The holiday shopping season is almost in full swing. Our local food store already has candy canes! I can't help but think about the commercial and material overload that is out there already. Every year I try to find the balance between needs and wants, quality and quantity, what we give and what we get. This year, I am trying, more than ever to support local people and our country's economy. I'm thinking about quality toys made with loving hands close to home. I'm thinking about the process involved and the people who made the products. I am thinking about natural products that once lived and grew not far from here. I am thinking about spending carefully and thinking about the future.
In a world where 80% of toys made are made in China, a toy shopper has to be pretty selective. I am not saying we don't have toys made in China or that I have never bought them, but this year and this Christmas I am making more of an effort to not purchase these products and to pass the word. I think we are all aware of the recalls from toys made in China (almost 1 million toys in one Mattel recall in 2007 and there have been 17 in the past 10 years). But it doesn't end there. Consider these photos from toy factories in China.
(For more photos visit this link)
There are terrible working conditions the employees endure which have lead to riots and suicides at the factories. There are cases of child labor, dangerous chemicals, unsafe working conditions and much more. When I think about my child opening a toy on Christmas day I don't want it to be the result of someone's suffering or mistreatment. I don't want a special toy to be one that was handled with plastic gloves by someone wearing a face mask or the 1,000th toy that person made that day. So this year I will probably have to spend a little more time thinking about holiday shopping and then more time being selective in my shopping, but I think it will be worth it.