Holiday gifts that support the local economy include a gift certificate for a massage (clockwise from top left), ski lift tickets, a gym membership, gift certificates for car washes or detailing and piano lessons.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Last year, a friend forwarded to me an email about giving Christmas gifts that kept U.S. dollars at home.
Like the local-foods trend, the email suggested spending our Christmas money on gifts locally made or grown or sold in small hometown stores.
"Every dollar we spend at a small local store is turned over three more times before it leaves. Every dollar spent at a large chain store or online is gone from here forever," the email points out.
I doubt that the email's call for a new tradition will keep Chinese-made flat-screen televisions or iPads off most Christmas lists.
Still, the email had a lot of good suggestions for practical, worthwhile gifts that will keep dollars in the community. They included:
Gift certificates to a day spa, beauty salon or barbershop for hairstyling/haircuts, manicures and other services.
Gift certificates for car washes or detailing.
Paying to have a driveway sealed or plowed all winter or lawn mowed all summer.
Gift certificates to owner-run restaurants.
Giving Mom the services of a cleaning lady or company.
Oil changes at a locally owned garage.
Paying a teenager in your neighborhood for his computer skills.
Giving handmade items or foods purchased at local arts and crafts fairs.
Tickets to a local theater production, ballet performance or concert.
Greens fees to a public golf course.
Inspired by this list, we have added some other ideas:
A subscription to your hometown newspaper (duh).
A subscription to Wonderful West Virginia magazine, published by the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources.