Sometimes Diamonds Really are Better than Goats, or Chickens, or Pigs ... (Hr. 1)

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'Tis the season for giving ... AND getting an earful on how to fight the good fight against crass holiday consumerism.

Weapons of choice? Heartfelt "alternative" gifts. You know, things like baked goodies made lovingly by you. Or the "gift of time" - coupons offering babysitting, a monthly lunch date.

But the most popular salvo is a charitable donation.

A couple of Christmases ago, a very dear friend handed Michael an envelope.

Yippee, he thought.  A gift certificate! No.  It was a donation  - made in his name  - to Save the Rain Forest.

Now, Michael don't have anything against Rain Forests. Honest. He swears that he thinks we should have more of them. 

He knows his friend's intentions were honourable. And he knows - especially at this time of year - that it 's supposed to be the thought that counts.

But sometimes, well ... it isn't.

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