Sunday, December 18, 2016

The dreaded round robin Christmas newsletter with a twist

Christmas is approaching with frightening rapidity, mainly because I’ve had my head down in a book – writing one, not reading one, although I’ve been doing that as well. I’ve also been trying to get my house reconstruction finished, sort out my annual accounts, do Christmas present shopping, and prepare to move again for three months.

The rest of the time I’ve been merely loafing.

So, my sending out of cards this year has been, well, nonexistent, if I’m honest. Fortunately, I have a Jacquie Lawson eCard account and know how to use it, so I won’t entirely fail to keep in touch. No, you can’t stand an eCard on your mantelpiece for visitors to admire, but they’re lovely pieces of animated artwork all the same.

I’ve also been contemplating newsletters. Not only because I realise just how long it is since I sent one out to my readers, but also because it’s at this time of year you tend to receive family newsletters along with Christmas cards from people you haven’t seen in donkey’s years.

Now, in principle there’s nothing whatsoever wrong with sending out one of these annual missives, but I think you have to think carefully about the recipient. In the past I’ve had them from people I don’t know well, and the news about children and grandchildren whose names are utterly unfamiliar, and whose achievements therefore mean very little, can leave me nonplussed.

Mind you, I also used to receive cards that showed a picture on the front of ‘us heli-skiing in New Zealand earlier this year’ or whatever exotic holiday activity had been undertaken. I’m not entirely sure what the aim was of this, other than to be read out in a sarky tone of voice by the recipient.

In fact, quite a few people have expressed scorn for this type of communication, but I think it depends on the information given and the intent behind it.

So often, it seems to be reduced down to a list of achievements and boasts, both humble and otherwise.  ‘Jocasta had such difficulty choosing between Oxford and Cambridge for her university place, but after all those good grades everybody wanted her.’ ‘Nigel hardly had time to enjoy our second annual cruise after his latest promotion at work.’  ‘The new kitchen took a week longer to install than expected, but it’s bliss having both a steam rotisserie oven and an espresso machine built in …’

Either that, or it’s the anti-round robin, full of injuries, illnesses, family bereavements and bad luck.

Wouldn’t it be fun to send, or receive something a bit more … out of the ordinary?

‘Dear …………

‘Well, another year nearly over, and what a year it’s been! We can’t send you any pictures, as apparently it’s frowned upon when you’re in Witness Protection.

We had to move again, after the fire. Who would have thought it would catch so quickly? But on a happy note, the neighbour’s parrot was really quite old anyway.

Harper came home from kindergarten with her first exclusion last week. Little tyke! We think she’s trying to compete with her brother. It’s not everyone who can boast their first ASBO at seven, but he always was advanced for his age.

We managed to get away to the sun for a week or two this summer. Well, after that armoured car job we thought we’d better lie low for a bit. Had a lovely time, although poor Lenny lost twenty grand after a deal with some Russians went bad. I told him not to do business with someone he met in a bar on the Costa del Sol, but would he listen!

Auntie Doris is having a break this Christmas. She’s doing three months in Holloway for her shoplifting this time. Her own fault for trying to get out of Tesco’s with a frozen turkey under her fur hat. The cold made her faint and when the manager tried to revive her, well, that was that. She says she’s looking forward to having someone else cook her Christmas dinner and putting her feet up.

Our Wayne had his application for early release turned down last month. Something to do with the last riot in Parkhurst. But on the bright side he did get his picture on the front of the Daily Mail. Even with the balaclava, you can still recognise his cheeky smile.

We were so pleased to get your own Christmas round robin and hear about your new car, the iPads you bought the children for their birthdays, and when you’re going to be away on your winter cruise.

Next time we’re in your area, we’ll be sure to pop in …

All the best


(No point in me signing my name, as it’s changed several times since we last met.)

Hope you all have a very Happy Holidays – wherever, however, and with whomsoever you intend to spend them.

This week’s Word of the Week is amicide, meaning the killing of a friend.


  1. With all due respect, could we see bit more of the guys in elf wear, and a lot less in buff? I don't want to risk losing my remaining Christmas spirit--or lunch. Happy Holidays, Ms. Santa's helper. :)

    1. Hey, if they posted pictures of themselves dressed as Elves, rather than dressed in less, I would have posted 'em. And 'buff' is not how I'd describe those figures, Jeff ...

  2. Thanks, Zoë, it's been a long week (of hard work, nothing dire), and laughter IS the best medicine (curative AND preventative). If I had any power on this earth, I'd make the coming year an exciting and wonderful time for all of you, but alas, you'll just have to settle for exciting. No fear of amicide around here, just lots of amity, my amie.

    1. Thanks, EvKa. As long as it's amity rather than enmity, that's fine :-) Hope the New Year brings you all good things.

  3. Zoe, I love this. I want to send it to everyone in my contacts!

    1. Thank you, Annamaria. Have a wonderful time on your Italian travels.

  4. Very funny and clever.

    And I do have a friend who sends a Christmas letter every year, with many similar points as in this post. No nudity, but lots about everything she has done and is doing and news about nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces whom I have never met and whose names I can't keep straight.

    But what fodder for humor! Happy Holidays!

    1. Thanks, Kathy. Those newsletters are great if they're going to family who KNOW who all these people are, but sending them out to friends and acquaintances who don't have a clue seems a little strange to me. Happy Holidays to you, also.

  5. Tee Bee, very funny. But one question. What is the word for murdering somebody called Amy?

    1. Still spelt 'amicide' but with an initial capital?