It's the time of year when not only Christmas cards flop onto our doormat, a lot of them contain this year's crop of Round Robin letters as well. These have had a bit of a bad press of late, particularly as The Guardian political sketch writer Simon Hoggart has developed a whole income stream for himself by writing several books containing the worst examples readers have sent to him.
Now, I don't mind Round Robins at all. I look forward to receiving long newsy letters with my cards, especially as a number of my friends live so far away. They always bring a smile to my face when I get them. Having handwritten my letters for a number of years, I also understand how difficult it is to continue in this vein. I succumbed to the charms of word processing when I reached an annual tally of 15 (each one took about 3 hours to complete), now it's significantly more than that. I haven't had any bad examples like Simon's, though my brother-in-law does get one that's full of name dropping and consequently is a bit of a bore. The ones I receive are chatty, fun and a delight to receive. I hope mine are thought of in the same way - I did omit them one year and received anxious enquiries from several people as a result, so I know at least some of my friends and family do enjoy my annual missive.
Looking back at the genre, I see we've gone from handwritten -> photocopied -> word processed -> newsletter with pictures over the past few years. I'm still at the word processed stage, having not made the leap to include pictures. Going from single sided to double sided printing is a major advance as far as I'm concerned! Having had a blog for a while, I wonder if blogging will kill the Round Robin eventually because isn't it a perpetual version with all sorts of (optional) bells and whistles tacked on? Personally I believe there's a place for both. I don't think anyone else in my circle has a blog, so currently it would be difficult for us to keep in touch that way. And I don't think a private blog for my friends and family would work very well either. I did advertise my blog in last year's newsletter, but haven't had any positive response yet - unless you're all lurking here of course! If you are, do stop by with a Comment sometime. However, I do like adding individual (handwritten) messages at the end of my letters and continuing our conversation in a more personal (and more private) fashion. Some of that would be lost if we kept in touch via blogging.
Of course a more regular contact would be lovely, but I do understand why it doesn't happen. So, I'm looking forward to the Round Robin season once more and having a good catch up with everyone's news as well as writing my own this weekend. What do you think? Do you send a Round Robin or do you have another favourite way of keeping in touch with friends and family?