Revelations: It's written in the cards...
Tuesday 23 December 1997
Charity card: I am a really caring and compassionate person, even though I only buy the nice Greenpeace designs with whales and stuff and not the strange ones painted by amputee women using their feet (because, frankly, my five-year-old could draw better than that). And this is, after all, the era of "compassion with a hard edge".
Large, glossy card with enclosed "Family Newsletter": I am a pretentious middle-class prat, and so is each and every member of my immediate family. Here is a rundown of their paltry achievements if further proof were needed.
Card depicting the Baby Jesus in a lowly cattle shed: you have received a promotional mail-out from the British Meat Marketing Commission.
Card depicting a Christmas tree bedecked with softly-glowing candles: you have received a promotional mail-out from the British Tallow Marketing Commission.
Really tacky and tasteless musical card: I was going to buy you some really tacky and tasteless musical socks, but I didn't know your size. This will prove just as irritating when your children play with it constantly at the dinner table.
Card with Dubious Sexual Joke: may revolve around a) Santa "coming" down the chimney; b) filling of stockings and stuffing of birds; or c) alternative red extremities with which Rudolf may be endowed - I want you to think I am exceedingly witty and a bit of a "lad", despite the fact that I haven't had any sexual contact with anyone since that brief snog encounter under the mistletoe last Christmas (and even that was with Drunk Uncle Jack).
Belated card (with optional message reading "sorry if this gets delayed in the post!"): I have picked up a whole box of cards reduced to 20p in the January sales.
Large pink card depicting rabbit dressed as Santa and printed message "Christmas Wishes to a Darling Little Girl": charmingly thoughtful if from an elderly female relative to a small child. Psychologically disturbing if from your boss, if you are over the age of 40, or if you are a bloke (of any age).
Card wishing recipient a "Joyeux Noel", "Bonne Annee" or "Frohliches Weihnachten": I am strongly in favour of closer Economic Union. My idea of dealing with leftover turkey is to allow them into Europe providing they meet with all the required convergence criteria.
E-mailed card: I am on the cutting edge of technology, and also aware of the fact that I can save at least 26p a card by not actually buying any this year. (However, since I only have about three friends left, such a saving is of little importance in the long run.)
Card showing a jolly bearded fellow in a red suit, surrounded by Elves: I am Robin Cook, and Tony told me it was good PR to send cards with a photo of you and your family on the front.
Card showing blessed Virgin, meek and mild: I am still not convinced by all this Girl Power stuff.
Card with cheque inside: I am warm, caring, and probably about to ask you a large favour.
Postcard from Barbados: I am just trying to make you jealous that I'm rich enough to escape Christmas in the bloody British climate.
Postcard from Bermuda: I am Geoffrey Robinson MP.
Hand-made card: I am a highly artistic type, and consequently spend my entire day sitting around with sod all to do except make Christmas cards. Being on benefit, I also have no money to spend on Christmas cards (even those horrid cheapo ones from Woolies).
Personalised card with family photo on the front: I am so fundamentally insecure that I feel the need to provide photographic proof that someone has finally agreed to marry and/or have children with me. Given the stressful nature of Christmas in the 1990s, this may also be a useful reminder of the last time the whole family was actually together.
Personalised card with family photo on the front, if you are a politician: I have a lot of cards to send and getting Euan to do them on his computer works out much cheaper. Also, it'll save having to do a photocall by the garden gate if I'm implicated in a sex scandal during the next 12 months.
Personalised card with passport photo on the front: I am Jack Straw, trying to introduce identity cards by the back door.
Black-edged card inscribed with message of sincere condolence: I am a killjoy.
Bright yellow card reading "Royal Mail called but you were out. Your parcel(s) have been returned to the Sorting Office for collection after 27/12/97": you will not be getting any Christmas presents this year. Ha! (And, incidentally, we've already broken them all by trying unsuccessfully to shove them through your letterbox.)
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BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
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