Buying American-made products is a great way to support the American economy and jobs. According to
the Alliance for American Manufacturing:
Americans will spend $720 on average for holiday gifts this year. But if each of us spent just $64 on American-made goods this season, we could create 200,000 new jobs, right here in the United States!
Of course, everyone doesn't necessarily have $64 to devote specifically to American-made goods—the sad fact is that it can be hard to find just what you want—but below the fold you'll find some places to do research, as well as gift ideas at different price points and from established manufacturers and tiny Etsy sellers alike.
Buying American-made is great. Buy union-made-in-America is even better, especially since these days, even many manufacturing jobs offer low wages and few benefits. Labor 411 is one good source for information about what products are union made. For instance, did you know that All-Clad's dreamy pots and pans (the bonded metal ones, anyway) are union-made in Pennsylvania? They're pricey, but did I mention they're dreamy? And if you want to move your food from your All-Clad onto some union-made dishes, Fiesta is an American classic, and yes, it's a union factory in West Virginia.
Okay, so you're not as food-obsessed as some of us. (There are a lot of union-made foods suitable for gifts, by the way—like See's Candy.) But really, you're looking for games for the kids. You're in luck: How about Operation, Risk, Pictionary, or Scrabble?
If you can't find exclusively union-made gifts—and seriously, no one's pretending that wouldn't be hard!—you can still support American jobs. The Alliance for American Manufacturing has a list with a gift idea from every state, from teddy bears to jewelry to high fashion to athletic apparel to sporting goods.
Some of the items on that AAM list cater to a desire you, too, might have at the holidays to go quirky and individual and very, very small. Your local holiday craft fair or artisan-type shop can be a good option, but you'll have to find those for yourself, since only a few of you would benefit if I told you about the ones near where I live. But the internet broadens that world for us. So here are a few ideas out of the enormous number you might consider.
Close to cyber-home, check out the Kos Katalogue. I have already given a Pootie Pad as an early Christmas gift, and got in response a series of texts describing the rapture of the cats in question at receiving their catnip-lined pad and ending with "So, the Pootie Pad is now officially their new favorite thing."
Cat-related in a different way, turn your attention to Breaking Cat News, one of the greatest cat humor sites on the entire internet (and I understand the magnitude of that claim). It's a web comic featuring illustrator Georgia Dunn's three cats. The depictions go beyond the cliches of cat humor to capture the individual personalities of Lupin, Elvis, and Puck as they report on the mysterious actions of the people, from buying a different kind of kibble to forcing the trio into stupid little suits. Where am I going with this? Well, Georgia Dunn has an Etsy shop featuring cards and prints and a Zazzle store featuring mugs and more. In general, if you're a fan of an artist, musician, comic, or writer, it's worth checking out if they have products you could buy to support them.
You can also shop to support members of specific communities, whether it's your hometown or, for instance, by going to this list of 36 black-owned Etsy stores. There's some good stuff here.