Terence Blacker: What those Christmas cards on the mantlepiece say about you
THERE was a time when one knew where one was with Christmas cards. It was a matter of counting, or perhaps weighing, what the postman had delivered. If, by a rough and ready calculation, the incoming was about the same as the outgoing, it meant that, socially, professionally, you were still more or less afloat.
With email and the rise of charity chic and environmental correctness, all that has changed. Assessing where you stand in life by reading the runes of your Christmas cards has become more complicated. Here, for the socially insecure, is a rough guide to the significance of cards, in reverse order of importance.
The email charity donation: Quite easily the least desirable Christmas communication, the email telling you that "this year we have decided not to send out cards and will be donating instead to our favourite charity" manages to be simultaneously boastful, morally superior and bone idle.