Think your are helping the economy by buying some holiday gifts? Instead of giving more stuff to your relatives and friends that they don't need, do something that makes a real difference and create some JOBS. How could you do that?
More than 80% of jobs in the US are created by SMALL business - not BIG business. You've read how many people are losing their jobs right now from big companies such as Citibank and GM.
There are a number of great ways to directly create jobs in the US and abroad:
Accion USA is a great non-profit that helps low-income Americans start or expand their small businesses. By donating a small amount of money to Accion in honor of your relatives, they will have a DIRECT impact on creating jobs in America and helping people out. Invite them to forego buying gifts for you and match your donation. Check it out at http://www.accionusa.org
If your family and friends are more interested in helping people outside the US then use www.kiva.org to connect directly with entrepreneurs in developing countries. You will know the name, location and exact business that you are helping. You can email them and get regular updates.
Bottom line: spare yourself the crazy - possibly fatal - lines at Walmart and Toys-r-Us. Enough with the lead-painted toys from China. Do something this holiday that builds this economy directly - by creating JOBS.