"Buy American," we are told. It's the patriotic thing to do.

Well, maybe. But if buying U.S.-manufactured goods is good for the economy, buying Utah-manufactured goods has to be better, n'est-ce pas?You not only help out your fellow citizens, you help out your friends and neighbors . . . maybe even your own family.

To that end, I received a dispatch Tuesday that is unique in my dozen years of covering the biz beat: a generic press release.

This one was a joint effort of five, count 'em, five Salt Lake-based public relations firms: PPC&H Public Relations, Bremer Public Relations, Zabriskie and Associates Public Relations, Evans Public Relations and Public Relations Strategy Group.

With that kind of firepower behind it, how could I possibly toss it in File 13?

Besides, I was intrigued. Their premise is this: While you're out there shopping for Christmas gifts with name brands such as Nintendo, Sony, Chanel and Mattel, keep an eye out for Evolution, Mrs. Fields, Chums, Phonex, Vanessa-Ann and other made-in-Utah Christmas gifts.

This is an idea I like. I also like the fact that, to my knowledge, no one has ever thought of it before. Yes, a number of agencies have developed "Buy Utah" campaigns before, but never quite this way. I know of no previous "Buy Utah Christmas Presents" campaigns. As Hot Rod would say, "You gotta . . ." well, you know.

OK, here are some ideas for Utah-made Christmas gifts as proposed by the above-named public relations folks. Sure, I know, they're all companies who retain those very same PR people to hype their products for them, but that's how capitalism works, right?

FOR THE SKIER: Evolution Ski Co. is one of only three U.S. ski manufacturers and it makes them right here in Salt Lake City for the Greatest Snow On Earth. The skis can be customized with a personal design, name or corporate logo. The Evolution show room and factory are at 790 W. 1700 South. Tel. 972-1144.

Chums, the "ultimate in eyeglass retention" (it says here), are those colorful gizmos that allow your shades to hang down on your chest or your back or wherever. These are good for a stocking stuffer or for a main gift if you are a little short this year. The Hurricane-based company has recently come out with a smaller Chums for kids and the Key Chum for, oddly enough, keys.

FOR PEOPLE WHO EAT: Mrs. Fields didn't exactly invent the chocolate chip cookie, but her Park City-based company has sold a few (billion) anyway. Found in most malls, they can be packaged up in some very snazzy boxes for gift giving.

There are a lot of turkeys out there (sorry), but 20 percent of all Norbest gobblers are processed in Moroni and Salina. Even if you were to put a California Norbest on your Christmas table, your guests would know your heart's in the right place. Besides, who could be sure it's not a genuine Manti or Salina bird?

Madaus Murdock Inc., based in Springville, makes all-natural food supplements with odd names like Thisilyn, Sinustop, Cholorofresh and Garlicin. They are distributed locally and nationally by another Utah company, Nature's Way Products Inc., and are available in health food stores and most supermarkets.

THE ONE-MINUTE MANAGERS: Running from room to room to answer a phone can become a hassle, says our generic press release. I never run from room to room whether the phone is ringing or not, but for those who do, Orem-based Phonex Corp. offers the Wireless Phonejak, which allows phones to be used anywhere there is an electrical outlet. For information call 226-4141.

Salt Lake-based d'Mano Handbag Co. offers an exclusive line of women's leather handbags with a take-out liner that fits into their entire line of bags and "makes changing handbags as easy as changing shoes." Made by local businesswoman Janet Romano, they are sold at Nordstrom.

LEISURE LIFE: The Vanessa-Ann Collection of Ogden specializes in books on cross-stitch, quilting and other crafts. Call 621-2777 or write 204 Historic 25th St., Ogden, UT 84401.

For the hunter or marksman, Morgan-based Browning Co. offers a wide range of firearms, archery equipment and the Bag Boy golf pull cart. Check your sporting goods store.

A DAY OFF IN THE LIFE: Here's an imaginative idea from SOS Temporary Services. Hire a temporary worker to give a secretary, word processor or receptionist a day off. Contact Richard Denison at 485-5252.

How about the gift of a night on the town? Put together a package that includes dinner at a local restaurant and tickets to Ballet West, Pioneer Memorial Theatre, Utah Symphony or one of the other cultural events.