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I’m going China-free this Christmas. You should too.

I’m not boycotting the world’s most populous country because they probably killed thousands of cats and dogs with their tainted food, could have poisoned thousands of people with their tainted toothpaste and lead-heavy toys, or could have injured thousands more with their shoddy tires. Nor am I calling off purchases from there because of their disregard for the environment, their appalling record on human rights or their oppressive form of government. (I’ve been there and you can do things there that would get you arrested here, trust me on that.)

This isn’t even about the fact that they don’t love the baby Jesus.

The reason I’m going China-free this year is Wal-Mart. The mega-retailer’s relentless, cutthroat push to the bottom is killing our economy like a two-pack-a-day habit. Every time you save 37 cents on a 15-pack of toilet paper you put an American out of work. (OK, I can’t actually prove that, but the working theory is correct.) Wal-Mart gets approximately 97 percent of the junk they sell from China, so buying there is un-American. Plus they build ugly stores and give bushels of money to crazy Republicans. I hates me some Wal-Mart.

So what can you buy me for Christmas that isn’t made in China? Glad you asked:

Alcohol: This topic is covered thoroughly by another writer in this issue, so I’ll not belabor the point. Suffice it to say that all good beer and wine, and most good liquor, does not come from China. Have you ever tasted Tsingtao? It’s crap.

Socks: Every year I ask for socks, and every year I get a bag of ’em probably sewn by a 9-year-old in some godforsaken sweatshop in China, India or Vietnam. Not this year. I want socks made by Wigwam Mills of Sheboygan, Wis. (It’s fun just to say “Sheboygan.”) Wigwam manufactures an almost ridiculous variety of socks for every possible activity, from hiking to snowboarding to slouching. And their website has a blog and podcasts … about socks. You can buy them for me locally at the Sports Authority or online at a bunch of places. Check the Wigwam website,, for a full list.

Amplifier: There’s a large selection of American-made guitar amps available, but seeing as you’re buying I’ll take the Vincent model from Carr. At $2,490 for a 33-watt, single-speaker amp, this baby is pricey. But it’s handmade in North Carolina, and its boutiquey look and sound should help hide my chronically lacking guitar skills. Good enough for Neko Case, good enough for me. Make mine purple, which will cost an extra $100.

Bowling ball: Speaking of chronically lacking skills, I could use a bowling ball. Storm Bowling, a Utah company, makes some pretty cool ones. And they’re scented! American ingenuity at its finest. I’ll take the “Paradigm Domination” model, because the name will frighten my opponents and it comes in spearmint. I love spearmint. has them for $154.99 with free shipping. Lightning Strikes Pro Shop on Primrose Drive, 407-228-7774, and Perfect Shot Pro Shop on Curry Ford Road, 407-895-6222, carry Storm products locally.

Leather jacket: It can get chilly after a night of dominating paradigms, so please buy me an A-2 Flight Jacket from LeatherCoatsEtc of Illinois ($239 in men’s tall size). According to the company’s website, this military-grade, World War II–style jacket is exactly the same style as John Wayne in Flying Tigers, and is still worn by Navy and Marine pilots today. Between the jacket and the spearmint-scented bowling ball, I expect some serious swooning from the ladies.

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