Monday, 16 December 2013

In the spirit of the season?

I stumbled across a BBC Magazine article this morning while I was avoiding writing Christmas cards. It's ten pro/con items about sending Christmas cards. On the whole, the article encourages the sending of cards, but Item #9 drew me up short: the expert (some guy who wrote a book about the vanishing art of letter-writing) . . .implores: "Please no pictures of your beaming family."

Oh, damn.

The Resident Fan Boy and I have sent picture cards for the past 21 years, starting with elder daughter's first Christmas. People tell us they like them. But they would, wouldn't they? I've always figured we were gifting both our friends and "frenemies". Our friends would get a kick out of watching the girls grow up; anyone who didn't care for the RFB or (more likely) me, could derive grim satisfaction out of watching us age.

The BBC and I seem to be in agreement on the subject of what Britons call "round robin letters" and I call "newsletters". I have loathed them from the get-go. At best, they are impersonal documents pretending to be letters; at worst, they are painfully tedious itemizations of events that really aren't that interesting, usually accompanied by a painfully long travelogue for good measure. The nadir was the sweet young mother of two who informed us and everyone else on her list, in photo-copied splendour, that she had recently suffered a miscarriage and that her heart went out "to all those of you unable to have children".

So, for the record, I've never sent a family newsletter, journal, gazette, or year-in-review. Given the fact that elder daughter is now of the traditional age of majority, our friends and frenemies soon may be spared the gurning family photo as well.

So long as they keep off Facebook. I'll get back to scribbling illegible holiday greetings now; I've already bought the damn stamps.

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