In the era of relentless 24/7 social media feeds, an ancient tradition of writing Christmas round robin letters to friends and family has become all but extinct.
My own children, a mix of the Millennials and Gen Z, listened in disbelief when I told them about this once ubiquitous custom.
Christmas round robin letters served one and one purpose only. Under a thin disguise of catching-up with long-time-no-see friends and relatives, it provided the author with a platform for unbridled brag fest.
A typical round robin letter started with a catalogue of one’s offspring’s achievements, including exam results, musical grades, always passed with distinction, Ivy League university offers, and record-breaking sporting triumphs. The letter then moved on to one’s own career successes, only just falling short of providing the reader with salary details, and finished off with a list of long-haul holiday destinations.
Once complete, the letter was inserted into a Christmas card, and posted off.
Christmas cards, another item on the list of endangered inanimate objects, served mostly as seasonal heart emojis, unless, on opening, the neatly folded round robin fell out, in which case you knew you were minutes from finding out what a pathetic failure your own life was in comparison.
In the pre-WhatsApp times, there was no easy way of muting round robin messages, except doing something so bad as to be taken off their authors’ Christmas card list. Literally.
In the time of round robins’ peak popularity, I never got to write one, which felt a bit like always a bridesmaid, never a bride at the time. The simple reason was that I had nothing to boast about in the 1980s and early 1990s. My career was an eclectic mess of hits and misses without a clue or direction, and I did not have an offspring yet, so I was not able not live my life vicariously through them like I am doing now.
Which brings me conveniently to today’s day.
Today, I am going to take advantage of a long summer day to treat you all to a Midsummer Robin. I apologise if you feel ambushed right now, but since you’ve stayed with me all the way up this point, you might as well carry on reading.
My first born got himself a paid job. Despite asking several times, I am still not entirely sure what the job entails, but it’s something to do with adapting a previous pauper and prostitutes’ burial place in Central London to modern urban community needs.
We are all immensely proud of him.
My second born completed her first year of university and was invited back in September to continue her studies. She had initially planned to work during her long summer holiday, but in the end opted for horse-riding in Spain instead.
We are all immensely proud of her.
My youngest child took part in an essay competition organised by the New College of Humanities and won first prize in the English Literature category, leaving thousands of other Year 12 essay writers behind. Such is the beauty of the internet, that you can all read her award-winning essay on the NCH website (https://www.nchlondon.ac.uk/pre-university-programmes/essay/essay-winners-2022/).
Did I mention that we are all immensely proud of her? We are.
All that is left for me to say now is, have a lovely summer break, Everybody.