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
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