Thursday, December 21, 2017

Agriculture and rural America shaped modern holiday traditions, Farm Bureau columnist says

Robert Giblin
In the days leading up to Christmas, Farm Bureau Federation columnist Robert Giblin muses about the impact of agriculture and rural America on modern holiday trends:

"Although few Americans have direct connections to farms or ranches, they appreciate that U.S. agriculture produces the greatest selection of affordable food found anywhere in the world," he writes. "Those who cut or buy real Christmas trees also know that those trees come from a farm. But fewer may consider how farmers grow the cotton and wool for clothing, and that agricultural commodities are used in making buttons, plastics, housewares, personal and industrial products, electronics, and thousands of other products used day-to-day or given as holiday gifts."

And it's not just the products consumers buy, but electrical components for their phones and computers, and the electricity used to power them, Giblin writes.

There are rural echoes too in the way modern Americans start thinking about Christmas right after Thanksgiving, he says. Long before the days of online shopping, department stores like Montgomery Ward and Sears would send out thick catalogues to rural Americans so they could mail-order gifts at a lower price and with a better selection than they could get shopping at local mom-and-pop stores.

Giblin's essay is a lovely meditation on our rural roots and well worth a read.

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