Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Round Robins

Teresa Ashby posted recently 0n the subject of the dreaded annual round robin http://teresaashby.blogspot.com/2010/12/annual-round-robin.html but I thought I'd add my thoughts.

Unlike Teresa, who is uncompromising and fearless in her approach, we don't shred these, but we collect them until after Christmas, and then award a prize for the best/worst. One of our regular winners is yet to arrive (maybe we've been struck off?) but this year I would like to announce that the winners are (cue fanfare) Mr. and Mrs. H.

These people are barely known to us, and have - wait for it - seven children, plus enough grandchildren to people a small village. They are all (naturally) high achievers, and appear to be scattered across the globe, bringing happiness and prosperity to all those who are fortunate to come across them. I lost track after I'd counted 27 names - not one of whom I'd heard of - and immediately awarded them the prize. Really, there was no contest.

Why do people do this? My brother, one of the worst offenders (hello there, Steve) says "people want to know". But I say, no, they don't. If they have no children, they don't necessarily want to hear about yours. If they have - er - low-achieving children, they certainly don't want to hear about all those straight As. And in any case, the people who really want to know (family; close friends) will have been told already.

There is an entertaining little book - The Cat that could Open the Fridge - which is a collection of round robin gems (eg a school report that said "in Sophia, you have given us a little diamond. All we have to do his polish it". See what I mean?).

But after all this, I'm afraid I have to confess that we enjoy the round robins, if for all the wrong reasons. For without them, there would be no competiton. And for us, that is part of the fun of Christmas.


  1. Ha ha - I've never been called uncompromising and fearless before!
    I had one once from people who still felt wronged and robbed because they'd turned up at Heathrow with their multitude of offspring and no one had told them that they needed passports for ALL of the children!
    Now you see why I need the shredder!

  2. Hi Teresa. I hope you didn't mind the label. But I think you miss so much with that shredder!

  3. We must move in different circles, Frances. No round robins for me, which is a shame: I'd be sure to enjoy mocking them.

    That said, I don't open the cards in our house--having precisely zero interest in the subject--so maybe they're all waiting for me.

    Life is so much easier now that you can donate chickens to Zimbabwean farmers and not need to be faffed writing cards!

  4. I quite like receiving cards; they look decorative, and at least they're post (I have a childish affection for post, provided it doesn't arrive in a brown envelope or ask for money).

    As for moving in circles, I've never really thought about that. Do I move in circles? (Actually, at the moment, with a streaming cold and general post-Christmas malaise, plus making lunch for 26 on Sunday, I feel I'm constantly moving in circles.)

    Anyway, happy new year, Tim!

  5. I actually quite like the ones we get as at least half of the people who round robin us do it in humourous vein - one friend always does a quiz of her family's year to see how well you've been keeping up (along the lines of who put the hamster in the microwave and grew black mold under his bed rather than who got straight As and a grade 8, fortunately) and another does a 'disasters and other hilarities of the year month by month. We have a few of the other kind but we just skim and bin them.

  6. Hi Alis. Yes, I agree. There's one family who just do a paragraph written by each child (eg "my best friend's called Amy and my hamster died". That kind of thing). It gives you a flavour of the child rather than its achievements! But sadly, these are the exception.

    Happy - and lucky - new year!