1 July

Boast turkeys

Add June stories and photos to your Christmas letter notes.

And please don’t boast. It’s not endearing, even to those who love you and your high-achieving children. In fact, if your readers are even a little bit competitive,[1] your boasting can leave them rankling.

So understate achievements:[2] instead of saying “Little Georgia was awarded the class mathematics trophy”, just say “Little Georgia is doing well at school”. And instead of “Little Percy was in premiership teams in basketball, football and lacrosse”, go with “Little Percy continues his keen interest in sport”.[3]

01 jul 2016.jpg
Time to let your tropies a-trophy?

Christmas Day 1970: Matthew was only four and he cried when he opened his present from Auntie Margie: he thought it was going to be a truck and it turned out to be a football and he couldn’t contain his disappointment. Luckily, Auntie Margie knew how hard Christmas can be for kids and she didn’t take it personally.[4]

[1] My nephew-in-law Chris took himself off Facebook when he realised that every time he read about a friend’s trip to Vietnam or the improvements they’d made in their garden or the dinner party they’d had on the weekend, he automatically wanted to go one better than them. Now he doesn’t hear about the river cruises and pergolas and slow-roasted pork bellies and he just does his own thing at his own pace (which, according to his wife Emma, is “snail’s” for anything involving painting but “lightning” for anything involving computers).

[2] If you need to mention them at all: if you won your local Scrabble finals, are you sure this is of interest to anyone beyond your local Scrabble club? And if you won the Nobel prize, there’s a fair chance your audience has already heard.

[3] Although I did like my friend Jill’s letter the year her son William was ten, which said “William achieved three personal bests this year: a front somersault on the trampoline, an award for “most improved” at Chess Club because he went two whole meetings without upsetting a chessboard, and a record four broken windows in five months”.

[4] Although perhaps if Matthew had known how hard Christmas can be for adults, he’d have been a bit more forgiving.

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