I write this having taken down all my Christmas decorations and packed them away. This was followed by dusting away all that had accumulated since the decorations went up – that’s a good three week’s worth – and in this house that is DUSTY!
Not because I usually dust every day ( Hahahahaahaa! *picks up self from floor*) no, just because old houses, especially those with coal (anthracite grains) fired boilers and wood-burners, seem to create dust at an unbelievable rate. However, with every surface bestrewn with cards, beads or tinsel you couldn’t see the dust to worry about it …. so I didn’t HAVE to dust it! (HURRAH! sometimes I wish it was Christmas for longer)
As I was packing away said cards I came across the round robin Christmas letters, tucked behind the crocodile (not a real one), and took time to read them properly, as all I’d been able to do was to give them was a cursory scan when they arrived, such was the manic pace in the house pre-Christmas. They ranged from a third of a page apology for not writing more – but the year had been so horrible there was nothing good to write – to a full, small-font, three pager, complete with photographs, from family on the other side of the world. Given the time to read them, I was glad to catch up with old friends (yes, some of whom we have not seen for YEARS!).
Am I complaining? Hardly! I am also one who sends an update with a Christmas card to selected people – a single sheet of largish font with pictures to break it up a bit, and each year I wonder if it is well received or not.
This year, for the first time, I received a few hand written cards with a p.s. saying ‘thanks for the update – it’s nice to know how everyone is getting on’ … and that is the answer I shall continue to work by.
In the press, however, there has been a bit of a dust-up* over these letters, largely spiked by Lynne Truss (author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves) who wrote a series of satirical replies to christmas round robin letters broadcast on Radio 4- which would give anyone pause for thought before sending their own missive next year. [*did you see that .. how I linked the dusting to the letters – haha!]
However the blog The Middle Class Handbook has suggestions about how to pitch the Christmas update so as not to offend – and I think I broadly agree with these pointers. Briefly: statements of fact without embellishment, not too much about the offspring, both good and bad in the mix, something funny if possible and, above all, don’t be smug. I’ll be checking my own carefully next year. 🙂 And I think I’d add to this list:- send to selected people only – not just one with every card sent out regardless of recipient.
So, did you get any or these round robin Christmas letters? Did you appreciate reading them or not? Do you send one – and why? Let me know your thoughts and feelings – I love to hear from you!