Friday, 18 December 2009

I like robins on my bird table.........


...but not "round robins" inside my Christmas cards, if you don't mind!

Bernie asked in the comments to yesterday's post how I felt about printed letters put inside my card telling me the family's news for the year. Well, I have to say, Bernie, I hate them.f any of you reading this send a round robin then I apologise for hating them and I would be interested to hear your side of the argument as to why you send them. In the meantime here is my round robin:-
Dear sender of my latest round robin letter,
Thank you for your Christmas card. It is years since we met but I have such happy memories of our fun times together when we lived near by. It is lovely to get your card and to be reminded of those times - and also to hear that you are both well and still enjoying life. The renewal of such friendships each Christmas is a precious thing to me.But please don't send me your round robin letter. I appreciate that you are both busy people (your round robin is full of all the things you have done this year - it makes me tired just reading through them!)) but in the time it must have taken for you to compose, type and print the robins.I think it would have been possible for you to just write one line on each card - something like -"remembering the old days", or "we are both well, hope you are". or even just "happy Christmas dear old friends." But I really don't want to know every day out you had, every holiday in detail, the exploits (always, always "good", "clever" or "highly imaginative") of your grandchildren and a list of their exam results (always, always top marks).

Apart from the fact that I have never met any of your children, let alone grandchildren, I am also quite busy writing my cards and putting a little personal hand-written note on each one, and when your letter (three pages long) falls out of your card on to the carpet my heart sinks in anticipation of a long and - frankly - rather boring read.

Please don't think I am ungrateful - I do want to continue to hear from you and to know that, like me, you remember the good times we all had in the old days. I just wish you would keep it brief. This letter comes with love - and remembering the happy times together.


What do You think of round robins? Answers in the comment box please, not on a postcard and certainly not in a round robin.


##cannot resist putting this photograph on - it is my kitchen window this morning. As we have double glazing it has taken almost all day to thaw and there is still a patch as darkness falls. Deep snow and freezing outside - I have not been outside the door all day - Tess adores the snow and comes in covered in bobbles which drop off on the carpet.


36 comments:

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Lovely picture, although it emits tremors of cold. Cold here also, for Texas. Rather dreary.

I usually send a letter - a tongue in cheek as they say. Even though we haven't seen many of those who receive it in years, I keep them up to date on our faults. No perfect kids or marriages around my house. Usually a little comic relief in the season. One year my dog wrote it.

I didn't send one last year and have received a few requests. Maybe mine aren't as bad those who all "are just great" and "fine." I admire those who write an individual letter. I usually do add a personal note as well. Oh, so need to decide if I'm doing either this year.

Sal said...

I absolutely hate them and feel just the same as you!
;-)

mrsnesbitt said...

Agree!

elizabethm said...

I am not a fan. Like you, I prefer a short note, just a sentence will do!

Heather said...

Beautiful picture Weaver - if you bought some Lutrador and a heat gun you could emulate that texture! We have only had snow flurries today - nothing serious. I would rather have a round robin than nothing at all, but only if I know what is being written about. As you say, to have chapter and verse of every outing and grandchildrens' escapades it gets very boring. A hand written note is by far the most desirable way of communicating.

Karen said...

I am not a fan either, mostly because the letters seem so tacky -very boastful, instead of "real". I do like to receive the family and children photos when made into Christmas cards and a brief note.

jinksy said...

I think they should be banned - loathsome things!These days it's so easy to pick up a phone from time to time, or send an email to keep in touch. There is no excuse for these yearly, self-congratulatory diatribes.

Momadeb said...

I absolutely LOVE your outlook on round robins!! I SO totally agree with you . I get these from family and I throw them away!!!! Love it!!!!

Totalfeckineejit said...

I love round Robins with their friendly faces and puffed up red breasts.I love that they don't desert us in the winter like all the fly by night fair weather birds.There's a particular one I encounter everyday near the pond, tame as can be,it would almost talk to you,in fact one day it did, but I think that was the DT's again.

Coastcard said...

I'm feeling quite brave to throw my feather (or pennyworth) in to this debate, but please, Weaver, may I beg to disagree?

We have moved - for work reasons - so much (from Rome to Hadrian's Wall, with a number of places in between) that our friends are scattered and our nearest family a good distance away.

We keep in touch with many friends through email, visits, telephone conversations (& even Skype, my husband adds!) etc. - 'in no particular order' as they say - during the year; but we love to receive Round Robins at Christmas since there are many friends from Australia to Romania to USA who we only see once in a blue moon - or less.

We love the photos (yes, photos, please!), the commentary - and, of course, the personal note often scribbled at the end. There might be rare exceptions - but then there are in most things. We sit down with steaming coffee and mince pies and savour the post, round robins and all!

... And yes, we do send one. It has photos (of course) and is like a magazine page, with sound-bite bits of news - and I even used bullet points this year to keep my news short and (hopefully) snappy!

If folk don't want to read it, they can always let us know or simply recycle the paper...

Robins on our window ledge, please, - and round robins through the letter box: some of the joys of Christmas in our home!

Come on out from your 'hibernation', fellow-round robin folk. It would be good to see all views on this one!

