I do still appreciate receiving the odd letter or card that someone has filled with inky marks completely unique to them; specific thoughts powering tender flourishes and sealed with a gob of spit. It’s all so dramatic. I’ve always loved a good sniff of a pristine magazine too, and could never decide whether new or old book pages were better for thumbing.
I understand the love affair that still rages in some hearts over paper. I’ve always loved reading and that meant paper until very recently. It’s the storing of paper that I really hate; its propensity towards dusty, musty, mildew magnetism. Then there’s the getting rid of it – to shred or not to shred – before taking it all to the dump. However, once a year at Christmas, our paper fetish gets completely out of hand.
At Christmas, we’ve decided that nothing says you care like a bunch of paper.
Christmas cards: cost a small fortune to send, thanks to the rising cost of (paper) stamps and why? Do we not text/facebook etc all the people we love all year anyway?
Wrapping paper: begrudgingly strapped to presents in a show of caring, only to be ripped off again and shoved straight in the bin.
Boxes: designed to make small, cheap toys look bigger and more expensive – and often contain skin lacerating anti-theft twisty things – shoved in the recycling by 10am Christmas morning.
Streamers, printed out round-robbin letters (WHY not emails?) and Christmas crackers, all completely pointless.
Our street, by Boxing day, is a slalom of hopefully-thrust-forward red wheelie bins, bulging with paper and cardboard. The paper’s job is done: thank God all that wrapping/writing/sticking/sending amplified our love. We were right uncaring digital sods in November.
I’m not anti-Christmas (although I realise it may sound that way) but I AM a digital fan. Particularly at this time of year. It’s the waste I can’t stand. Why are all so wrapped up in paper?
I have no idea why digital love should be considered shoddy compare to paper love: it suits us all for the rest of the time. I am thrilled that my three boys are completely gadget and digital mad. They are growing up in a house where everything paper gets scanned, PDFd and shredded – if it can’t be received digitally in the first place.
What’s wrong with my electronic Christmas cards? Oxfam won’t miss out. I can also donate electronic money to make myself feel better about all the lovely things I’m going to pour down my throat, while someone else, far away, starves.
A consumable Christmas gift – wine, chocolate or Kindle words – are my favourite. Pleasure almost guaranteed and no wrapping or storage required.
Going digital does not mean getting rid of tradition or ‘not bothering’. Going digital means freeing up huge amounts of time to show people you care about them with meaningful actions and interactions, face to face. Christmas should be about real generosity; generosity of time, energy and love. I would much rather spend my Christmas enjoying my family instead of writing on, selotaping and recycling endless pieces of paper.
So I’m very proud of being part of the digital world. And in case you’re looking for a book to give someone as a gift, I’m selling one on Amazon. It doesn’t need wrapping or topping off with a card. It doesn’t need carrying or storing, it won’t gather dust or go mouldy. And it goes really well with several chocolate truffles and a large glass of Fitou.