#AceFriendsNews – Dec.10: It must, surely, qualify as abuse. Hate mail. Trolling. Do I mean the barrage of death threats I receive weekly? No. I am referring to the practice of parents (who obviously have WAY too much time on their hands) sending Christmas cards bearing photographs of their children (and if you think this isn’t a real trend, it even formed a storyline on EastEnders last week).
Who on earth wants to see that? Why do I want to see photos of your irritable infants or, worse, tyrannical teenagers – surely coerced into taking part with hard cash – young people I have never met, nor would ever want to. I don’t know their names.
I probably only vaguely know they exist because for two years I was your maternity cover while you brought up baby until it was old enough to pose in a pair of reindeer antlers, in fake snow.
LIZ JONES asks why do I want to see photos of your irritable infants or, worse, tyrannical teenagers
I’ve just been sent a card with a photo of a newborn baby in a pink tutu; it has begun. I’ll have to endure 18 years of these.
Your children don’t want to wish me a Merry Christmas, because they are only obsessed with themselves and their peer group.
They’re not interested in things printed on bits of card,that require a stamp and all the effort of walking to a red pillary thing and sticking it in a slot. (This last bit is provable, as despite the copious gifts I have given the progeny of friends, colleagues and relatives over the years, I have NEVER, EVER received a written thank you note.)
Only marginally less annoying are the children’s forged signatures inside (they probably can’t use a pen, as they are addicted to smartphones and iPads). And then there’s the counterfeit scrawl from your lumpen, monosyllabic partner (don’t tell me there is a man alive in the United Kingdom who will willingly deign to sign a card, let alone buy or Photoshop one; they think it’s emasculating).
I’ve just received a card signed, ‘Love Kate, Kyle, Sam and Lolly xxx’. I emailed Kate, whom I once worked with, to ask who on earth are the other three, and what happened to Michael, her husband? It turns out Kyle is her second husband, Sam her child by Michael, and Lolly the new baby. Why, if she didn’t invite me to the wedding, is she forging the festive wishes of the new husband I’ve never met?
I’ll tell you why: it is one-upmanship, all about letting me know how much better their lives are than mine. Like Instagram, except shoved through my front door so I can’t ignore it.
If these people really cared about me, they would have got in touch not only during Santa’s special fortnight (Christmas no longer lasts for just a day among this workshy lot), but also when my mum died, or my sister died, or my horse died, or I was nearly made bankrupt.
NO. Not a single bloody peep to ask how I am after a tsunami of tragedy. Just a card to let me know things are working just fine and dandy in the baby-making department, thank you. And to remind me how alone I am.
I blame Kirstie Allsopp for promoting all this hand-made, self-obsessed nonsense. Her new series of Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas, which kicked off on Tuesday, saw her cover a Christmas tree in dead roses (who sprays a real tree gold?) then learn to weld and glass-blow her own decorations.
Her partner is, of course, nowhere to be seen: only grown mothers allow themselves to be patronised and infantilised in this way because they think crocheting their own baubles will make their children love them more, and care for them when they develop dementia when all that (home-made, obviously) fondant icing has rotted not just their teeth, but their brains…
Or perhaps I just haven’t caught the Christmas spirit yet?
PS Channel 4’S First Dates, where couples go on real blind dates, is just brilliant. I particularly loved last week’s 20-year-old theology student Louisa, a modern-day Joyce Grenfell. She described herself as eccentric and ‘not the prettiest rose on the branch’, but why wearing no make-up, false lashes or tan and having a BMI and IQ north of 20 is somehow abnormal, I have no idea. She summed up her lack of attention from ‘males’ thus: ‘I went to a fancy-dress party dressed as Exeter Cathedral. My friend went as a bunny rabbit. Obviously, the boys went for the bunny.’
LIZ JONES says Channel 4’S First Dates, where couples go on real blind dates, is just brilliant