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Christmas Around the World

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The celebration of Christmas in the modern world involves a series of well-known rituals.  There's the "opening-of-the-presents," followed as night does the day by the "trying-on-of-the-new-clothes."  I had a satisfactory experience on both scores this year.

First, I slipped off my Honduran-made blue jeans to try on my new khaki Dockers from the Dominican Republic.  They fit perfectly.  I now had an alternative to my jeans, the occasion for which will no doubt someday come.  Then, over my Pakistani undershirt, I tried on my new sport shirt from Cambodia.  I'm a bit awkward in the shirt department -- my arms are a tad too long for my trunk as far as shirtmakers are concerned, so what's right in one aspect is inevitably a bit off in the other.  But this one did well enough.

Next came the piece de resistance -- a sweater from the relatively high-cost labor market of Hong Kong.  It not only fit, but was suitably luxurious as well.  The Chinese slippers were a little loose, but then slippers should be a little loose.  I could see I was in good shape until the night, when I would sleep snugly in my new flannel Philippino pj's.  Finally, a winter complement to my cotton summer pair from Vietnam.  They were always good at pajamas.  I remember that from the war.

Success.  This year I could avoid entirely the dreaded "returning-of-the-bad-presents" ritual, only slightly ameliorated by the related "searching-for-bargains-at-the-after-Christmas-sales."  I have my own ritual called "avoiding-the-mall-at-all-costs."  I admit I'm a bit of a heretic on that point.

I was going to figure on my new Chinese-made calculator how much had been saved by the outsourcing of every single gift I received, but my family had thoughtfully removed all the price tags.  So I sat down to celebrate my happy experience with a satisfying smoke.  I'm a connoisseur -- I smoke only a roll-your-own blend from the Netherlands.  But the tobacco, they assure me, is grown in Virginia.  They ship it over there, then they ship it back here.  Ah, the efficiencies of the globalized free market.

I was so glad that "Buy American" fad had faded, or else I might have received no presents at all except a lump of coal, although that probably all gets sent to China now.  Actually, I did get one American-made present -- Jacob Weisberg's book of "Bushisms."  How appropriate.  We may not make any value-added products anymore, but we've cornered the market on stupidity.

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But enough -- the world doesn't stop just because it's Christmas.  I turned on my computer -- also made in China -- and began to write about the good health wise economic policies have brought to my country. 

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Gregg Gordon is a writer, musician, activist, and otherwise ne'er-do-well in Columbus, Ohio. "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." - Edmund Burke

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