In the day between Black Friday and Advent I have been thinking about how to format the family Christmas letter. This year presents two specific problems:
Firstly most of you now know what we have been up to this year so it isn’t really news and secondly, our “children” have morphed through “offspring” into adults (amazing given the studied neglect under which they grew up) and so it would be rude and presumptuous of me to write about them.
(A side thought there – should the point of adulthood be defined as when you send your own Christmas cards?)
So I come round to wondering what the purpose of a Christmas round-robin is once you exclude boasting about your children’s achievements? There are plenty of people, maybe you know some, who hate these annual A4 pages with faded-ink photos of handsome offsprung who look nothing like their geeky parents that you remember from school or university – amazing what Photoshop can do! (Don’t you?)
Some years I find myself almost disappointed when the card has no enclosures, the “season’s greetings” unembellished – well they may have been signed, but be honest, you knew who the sender was from the postmark didn’t you?! I admit I do find it helpful if you remind me of the names of your children – remembering my own is hard enough.
If you have already sent me a functional card unadorned with interesting gossip then you may have time to send another more informative missive and I will never know, but to be honest I am not expecting cards as I don’t think even our children know our Bermuda address.
So the question posed by any lazy advent journalism is whether email greetings are an acceptable, or even a preferable alternative –
The telegraph was commenting on it a month ago:
The BBC website archives have several similar articles across the last five years or so – you can depend upon at least one bishop to bring the topic up each year, as if cards are somehow more religious and proper than email greetings. I expect someone has argued somewhere that Jesus sent Christmas cards.
I have just found a whole website (in version one I posted the URL here but it is such an awful site it doesn’t warrant advertising) that sells email Christmas cards for companies – for nearly £300 you can send 500 email cards of absolutely-dull-corporate-non-festive-art to your clients and yes you may upload your company logo inside the card – they are hideous, but I suspect many gullible companies will fall for it. Search for the term “email Christmas cards” and there are a staggering 335,000,000 results.
I am not going to argue the email vs real card, I have friends who feel it takes away some Christmas fun and others who say it saves trees – you will never all agree. Circumstance and laziness have conspired to mean this year everything will be done by email – I have missed the dates for overseas posting.
There are therefore, several reasons why you won’t be getting a piece of A4 paper inside your Christmas card from this part of the Law family, not least that Bermuda uses American-sized paper not A4. (It has taken my printer long enough to learn that and my new computer has only just embarked on the steep learning curve)
But I still want to comply with the essence of the custom.
Coming up with a different format is a challenge (some will remember The Christmas Quiz, The 12 days of … , the impossible crossword, etc. )
And if I am not to breach any family privacies then funny items might be thin on the ground – I can’t remind you all when X was taken aside by Immigration and almost put back on the plane immediately, or how Y sent accompanying luggage to New York just so that I would buy a whole new wardrobe of Y-sized-clothes, or that Z seems to have been lost in the Bermuda Triangle, Z has not yet arrived on these shores.
I have five hours left until the start of advent, and that has determined the format for this year – A Law e-vent calendar.
So if you check back each day ….
No, daily comments would be too much, for me and you, so let’s agree to weekly posts, like the Blue Peter Advent candles carefully balanced on a wire coat hanger wrapped in tinsel. (With apologies to my non-UK readers – It was a children’s BBC programme that in the lead up to Christmas made gifts out of tinsel and sticky-backed plastic and collected used stamps for charity)
Hmmm, no chocolate surprises, didn’t think this one through did I, how to persuade you?
Anticipation, charm, e-chocolate!