The toys we buy at Christmastime (The decorations, too), Don’t come from elves in Santa’s shop, As we’ve been told they do. The “Made in China” label can Be found upon these wares, And points to one of modern man’s Most scandalous affairs. They’re made by Chinese workers in Conditions most unjust, Who work for fourteen hours a day, Or longer, if they must. They work for seven days a week And breaks are pretty rare; They breathe in noxious fumes that fill The hot and stifling air. They live right in the factory In small and filthy rooms, Where they get just a few hours’ sleep Before their work resumes. The workers’ pay is woefully Below the living wage. How is it that we let this be In our “enlightened” age? The goods are cheap and plentiful, But buyers may not know What Chinese workers must endure To keep the prices low. It isn’t elves who make the toys; The truth is not so nice. Convenience and economy Come at a heavy price. Father Richard Libby is a priest of the Diocese of Corpus Christi.