Miles Kington: Bah, humbug! It's the annual Christmas card debate...

'It was about time we ignored the whole fake expensive business and took a stand. We would not send a single bloody card!'
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The Independent Online

It's late November. Time to have your Christmas card conversation. You know, the conversation you have every year about this time. About Christmas cards. You know the one.

It goes like this...

"So, what about Christmas cards?"

"How do you mean, what about Christmas cards?"

"What are we going to do about Christmas cards?"

"How do you mean, what are we going to do about Christmas cards?"

"You remember."

"No, I don't."

"Last year we said we were not going to send any Christmas cards."

"Did we?"

"Yes. We said we were fed up to the back teeth with the whole useless charade. Spending money we couldn't afford on pictures of the manger, of Monet's Magpie, of charity Christmas trees, of three ships sailing in, and sending them all off to people who didn't care whether we sent them or not..."

"Did we?"

"Yes. We said it was about time we took a stand. We said it was about time we ignored the whole fake expensive business and took a stand. We would be brave and not send a single bloody Christmas card."

"Great...! And did we?"

"We did to begin with. We just sent cards to parents, grandparents and children."

"And then?"

"And then we started getting cards from people who we felt would not understand if we did not send one back."

"So we sent them one?"

"Yes. To one or two of them. Most of them. All of them."

"So we sent cards to everyone, as per usual?"

"Not everyone. We didn't send a card to Pat, Terry, Jim, Wayne, Tracey, Gaby and Oonagh."

"But who on earth are Pat, Terry, Jim, Wayne, Tracey, Gaby and Oonagh?"

"They are the people in the office who each signed the card from Fastnet Associates."

"Who are Fastnet Associates?"

"I don't know. But they sent us a card with the message, 'Another Great Year!', and they had all signed it. And we didn't send one back. So that was a beginning."

"Let's build on the beginning and not send any cards at all!"

"Not even to Gelda?"

"Why Gelda?"

"Because Gelda split up from Jan in the summer, and she thinks that because we still seeing Jan, we are ignoring her."

"Well, we are ignoring her."

"But we have to send her a card to show we care."

"But we don't care."

"No, but she would be very hurt if she thought so."

"Oh, for God's sake. okay, okay. A card to Gelda. But nobody else."

"No. Except, maybe, Tom and Petronella."

"Why Tom and Petronella?"

"Because we should have asked them to dinner before Christmas , and we didn't, and a card will make them feel we still remember them."

"But we don't."

"That's not the point. Christmas cards are all about keeping the channels open."

"Rubbish. Nobody ever remembers if you sent them a card."

"Yes, they do."

"Did Tom and Petronella send us a card last year?"

"I expect so."

"You see? You can't remember! That proves my point!"

"Even so, we can't take a risk."

"Hold on. I thought you were in favour of not sending any cards at all!"

"And I still am. Except for people we really ought to send a card to..."

Well, that's how the conversation starts. After that, you can take it in any direction you like.

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