Dreaded Christmas tradition: The family newsletter
AS MY outlaw family Christmas Day draws inexorably closer, I'm reminded of yet another tradition at this time of year that drives me crazy.
Actually, there are a few - crass commercialism being fairly close to the top of the list. I'm an atheist, but Christmas in its current form is to celebrate the birth of a messiah, not to drink a different gin each day.
A quick explanation - a large booze shop chain is flogging a gin advent calendar this year. Truly.
Actually, the linking of excessive alcohol consumption with just about every public holiday in this wide brown land of ours gives me cause for concern and should do the same for you, but that's a topic for another time.
However, I think the thing I look forward to least at this time of year is the sparkling family newsletter from various friends that arrive in lieu of a card.
Now that just about everyone has access to page layout software and a computer, there are so many ways to churn out these missives and so many unattractive results; hey, we have 4000 fonts, why not use every one of them?
Take a piece of advice from an art director - just because you can read it (and that's mostly because you know what it says) doesn't mean others can.
But pure aesthetics aside, it's the content that brings me grief.
One particular couple I have been friends with for many years have been blessed with four genetically gifted offspring.
They're all now making a motza in their chosen careers, and jolly good luck to them. I wish them nothing but the best, but do I have to be subjected to a spreadsheet detailing their good fortune, or (too many) photographs of the offsprings' offspring? I'm not really that interested in reading about the musical talents of a four-year-old prodigy.
And, of course, it's always the good news that is contained within; I can't recall ever receiving a family Christmas newsletter that included the paragraph, "Davo is back home with us again, having earned an early parole from his 12-year stretch in Long Bay for arson. It was his third time behind bars - top achievement, Davo, kudos for focussing on a career path, but hey, Santa please don't leave him another box of matches under the tree again this year hahaha!”
No, it's all Sam's great new waterfront holiday home on the far north coast (just a limo drive from the airport), Paula's new top-of-the-line Beemer that came with the job, and the grandchildren who've never had a cavity in their pearly white choppers.
At the risk of being labelled a grinch or a Scrooge (oh, all right then, guilty as charged) I say enough and beg for mercy.
It's Jingle Hell.