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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Christmas Giving

Air Date: Week of

Commentator Ruth Page offers some lyrical suggestions for what may be the most environmentally sound gifts you can offer — gifts of your own time.


CURWOOD: With all the attention paid to shopping and acquiring at this time of year, commentator Ruth Page wonders if maybe the greenest way to give at the holidays can't be found in catalogues or stores.

PAGE: I've been pondering, in my retirement,
the holidays, and the environment.
What to plan, and what to give
with which the world - and I - can live.
I ask myself, "How shall I plan
to help the earth as best I can?"
Or at the least, not do it harm
or set off any eco-alarm.
Came the answer to my brain -
Yaay, it's wakened up again -
to keep this Christmas green, not blue,
the best that you can give is you.
Gifts of time, and thought, and aid
don't need wrappings, are not paid
but they will show that you care -
when friends need you, you'll be there.
Friends with children? Much the nicest
help is sitting in a crisis
with their kids.
There's another nasty duty -
just you wait, this one's a beauty -
any friend would love assistance
if you're fit to go the distance
when they're cleaning their garage out
once committed, you can't dodge out.
When it's done, though, they will thank you.
No acquaintance will outrank you
on your buddy's list of neighbors
who have done the greatest favors.
Married son or married daughter?
Give free help - you hadn't oughter
give to friends and not relations -
Family, too, go on vacations.
Need someone to check the house out?
If you're busy, send your spouse out.
That's not more than you can handle,
saving friends from thief or vandal.
Field-grown roses or tomatoes,
lovely lilies, big potatoes,
things like that make super presents
both for princes and for peasants.
These great gifts ain't automatic -
they are work. I'll clean your attic
is a promise stores aren't making.
Shops don't say, "I'll do your baking"
on a day when you are frantic
and have guests from South Niantic.
Here is what I'm emphasizing:
if you find your temper rising
as you face the rush of Christmas
with it's money-spending business
and you think we'd better ban it
e'er it hurts this poor old planet -
don't be worried, don't be nervous,
put yourself at other's service.
The environment will thank you
and the futurists will rank you
with the best and with the brightest.
Your impact will be the lightest.

CURWOOD: Commentator Ruth Page lives in Burlington, Vermont. She comes to us from Vermont Public Radio.



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