We bring you glad tid­ings

The smug­ness and of­ten stag­ger­ing in­sen­si­tiv­ity of the Christmas round-robin let­ter is enough to drive one to drink, but Kit Hes­keth-har­vey ad­mits that their aw­ful­ness does add to fes­tive amuse­ment

Country Life Every Week - - Visual Treasures -

CHRISTMAS is com­ing and the robin’s get­ting fat. Not, alas, the cheery lit­tle fel­low on the Christmas card, but the news­let­ter con­tained therein. Brace your­selves for sea­sonal bliz­zards, not of snow, but of roundrobin let­ters.

Self-de­lud­ing? Boast­ful? Solip­sis­tic? Prolix? Or, if one is lucky, con­tain­ing tid­ings of—quite un­in­ten­tional— comic joy? It was bad enough re­ceiv­ing cards per­son­alised with a pho­to­graph of the sender’s fam­ily wear­ing iden­ti­cal snowflake jumpers and grin­ning like Tony Blair in front of the new coun­try house/yacht/ chalet/fourth Of June picnic, but there was at least fun to be had in de­cid­ing which of their teenagers bore the most telling ex­pres­sion of quiet des­per­a­tion.

It’s worse now. Un­less you’re alert enough to shake the card out di­rectly over the re­cy­cling bin (much as one does in or­der to rid the Sun­day pa­pers of junk), you are as likely as not to be en­gulfed in an avalanche of un­wanted, un­in­tel­li­gi­ble in­for­ma­tion.

One woman of my ac­quain­tance opened a card that shrieked ‘Have The Best Christmas Ever’. In­side, a chirrupy re­port crowed over a dizzy­ingly suc­cess­ful twelve­month: the hol­i­day in Bali, the self­less char­ity work, the sun-drenched golden-wed­ding an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion. Its au­thor con­cluded with the hope that her re­cip­i­ent had had just as lovely a year. The re­cip­i­ent had been wid­owed a month pre­vi­ously. And the sender had at­tended the fu­neral.

‘No­body cares that your child is on its gap year in Viet­nam’

God rest ye merry? The an­nual fes­tive mis­sive doesn’t al­ways have the in­tended ef­fect

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