And this year's prize for the best Christmas card goes to....
Christmas is a great time to keep in touch. Which card did it best?
PEOPLE AND RELATIONSHIPSSEASONS
Call me a fuddy duddy if you like, but I maintain that Christmas cards should always be written by hand. As the last cards of the season drifted in today from foreign locations, I placed the remaining ones on our mantelpiece and stood back to survey them all. I love Christmas cards. They are a great way of maintaining contact with past friends , even if we may never meet again. But something has changed over recent years. Some of our cards have been sent to us from a stranger. No handwritten greeting nor piece of news...just a few photographs and printed words on a sterile card. Of course the photographs invariably show smiling faces, and often enviable acquisitions too . But of personalisation is there none. And so this years prize for the best Christmas card goes to a distant relative from America. It not only contains a warm newsy message, it has been created by hand. It is a beautiful and simple thing. What's more its creator is an octogenarian. Not for her these modern ways. Bravo!
And the prize for runner up goes to Gucci the dog and his feline friends. Again, the message has been written by hand. The card also is hand made with a printed design by the writer's niece, a talented artist. Anyone who knows this angelic yet mischievous canine will recognise that it is a perfect likeness , and a cheering image for Christmas.
And for all those other cards...thanks for remembering us. Of course nowadays some Christmas greetings turn up by email instead. It's always good to receive them; and who am I to criticise? It is many a year since I have put pen to paper to write a letter by hand. It's such a pity that we all seem to have lost this art.
Many years ago we used to enjoy reading the work of journalist Simon Hoggart in the Guardian newspaper. Alas he died , but we will always remember his regular end of year contribution. It all began when he excoriated the growing tradition for sending a round robin 'Christmas newsletter.' This allowed the writer to convey all the year's news without having to duplicate. The better ones had a little personal note scribbled at the end which redeemed them slightly. Every year thereafter around Christmas time, Guardian readers would send prime examples of this genre to Simon Hoggart , who reproduced some for the delight of his readers in his January column. Lack of self reflection was a common factor as letter writers bragged of all their finest deeds and the grandiose achievements of their amazing families. Alas, those of us who have had to weather the common vagaries of life could only groan. But Guardian readers exacted their revenge and Simon Hoggart began to include one or two exceedingly amusing spoofs. I miss his journalism.
As the old year grows to a close , and our French neighbours prepare to celebrate 'Reveilllon ' with a seafood meal, may I avoid bringing you bad luck by just wishing you 'Bon Fin d'Année.'