Whenever I buy vintage clothes, the first thing I notice, besides how fabulously retro they are, is the "Made in America" tag. But most of the new clothes, or any other products, for that matter, that I buy don't have that same label. In the last few years, though, pride in American-made goods has been causing a swing back in that direction, making them trendier than ever among the hip and cutting-edge. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States has added 520,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2010, and there are currently 12 million manufacturing jobs on record in the United States. Of course, my favorite side of this is that we can support "Made in America" products even more by giving them as gifts and spreading the word! Read on to learn about how you can get in on the coolest U.S.A.-made products.
"Artisanally made" and "locally grown" are terms that may have meant little to you in the past, but now it's hard to enter a market without seeing them everywhere. The good news is that these terms are usually signs of deliciousness. Treats like pickles, exotic jams, caramels, chocolates, and mustards make great gifts (or indulgences, like local beers), all to enjoy yourself or give as gifts! Although many mass-produced foodstuffs are made in America too, you'll notice the difference between homemade and store-bought immediately.
Let's face it, we're always a few days away from another occasion to give a card. Which is why, if you're looking to support products made in America, there may be no better item to buy. Cards, and stationary too, are cropping up everywhere and usually have that one-of-a-kind, homemade flare that mass-produced cards always seem to be missing. Whether you're a fan of letterpress, screen-print, photography or original art, there are cards waiting for you to find them on sites like Etsy and at local craft markets and art fairs.
One of the best things about buying jewelry made in America is that when things aren't being made on a super-duper-large scale, they don't all look the same. And for something like jewelry that's supposed to be an expression of one's personality, that's important. Some of the cooler pieces I've noticed are earrings made of recycled glass, bracelets made of natural gemstones and pendants with holes poked in them to represent your star sign.
I like having a little something to give my mom every time I see her. She's easy to shop for, and very appreciative, and I always have a blast picking something out. The gift I wind up getting her the most is soap. Not only are there an abundance of USA-made soaps in boutiques and specialty shops, but they always come in wildly vibrant colors, smells, and even textures. They're also the perfect gift to keep around in case you need something in a pinch! Most of these handmade toiletries usually comes wrapped in beautiful paper or packaging that adds to the fun of buying, giving and displaying them.
Other types of products that are made in the USA if you look hard enough are shoes, clothes, stoves, refrigerators, and grills, and don't forget cars!
Lucky for us, it seems that "Made in America" is not only back but growing every day. And now, next time a birthday or holiday comes up, you know just what kinds of USA-made products to buy. Happy gifting!
Dana Holmes is a lifestyle, gift and etiquette expert who acts as Editor in Chief of Gifts.com and the Gift Rap Blog. She has been working in trend forecasting and gift recommendations for the past decade. Dana loves making occasions special with her unique gift ideas, tips and touches. She has been interviewed by The New York Times, Associated Press, Fox & Friends, TODAY in NY and many more.