There is a lot of criticism about the ubiquitous Christmas 'round robin' - and, to be fair, some of them are pretty dreadful ...letters quoting the wonderful achievements of offspring and the incredible holidays to exotic destinations. Some of them do sound unbelievable. I have, in the past, seen letters which make the holiday destination of choice sound previously undiscovered. Such a place has been 'chanced upon' by the extraordinary family who have opened up an unknown island destination for the world. As for success - these people might have invented the word.
It's easy to carp. It's difficult to write a good letter which celebrates achievements - even survival of family tragedy or other personal disasters - without 'showing off'. I always pass mine through the ultra-sensitive filter of my children who sniff out pretention in the first phrase. And always tell me so, straight out. They are my best critics and I hope our Christmas letter is received in the spirit in which it is written - just to let our friends know what has been happening throughout the year.
Yet whatever other people's letters are like, I do love getting them and catching up on all the news. I'd much rather have to trawl through pages of minutiae than receive only a card with a signature.
I'm really interested in my friends' lives. This Christmas season I've laughed and rejoiced, wept and sorrowed... written cards of celebration and letters of condolence... I'm so glad these special people have shared themselves with me. I'm so glad to hear from my friends.