Christmas cards need their own form of Nicorette®. They constitute a fruitless addiction that plagues our society and heaps coals of vanity on our already sterile holiday. My deep desire is to see society at large cease the corporate printing and selling of Christmas Cards as soon as possible, allowing us to eliminate one of many factors that destroy the meaning of what was once a profound and joyful time of the year.
Dictionary.com defines addiction as "the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma." Every element of this definition has an application to Christmas cards that seems obvious except the final statement about how the "cessation causes severe trauma," which is not as apparent. While I cannot establish with certainty that the trauma caused from the cessation of Christmas cards is "severe," the trauma is no doubt present: simply stop sending Christmas cards completely this year and wait for the fallout. I have personally experienced the wrath of relatives that jump to very dramatic conclusions involving love lost due only to the boycotting of this old tradition.
Not only are Christmas cards addictive, their addictive nature is comparable to cigarettes. The basis for this claim is in the observation of the behavior of cigarette addicts. While cigarettes start out as cheap fun by "activat[ing] areas of your brain that produce feelings of pleasure and reward by raising dopamine levels," over time the effect greatly diminishes. Several smokers I have come across -- the type that have to take at least one smoke break on the job -- no longer seem to feel very good after a smoke, but rather, they feel bad when they haven't had a smoke recently. Their average mood and feelings seem to deteriorate, and each cigarette only seems to bring them back up to the normal non-addicted level or slightly above. I have heard personal testimonies serving as confirmation of this theory, but unfortunately I do not know of any scientific evidence to offer as support. Assuming for a minute that the premise is valid (that smokers tend to feel bad when not smoking and only average or minutely above average when smoking), the comparison with Christmas cards should become clear. Most individuals I have observed receiving a Christmas card do not actually feel abnormally loved or special when they get the card; usually a quick exclamation of excitement and forced interest in the contents of the card itself are all that ensue. However, when they do not receive a card from somebody that they expected a card from, they tend to feel less loved by this person, or worse, jump to conclusions about the integrity of said friend/family member. "Why didn't Tommy send us a card this year? He used to be such a good boy."
Whether you consider the analogy with cigarettes excessive or not, do try to find some truth in the objection. The more society corporately forces us to partake in habitual, ritualistic traditions that no longer reflect the spontaneity and thoughtfulness of their long past warm origins, the more we contribute to destroying the depth in this all-important time of the year.