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

I don't think anyone is happy to receive those epistles, and yet people still insist on sending them...haven't they heard??? I've even received a few by e-mail - ughh!!

Jane Moxey said...

Those newsletters must be nice for family members, but to send them to people with whom most contact, save for a yearly obligatory Christmas card, is lost always strikes me as a bit odd. It's a bit like people who know famous people and refer to them by first names, assuming the rest of us might know immediately who they're on about...

Helsie said...

I'm with you Weaver, I hate them too. Impersonal, boring and I feel a bit insulted when they come from family members who assume I don't know what's going on in the family!
Ban them I say!
Cheers

Golden West said...

I don't send them around and only receive a few. One in particular is remarkable for its length alone and must have taken hours to create. I do prefer the personal touch.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I am giggling!! I am afraid I share your feelings about these printed family brag letters. Like you I write a little something in my cards and send a photo of the dogs, which everyone seems to want! But no round robins here!

Oh, and to answer your question about the photographs I posted of our home... yes that is indeed my lion head on the wall. He is stationed near our entry hall and wears a hat from a 1910 Odd Fellows costume that I found at an antique market. At Christmas, we bedeck him with blue glass stars and golden leaves. We Love Him!

Cloudia said...

Wonderful photo,
wise words...



Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

Crafty Green Poet said...

I don't like round robins. although one friend sent one one year that was a true work of art, illustrated and entertaining.

Dick said...

Absolutely with you re round robins, Pat. My natural interest in the doings of my friends is suffocated by the round robin house style of busy-busy detail, arch asides, trumpeting celebration of kids' academic/sporting/creative triumphs, plethora of exclamation marks, breathless jokiness and smug assumptions of total absorption on the part of the reader. The data they provide should be interactional, shared, so that there's some mutuality to the process. As other commenters point out, this can be managed via email exchange, Skype, iChat, whatever. We have the technology, folks!

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

Well, you've stirred something up again here. I'm going to keep Coastcard company!

For years, particularly during our guest house period, we sent out such a letter. Perhaps it helped salve a bad conscience for lack of contact with many folks during the year; perhaps it was laziness caused by the thought of handwriting 200+ personal notes, which wouldn't have been written otherwise. I tried to make them entertaining and never pages long. The recipient is free to read or not.

Perhaps, for those who really do dislike receiving them, it would be better to let their friends know, which could save time and money. It might also cause some to wonder if they keep in touch out of affection or simply obligation.

Arija said...

Weaver dear, my sentiments entirely! My heart sinks at the sight of a 2+ page small print letter. Even with glasses I find them hard to read and certainly the interest wanes when it comes to the offspring of the offspring.
I much prefer a line or two at some random time of the year when it is spontaneous than to be snowed under with obligatory cards at Christmas.

Val said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Val said...

I'm with Midlife Jobhunter, Coastguard and Derrick
it's easy to criticize, I don't mind how friends and family contact me. If they are not friends or family (who are hopefully both) why bother keeping in touch?
You may be able to elegantly compose a short hand written missive...which is lovely if you have/make the time.
But why be so smug and rude about it folks? it's not very Christmassy and leaves a rather nasty taste to be truthful..I'm sorry... surely if you care about them they can make contact anyway they darn well please and if you don't care about them why bother ...

ArtPropelled said...

Bravo! I feel so guilty every christmas because I quail at the sight of the annual round robin..... skreeds of it! I had quite a lot more to say on the subject but have deleted it..... just in case. I do however feel so much better hearing that many others feel the same way.

steven said...

hello weaver - well i find them unlikely, improbable at times and often unintentionally funny. so i'll take them and find what i can in them. have a peaceful day! steven

The Weaver of Grass said...

Well it seems that I really have set the cat amongst the pigeons here folks! I do hope I have not offended anyone. The general feeling seems to be against them, with one or two exceptions and with dear TFE sitting on the fence and pretending he misunderstands (very wise as usual, TFE). I do love to get a good discussion going and I do think I have succeeded here.
I must reiterate that I have absolutely no objection to round robins being circulated around close family - maybe it is a jolly good way of keeping everyone informed. As I said in my post - and as I still feel strongly - with acquaintances who don't know the people involved it is better to write two or three words on a card. And yes I agree - we don;t have to read them and yes I agree we can always write to the sender and say - please don't send one to me next year - although I think that would be a bit harsh.
Thank you for the response all of you - it is so good to air these subjects.
Deep snow here and very cold. I am trying to put a photo of our Christmas tree on but so far my feeble photography has not produced one good enough to reproduce in blogland.
Keep snug and warm if you are in the snow zone - if you are in Summer temperatures - you lucky people!

Coastcard said...

Certainly no offence here, Weaver: it's just fascinating to hear the views of others, especially from those who have stated their reasons (rather than just their reactions) one way or (just occasionally!) the other.

No snow here - just miserably cold, dark drizzle and ice outside, but Christmas lights and decorations inside to cheer us. Strangely, the visibility over the Severn is very good and I can see ships. It must be bitter out there on the ocean.

ANGLESEY ALLSORTS said...

