Today’s the day to bring back art of letter writing

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So, it’s all over.

No, not global economic stability (although that is a possibility), but Christmas.

The crackers have been cracked, as have your nerves.

All year we yearn for more family time, yet once we have experienced an intense two days of it (minimum), we long for the peace and quiet of normal life.

But is it really all over?

For many, the time between Christmas and New Year is the most fraught.

Either we are forced into travelling the length and breadth of the country to visit relatives who quite frankly would probably prefer a moment of peace to themselves as well, or are stuck at home with no end to the monotony of it all.

The Christmas telly programmes are waning, having peaked on Sunday with Dr Who.

All we have left are re-runs of Christmas specials from yesteryear.

But there is one thing that I attempt to make sure my children do at this time of year to kill some time. And that is writing their thank you letters.

As a child I was always expected to write letters of thanks to everyone who had given me a gift, especially great aunt Gladys who was usually on the phone by December 27 wondering where her missive was.

Although a bit of a chore, I always took my letter writing duties very seriously.

And now as a parent, this is reaffirmed.

Many times I have sent presents to my nephews either on the other side of the world or the other end of the M4 yet never even had acknowledgement that they have arrived safely.

When you carefully buy a gift, the least that the recipient could do is let you know that they have received it.

Of course, getting children to do such a task is easier said than done.

For one thing, it is very rare nowadays that anyone does actually sit down and write a letter of any kind.

I mostly communicate by email or text.

Before such things, I would occasionally write letters (and on one famous occasion a postcard from Norway to my bank requesting an extension to my overdraft), but I could probably count on the fingers of one hand how many I have sent this year.

Apart from actually getting the child to sit down and write the letter – ‘but we never get them from anyone else’ – there is the problem that, thanks to more modern forms of communication, they don’t know letter writing etiquette.

How to address an envelope properly and where to put the stamp are skills that are lost to our children.

It needs to be explained to them that they need to write more than just ‘Thanx 4 the pres’ and that actually their relatives might be quite interested to know what they are going to do with the money they sent them or what else they received at Christmas.

This is certainly an art that has been lost.

So as you sit on the sofa, a slightly stale mince pie in front of you, surrounded by bored children, and wondering whether you can face another rerun of Top Gear Christmas Special (circa 2002), why not grab a pen and some paper and reintroduce the lost art of letter writing.