Remember the days when people used to make Christmas tree ornaments?
Today, expect that more than half of the ornaments on the typical Christmas tree - and the tree itself - are not made in America, but instead, in a Chinese factory.
The retail market for seasonal decorations has expanded into a $24 billion a year business, and it is growing at a rate of roughly 6 percent a year and most of that cash is going straight to China, according to reports.
The holidays hold an important and vital place in American culture, but as the economy continues to remain flat, consumer perspectives on how to decorate those holidays - and make future memories - are evolving.
Time-crunched Americans, who are spending more than ever - and getting less for their dollar, continually turn to big-box retailers for holiday decorations. Giant discounters like Wal-Mart and Target - filled with Chinese goods - dominate the U.S. retail market. There is no end in sight to demand as domestic consumers rate price a more important factor than quality, reports indicate.
The Chinese news agency Sina recently revealed what the inside of "Santa's Workshop" really looks like. The report, translated and published by The Guardian, depicts the town of Yiwu, known as China's Christmas Town, and the inside of one of the 600 factories there. That town is responsible for more than 60 percent of the world's Christmas ornaments, LED lights, plastic trees and tinsel.
The "elves," who can only guess at what Christmas is, are migrants from other Chinese provinces, working 12 hours a day for about $300 a month, as reported by the Chinese news agency, Sina.
One of the workers, a 19-year-old worker named Wei, and his father, have the duty of dipping plastic snowflakes in a tub of glue, putting them in a powder machine and setting them aside. They do this more than 5,000 times a day.
And those same items are shipped to the U.S., and can also be ordered online through a wide variety of websites.
One website, called www.madeinamericastore.com, founded by actor John Ratzenberger, is among the many sites proliferating in response to American dollars being spent outside of the U.S. Ratzenberger recently told Fox that American goods last longer and are better quality, and that's something consumers should consider.
Buying local supports the region, as money spent in a local store stays in the local community, experts say. One example is Bonner's, a Frankenmuth, Michigan-based Christmas ornament company. It also offers a website on which it says it is a member of the chamber of commerce and the local tourism bureau.