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Crumbs from the fruit cake: The Christmas menace
By Edward Southerland
Dec 25, 2016
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As a race—Americans of all ethnic and racial origins—we are descended from frugal stock. For that reason we are incapable of throwing out perfectly usable wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, boxes and those charming tin boxes that once contained cookies, pretzels, and other holiday treats. Women are more susceptible to this compulsive behavior than men, but both sexes battle with it daily.

It is a well-known true fact (Dr. Murney. Das Tru Facten Wel Knowen. Berlin; 1923) that Christmas packaging materials are much like matter, at least partially so. As one learns in Physics 101, matter can be neither created nor destroyed, and those little tin boxes (They are actually steel I suspect, but why quibble.), especially those with pictures of Christmas trees, or wreaths or snowmen on them, while they can be created, cannot be destroyed.

In a study reported by eminent Professor Bindledocker of the University of Quat, anecdotal evidence of the phenomena was elicited from one J.F. (not his real initials) of West Marsupial, Kansas who, in a courageous exercise in self-discipline, hauled half a dozen of the tin boxes to the city dump in the week after Christmas, 1937.

By Christmas Eve 1938, all six of the tins had found their way back to his mailbox. Empty when thrown out, they now contained fruitcakes, butter cookies from Denmark and pretzels coated with white chocolate and red and green sprinkles. Realizing that disposition of the tins was useless, J.F. was forced to sell his collection of wooden nutmegs so that he could build a barn on the back lot to house the tins and the others like them that flooded his residence each Christmas.

Evidence that this takeover of American homes by Christmas packaging is shown further by the numbers of 10 by 12-foot storage sheds sprouting over the national landscape like toadstools after a summer rain. According to the Bureau for Figuring Out Such Things in Splendid View, Wyoming, the aggregate storage capacity of these structures, expressed in cubic hectare meters, now exceeds the land mass of several of the smaller sub Saharan sultanates.

What are we to do? One idea, forwarded to this desk by a reader in Perth Amboy, New Jersey., suggests dissolving the congress and using the capitol building in Washington, D.C. with its capacious dome, as a central storage facility. Officials in the administration have expressed considerable interest in this plan.

Shooting rocket loads of tin boxes into space also has been put forth, but environmentalists have complained that all of those shining pieces of tin floating in space would reflect the sun’s rays, bringing on a new ice age and requiring all the greenies to make new protest signs.

If you have a solution to this problem, write it up, put it in a tin box and send it to your neighbor. At the least, it will solve your immediate problem.