munching popcorn, sipping apple cider or--why not?--a nice merlot. This heartwarming scene is actually a compelling way to spotlight a few American products that (depending on your finances) also make great gifts.

For those who've won the lottery, why not buy someone on your gift list (or maybe yourself) a new sofa from Pottery Barn or Crate & Barrel? Both retailers sell USA-made sofas. Crate & Barrel has 300 styles from which to choose. Yes, these are more expensive than Ikea, but it's Christmas. Let's be jolly. Do we really want to talk about how Ikea recently admitted it used East German political prisoners as "forced" laborers in the 1980s to help keep its prices low? I didn't think so. Next topic.

Good blanket for snuggling: Cable Weave Throw by Bates Mill Store ($60). "Adorned with hand-stitched knotted fringe on two sides, this heavyweight throw is sure to keep you cozy throughout the year." Sounds just right. Here 'tis:

Bates Mill Store's Cable Weave Throw

According to batesmillstore.com, Bates Manufacturing Company "opened its doors when America was a farming community of only 23 million people and 30 states." Now owned by Maine Heritage Weavers, the company continues to manufacture and sell quality bedspreads, blankets and throws--all of them lovingly made in Maine.

And about the popcorn in our heartwarming scene? It was popped over the stove (or outdoor fireplace) using a Jacob Bromwell Original Popcorn Popper ($64.99) The website promises "You can't help but pop a smile with one of these." And, like the blanket manufacturer just discussed, this company--and its poppers--have been around for a while:

...now in its 190th year of production—having warmly maintained its original design since it was given the gift of life in the early 1800s.

Unfortunately, it's so pop-u-lar (sorry, couldn't resist) you'll have to wait 12 weeks to get one. But why not order now? Prepare for the ides of March. Give a post-Christmas gift to someone when he/she least expects it.

And as for the apple cider in our scene, it's a gift for you and yours on a frosty night. Just heat up some 100% USA-made Tree Top Apple Juice (or your favorite organic brand). Add a cinnamon stick (yes, imported) and voila! Yum. Or, if you're so inclined, uncork a bottle of Napa Valley's Rutherford Hill Cabernet or Merlot and sip away as Jimmy Stewart decides his fate. Or wrap up the wine and give to some lucky host, hostess, friend or family member. Either way, cheers!