When I say make it a Canadian Christmas, I dont mean to get drunk on rum and eggnog and do donuts in the nearest parking lot until you hit asphalt.
Im talking about the fine art of gift giving, and being a little more careful where you spend your hard-earned holiday cheddar this year.
If you want to make Canada stronger and support your friends, neighbours and fellow countrymen and women, then you have no choice but to buy Canadian. Failure to do so will add to our growing trade deficit, put Canadian companies out of business, force Canadian workers to sign on with union-busting foreign nationals, increase foreign ownership of our country and economy, and increase our dependence on a flaky, manipulative world market.
Eventually those world markets, not our government, will be calling the shots in the Great White North. Well be forced to dismantle our anti-competitive social services like health care, welfare and the Canada Pension Plan in favour of private alternatives, as private companies also take over the management of commodities like power and water.
If you dont believe it can happen here (although many argue its already happening) then do a little reading on whats going on in South America these days. Countries like Uruguay, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Chile are waking up to what happens when you give away your independence and rack up your national debts for short-term economic benefits, which are usually only shared among the few.
I know globalization is a heavy subject for the holidays, but this is the time of year where people can make the most difference. Every dollar we spend on Canadian-made gifts, booze, Hannukah Candles and fruitcakes is essentially a vote for a stronger country.
Here are the basic rules of having a very Canadian Christmas, Canuckah, Kwanzanada, or Ramadanada holiday this year.
Rule #1 Buy items with a Made In Canada label. I know, we dont make as much as we used to, but who says maple syrup and wool blankets dont make great gifts? For a more complete list of options, start your shopping at www.canadianmade.com and follow the links to hundreds manufacturers in dozens of different categories.
That site is missing a few categories, such as games and toys, but its a safe bet that you can still find Made in Canada sports equipment at any good store. When it comes to products like video games, keep in mind that Electronic Arts (http://eacanada.com) has studios and offices in Vancouver and Montreal, focussing mainly on sports titles. They also produce games like Need for Speed Underground and the James Bond 007 series.
Rule #2 Buy locally. Its hard to always buy Canadian. The ideal situation would be a local store that sells Made In Canada products or products that are made by Canadian-owned companies but manufactured somewhere else. Shopping at independently-owned local stores is best, but if you have to go to a chain, then start with the Canadian chains first. Check www.cdnbusinessdirectory.com or www.canadaone.com for more ideas.
Rule #3. Be willing to pay a little more. The price difference between Made In Canada and Made In China products is usually pretty steep, but at least you know the worker is getting a living wage, has access to health care, and the company is complying somewhat with laws concerning the environment, wages, worker safety, overtime pay, pensions, etc. and is contributing to both federal and provincial taxes.
Remember, if you do this right then most of the dollars you spend this Christmas will stay in Canada, which means that you can count on other Canadians having a happy holiday as well.
Keep laptops off your lap
Apparently human testicles dont respond too well to heat and electrical fields.
According to The Times of London, the heat generated by laptop computers, combined with the posture needed to hold them steady and new wireless communication technologies, can seriously impact male fertility.
The researchers discovered that men usually sit with their legs apart to keep our crotches cool. When we bring our knees together to create a table, we heat things up by more than two degrees Celsius. Add the heat of a laptop to the equation, along with some radio waves or light waves, and scrotal temperatures exceed the safe limit for sperm production by almost five degrees Celsius.
Research earlier this year among men aged 21 to 35 determined that sperm counts in the U.K. have dropped by almost a third in the last decade, which is about the time that laptops became affordable.
Do you really want to find out?