Messages brings gift of smugness

As this is the time of year we fondly look back at past Christmases, allow me to return to a subject I’ve previously written about – the dreaded end-of-year communication known as the ‘Round Robin’.

So-named because when they come ‘Round’, they’re ‘Robin’ us of time that’d be better spent doing something more enjoyable.

(Like standing barefoot in a bowl of ice-cold water, peeling 10 pounds of sprouts, listening to Noddy Holder scream “It’s Chrrrrrrrissssstmas!” at maximum volume, on a three-hour loop tape.)

If you’ve never received one, ‘Round Robins’, are those self-congratulatory ‘What A Fantastic Year Our Family’s Had!’ letters and e-mails sent out by distant relatives you wish were even more distant; ex-work colleagues you barely remember; and that irritatingly smug couple you met on holiday and foolishly gave your address to.

Although you never see any of them from one year to the next, they mistakenly believe you’re interested in every little thing their incredibly successful family achieves . . .

“Amelia obtained 10 A-Levels! A school record! Next stop Cambridge!”

. . . though you’ve no idea if Amelia’s their daughter or their pet hamster.

Mind you, even I’d be impressed by a hamster who managed to get into Cambridge. The traffic on the ring road is murder.

‘Round Robins’ are the modern equivalent of a time when we were invited to spend a tedious evening gazing at other people’s ‘fascinating’ holiday snaps or, even worse, home movies – an experience so excruciating, it made water boarding seem like a fun day out at Legoland.

‘Round Robin’ writers never consider that your year mightn’t have been filled with as many golden opportunities as theirs.

There’s a reason for this.

They don’t care what sort of year you’ve had.

If they did, they’d ask.

Real friends regularly telephone or e-mail each other and offer congratulations when good things happen and commiserations when life deals a bad hand.

What they don’t do is send out an annual list of all the wonderful things that happened to them without giving a thought about your well-being.

However, if you can’t beat ’em, here’s my 2016 mini ‘Round Robin” . . .

In February, I sold my house. I’ll be in trouble when the council finds out.

In May, we lost Auntie Gladys. What a card game that was!

In September, I had 10 teeth taken out and a new gas cooker put in.

Merry Christmas!