RICHARD ORD: Wishing you merry hell at Christmas!

I won’t be covering my mouth when I belch or giving up my Metro seat to pregnant women this Christmas, I will instead be making a donation to the wildlife charity protecting long-eared lemurs in Patagonia. Just thought I’d let you know.

Yes, I’ve decided to forgo good manners in the run-up to Christmas and give money to good causes instead.

As unacceptable as that may sound, there’s plenty of people doing something not too dissimilar regarding Christmas cards.

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Once a year people are given the opportunity to send good wishes to old friends and relatives via a colourful Christmas card in the post, yet it’s considered one of the worst tasks of the year.

One acquaintance sent through an email informing me that they would not be sending Christmas cards, but donating to charity instead. How rude! Christmas card avoidance under the dubious guise of altruism is becoming increasingly popular. But they’re fooling no-one.

While there are fewer festive pains greater than that of writing out Christmas cards, dodging the task in the name of charity just doesn’t wash. It’s lazy. End of.

Though the reluctance to write Christmas cards is at odds with people’s usual habits.

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We live in a society where everyone is desperate to get online to update us on what food they’re eating or who they think should win Strictly Come Dancing, but mention writing out a pile of Christmas cards and they head for the hills. Oh, they’ll post pictures of their newly-decorated Christmas trees or pets in Santa hats on Facebook by the dozen, but a card … forget it. Too busy.

One pal said she wasn’t “doing” Christmas cards this year: “I’m sending out an email instead.” Perhaps they could save even more time and just send out a text. “M Xmas fm me. Lol.”

The other end of the scale, of course, is the round robin Christmas letter.

You know the one, it’s a printed letter that accompanies the Christmas card filled with all the details of the family’s exotic holidays, Darren’s promotion at work, Zara’s gymkhana gold rosette and little Jasper’s continuing success at advanced mathematics. Oh, and Jennifer’s graduated! A first from Oxford would you believe?!!!.

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They always miss the point. What they forget is that, while people like hearing good news, they don’t want other people’s good news rammed down their throat.

Whenever I get a gushing round robin letter, I find myself reading between the lines to find the cracks.

“Says here that Darren’s off another walking holiday with the boys. Hmm … he can’t wait to get away from his wife can he?”

If these people really want to spread some Christmas cheer, instead of the round robin boast, they should simply list all the misfortunes to have befallen their family that year. That’d cheer me up no end. Or am I being uncharitable? … another £10 to the long-eared lemurs methinks.

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