Hi, just stumbled accross your blog! Very much enjoyed your take on life, I had many happy years farming, now in a little cottage in deepest Wales.
I will be back formore!

Vicky

Pondside said...

I detest those long family newsletters and rarely read my way through one.
Loved the photo of the window. When we lived in Cold Lake there was only one place in town for a cup of tea or coffee when one went for groceries, and all winter long its window was frozen, thick with ice. It allowed an interesting and distorted view of the liquor store across the street, until the ice became so thick that nothing was visible. As the weather warmed in the spring it was a bit diappointing to see the streetscape again - much nicer to imagine we were somewhere hot and interesting!

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

Oh, Weaver, that reply of yours is just so funny! I love it! I don't know what I would make of it if I recieved one though...

I like round robins of the book sort (ofcourse) of the bird sort and even of the letter sort (as long as were not talking chain mail...) but I may be worse than someone who sends a mass letter mailing because I send a txt, albeit one written seperately for each person and replied to individually. Is that worse? it's not a lack of thought, just time, which sounds terrible when we have 12mnths warning that christmas is coming!
I've written the grand total of 3 cards this year and am still to post 2 of them...oh dear.

Cindee said...

I wouldn't mind Round Robins if they were creative and fun, but most (not all) of them seem to be written by people who live on the surface of life and don't delve much or ever look up. I guess it's because Round Robin writers are so busy (which is why they opt for the form letter instead of personal notes) that they haven't taken time to slow down and savor life and experience what is really important and interesting. My appologies to those out there who are robin writers, Like I said "most but not all")

Emerging Writer said...

I must lodge myself on the "I like them" side of the fence. I only get a couple and the more braggy ones just make me laugh. What's not to like?

I send a robin of just 4 or 5 photos and captions to hit a highlight for each family member ...and then only send them to a select few who may be interested.

Just writing, "we're still alive and kicking" doesn't say anything anyway.

BT said...

Hello Weaver, well now you've done it, haven't you? lol!! I like some of the round robins. My sister sends one from Australia and as she's hopeless at keeping in touch, I do learn some news that I didn't know. They're not 'braggy' though! I despise the ones from old friends who brag about their offspring and grandchildren. Jim remarked on one we received last year 'they forgot to mention that their dog won Crufts'!! lol. They're the sort I hate.

That's my twopennorth!

Merisi said...

I hope you don't mind that I add my opinion:
I rather enjoy reading what my faraway friends have been up to all year. Yes, we do stay in contact occasionally, but we all have full lives and the one or other detail may have escaped me when I first heard about it. I am happy if the kids have done well in school, their health scare turned into just a scare, life has been good and even the trials and errors of the past year have not been able to destroy their good spirit.

I cherish my friends, some are closer at times than others, others are "only" parents of my children's friends for example. Still, they have a place in my heart and even though I do not have the time and energy to stay in constant contact with them, their Christmas letter may at first land in a basket by the fireplace (oh well, I don't have a fireplace anymore), but when January comes around, I may just pick up the phone and have a long chat, talking about all what was hidden between the lines. After all, friendships are able to survive years of benign neglect, even Christmas letters, only to intensify once again when the time and place are right.

A happy holiday season to you and your loved ones,
Merisi

Merisi said...

P.S.:
May I ask why there is so much resentment against "trumpeting" children's achievements? After all, children are our future and should we not all rejoice when they are doing well? Wouldn't it set a fine example if we, upon reading about these chidlren's graduation for example, to send them a few handwritten lines? They may even take a clue from our own behavior and send us a handwritten note every now and then? Unless we don't care, of course.
Cheers!

Elizabeth said...

Very late sending in a response to this post.
I take a sort of perverse delight in the round robin letters.
They reflect the obsessions of the writers so very well!
The children's achievements are always astounding.
Also rather fun to spoof.
The best round robin/Christmas letter was from a friend who lives a quiet life in the country and wrote most amusingly about them moving the bread stand in the small supermarket. Sort of a dig at people whose epic lives are designed to make the rest of us feel inferior!
much love
e

Sandy said...

"Coastcard" says it perfectly for me - I don't hate them. In this day and age with so many working long hours and living far apart I love it when I get an annual Christmas letter. Unfortunately many don't write anything on their cards & only sign their name(s) and that is so disappointing not to know how they are doing. We have been sending an annual Christmas letter - only one page & one sided with photos - since 1991. We don't have children so we can't brag about them but we do let people know what is going on in our lives. We still correspond with friends from high school, past jobs, old neighbors, college plus family. Of course, close family members know what we have been doing but they still remark that they "enjoy" our letters - mostly due to my hubby's wit and humor. And annual letters aren't always bragging letters - with the economy many have lost jobs or are laid off - some are sad with deaths or illness in the family - we in fact have written ones like those over the years. We keep all of our annual Christmas letters in one binder and look back at them - it's like a short history of our lives year by year. Anyways that's how I feel. I also write something personal on my cards. Funny expression - round robins - I never heard that one before. Interesting post and thanks for letting me have a positive say for annual Christmas letters.

Teacup Lane (Sandy)