Really, You Shouldn't Have      by Art Buchwald      December 2001

There are so many people to thank this Christmas, I don't know where to begin.

First, I would like to thank the People's Sweatshop of Shanghai for the beautiful American flag glove and scarf set, which makes me feel very patriotic.

To the Taiwan Watch Factory, which made it possible for me to have a knockoff of a Rolex, I send my appreciation. No one could tell the difference, and it only cost $19.50. (The one with diamonds cost $29.95.)

And I don't want to forget the luggage with the Stars and Stripes on it, made in Child Labor Factory No. 4 in the Philippines. It looks exactly like a real Louis Vuitton and even has a lifetime guarantee.

My gratitude to the government inspectors in Sri Lanka: The tennis shoes with a U.S. flag stenciled on them were a size 7 and I'm an 11. I am sending them back. I thank you for letting me exchange them.

I would also like to thank the woman in Nepal for the cashmere sweaters on which she knitted "God Bless America." If you bought one, you got one free. So my wife now has two.

And lest we forget, I'll always be grateful for the Bavarian cuckoo clock from Korea that plays "My Country 'Tis of Thee" on the hour. Please give all the prisoners who worked on it in Seoul Prison No. 3 my best regards.

There are so many people I'd like to thank for making my holiday such a great one.

The toy U.S. Marines from Bombay were a hit with my son, and he hasn't stopped playing with them.

And the female naval flying officer doll was a smash with my daughter.

Another big hit was a dancing Santa Claus holding an American flag in his hand, made by the Hutus in Madagascar. Everyone loves it.

Unfortunately, the Mother Soon Wong fruitcake from Hong Kong arrived smashed, but we're not blaming Mother Soon Wong. She didn't know it was being sent through the U.S. Postal Service.

It's amazing how many individuals can contribute to one's Christmas. The people who make these products are as happy as those who received them. Did I tell you about the prescription drugs I got from Tijuana, Mexico? My wife wrapped them in a beautiful box, which said, "Take 50 percent off tagged price."

I did get a wrapped bottle of men's cologne called America's Best, with "Made in the USA" printed on it. I asked the family, "How did this get in here? We'd better open it in the garage."