Why is Christmas so wrapped up?

Xmas Ola

As a digitally published author, it probably doesn’t come as a huge surprise that I’m happy we’re moving towards a paper-free world. 

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.

The Psychic Detective Agency

 

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About Sally Nursten

Writer. Mother. Lover of life and all its twisty-turny ways.
This entry was posted in chocolate, creativity, wine, Writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Why is Christmas so wrapped up?

  1. Lovely piece Sals, had me grinning all the way through…

  2. Scott says:

    Love it! So very, very true.

  3. Pa says:

    As a lifelong book addict I thoroughly agree with you. People mourn the loss of the hand-written epistle, but what is so marvelous about it? It’s only words, with the occasional picture thrown in, and they could just as easily be digital.

    The hand-written paper job is mooted as something that can be lovingly stored in a treasure chest somewhere in your house, to be discovered in a couple of centuries when your biography is about to be written. But how many such treasure chests get dumped by uncaring descendants on the rubbish tip? How many houses burn down with the archive blowing away on the wind in a flurry of charred flakes? And with global warming your cellar isn’t immune to turning it all into mouldering sludge!

    The digital archive is far more durable and resilient to the ravages of time, neglect and the whims of future generations. It can sit up there in the cloud for ever, or you can do what I do and keep it on one of those ever-cheaper digital storage devices, and spread copies among your families and friends. Some time in the future somebody will wonder what is on that shiny disk, or postage stamp sized chip thing, or the blodge-twiddle that supercedes them, and there will always be the wherewithall to dig out the contents.

    Digital is the way forward. No longer is your precious manuscript a kilogram of recyclable paper that can be chucked away in a careless moment and lost forever in a shower of regret. It is a minuscule collection of pips and dots that take up next to no room on a storage device somewhere in the ether or the back of a hundred friends’ and families’ drawers, one example of which will survive far longer than the vulnerable paper equivalent that we have lived with for centuries.

    Things are always changing. Five hundred years ago the printed book took over from the hand-written manuscript, which lived side by side with scrolls, which took over from wax and wood tablets, velum and papyrus, which followed baked clay slabs covered in cuneiform characters, which …….

    Over a hundred years ago the typewriter offered an alternative to the goose quill and fountain pen. Thirty years ago word processors took over from the typewriter. Twenty years ago texting took over from the postcard. In 2012 the typewriter died. Digital is the way forward – in whatever form it takes with the next giant lurch in technology.

  4. This is my first year of not sending cards by post, instead I’m giving to charity, so this piece has come just at the right time, easing my guilt, thank you & merry Christmas!

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