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There’s a moral aspect to Christmas shopping that I had never considered. A Forest Park woman pointed it out to me and I also read about it in a Tribune letter to the editor. The letter writer said we can “restore connectedness” to our lives by purchasing responsibly. The woman said that we stay connected by spending our holiday shopping dollars in Forest Park.

How do we purchase responsibly? Well, Ryan E. Campbell of Batavia wants us to consider issues apart from getting the lowest price. Was the product manufactured in a country that has a poor human rights record? Were the workers adequately paid, protected and given access to health benefits? Does the country of origin uphold environmental standards? And, lastly, do our purchases help our local community and economy?

The Forest Park woman believes that shopping locally is crucial to our town retaining its “small town charm.” She is determined to buy as many presents as possible in Forest Park. Why? She wants to support independent businesses that provide jobs for the neighborhood. She likes socializing with merchants and neighbors and wants to keep her sales tax money in the community.

The lines are shorter at local businesses, she said, and they have more one-of-a-kind gifts. She can even purchase items that were manufactured in Forest Park. And she doesn’t have to drive all over creation to do her shopping.

She tries to avoid buying products from China–not easy. She prefers U.S. made but will settle for goods that came from a democracy. She’s not afraid to pay a higher price, if it means a worker is getting a decent wage. She believes that if a price is too good to be true, someone else is paying the difference.

I admire her ideals but it’s difficult to refrain from bargain hunting. Recently, in Two Fish, I found a price tag on one of their exquisite art glass lamps that was too good to be true. It was half what one of their lamps normally cost. My adrenalin was racing, even though my primitive decorating sense told me the lamp’s colors were all wrong for the room.

When I returned with my wife, the lamp had acquired its correct price tag but still had the same clashing colors. So, she picked out a properly priced lamp that did match the living room. And I realized that if I had bought the first lamp, Two Fish would have paid the difference for the too good to be true price.

So, shop locally and shop responsibly. And, if you’re lucky like me, your new lamp will have some seasonal red in it, so you can tell your spouse, “Hey, when it comes to Christmas presents, you and I are covered.”