Nicorette® for Christmas Cards

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.

Comments

Ya'll are over-reacting

For instance, you haven't even mentioned the fact that snail mail (i.e. cards) has DRAMATICALLY decreased...nor the fact that our generation, because of the decrease in snail mail, has not picked up the 'old parental tradition' of sending cards anyway. Seriously, who of your freinds your age do you know that send out Christmas cards? If you know a few, great...but make it a percentage just to put it into perspective. Also add in the fact that men have rarely been the ones to pick up this tradition any way of rushing to the stores to pick up discounted Christmas cards, which they will only lose by next year anyway, and mail them.

If any one is complaining, or hurt, they are most likely older and bound to tradition because let's face it. They can't remember much else these days. Getting old has it's disadvantages...and I think receiving and sending Christmas cards tends to remind them of the good old days when they could remember who their neighbors actually were ...and college buddies and drinking buddies. They get cards in the mail and it's like "Hey! I'm loved! I'm remembered!" Rather than aggravation, I feel pity.

Old age...

Aye, that is a sad glimpse into the coming future with age, yet largely true if we don't prevent such things from occurring; good thing to keep in mind.

As for the percentages, I'd say: 60% of the single people I know 100% of the married people I know send cards at Christmas.

a d a m

My two cents (consider them a gift)

I have never been "good" about card- or gift-giving at any time of the year, so I can't really say that I suffer from any addiction in the first place, and therefore no real fallout (that I know of) when I don't do something because no one expects anything. I try to do special things for people at appropriate times, and that's about it (although I'm often bad about that as well).

I try to make sure I get something for each of my immediate family members at Christmas, and some other people if I happen to know the perfect thing or I just feel like it, though it doesn't mean that I like someone less if I don't get him/her something. I do this because it feels good to give, because I want to show my love in a way that is unusual for me, and because gift-giving is a fun tradition, which when used in moderation can be a reminder of God's gift to mankind--Jesus Christ. (I still rarely do cards with my gifts, though! :-)) In the past I've put pressure on myself to hit everyone on my "list," but the list is just too big and it begins to affect the spirit in which anything is given.

All of that said, I have been very touched by certain cards and gifts I have received from unlikely sources (few if any of whom seemed to expect anything in return), and while I agree that we need to stop trivializing and get back to the heart of and reason for the season, I suggest that we also need to be careful not to adopt a militant attitude towards these traditions, lest we hurt others rather than help them.

Good points

Thanks for the comment, and you raise some good points; we definitely need to not overreact by throwing away what good there actually is in the status quo. In my experience, however, those rare gifts that are touching are the exception, because they are touching due not to their mere occurrence, but to the surprisingly thoughtful note written in the card (which could have been supplied via another medium), or to the thoughtful cleverness of receiving a very unexpected gift from someone you haven't heard from in a while. Each of these elements could be kept and even magnified when present at different times of the year and when presented in non-forced, non-traditional ways.

a d a m

Great thoughts

I totally agree with you all. It is a bit obnoxious for people to expect something that is so frivolous and thoughtless really. I think of the list that I have and it is really just people that we ave no other contact with at any other time of the year. The only good thing that I have to say about the card exchange is that it does let people know that you are still alive. I have a few relatives that I would rather not see ever again, this way I can give them a small warm fuzzy and never have to deal with them in person or worse over the phone. In that respect I have to say that it is rather worth sending a card to someone.

I have no idea what you are talking about, so here is a picture of a rabbit with a pancake on its head

I agree

The first thing that I thought of after reading this and nodding my head is the business aspect. What once started as a hand written, thoughtful, and loving expression of our feelings for our loved ones somehow got copied by some entrepreneuring mind to make himself some money. Personally I might go as far as to say the same thing for Christmas gifts. Instead of giving from the heart and the Lord's abundant blessings, Christmas gifts are expected and a mere formality for most. Try not giving any gifts this year and see what kind of uproar you get! ;)

One step at a time

I definitely agree about the Christmas gifts. However, my strategy is to start small, taking one thing at a time. While ceasing the giving of Christmas gifts would be almost impossible for most to accomplish, starting small by giving up the "stronghold" of cards is a great step in the right direction.

The times that I feel the pain of this vain tradition are especially potent when I see something and think, "Tommy would like that. Maybe I should get it for him. Oh, well, I already spent my quota on his Christmas gift for next year. He'll just have to wait."

a d a m

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