SO far, I have resisted sending a one-Christmas-letter-fits-all, instead of the traditional card.

It seems to be a growing fad, especially as it’s possible to print off dozens of copies, courtesy of computers.

Perhaps I’m wrong (heaven forefend!) but to me it removes the personal approach and replaces it with a lesser mortal’s version of the Queen’s Yuletide Speech. Some people have cut out the Post Office altogether and sent the missive by email or even Facebook.

An old pal from school days has succumbed to the email. One-time unpassable centre half ‘Big Nev’, in an 80-word message (brevity was always his trademark) mentioned the birth of two more granddaughters, but omitted their names and to which of his offspring they belong, while assuring his readers that his wife Noreen was ‘slowing down’, without explaining how this reduction in velocity manifested itself. As for himself, his ‘blood is still circulating – in parts’, this long-time film buff unashamedly borrowing the comment from the late George Burns in the 1975 film, The Sunshine Boys.

MEANWHILE, begging letters have been in abundance. They are a sure way of making one feel guilty at this time of year. New appeals dropped on the mat with every delivery, with previously unheard of charities claiming theirs was the most worthy of our attention – and cash.

What disappointed me was that some of these letters came from charities that had promised – hand on heart – they would not darken my letterbox again if I forked out, which I did last year.

BUT it hasn’t been all take and no give. I am reaching that age when the state allows me to watch television without the need of a TV licence.

A paragraph in a recent edition of the Oxford Mail advised me to forward personal details. I could be eligible for a rebate.

This was too good to miss and sure enough a letter arrived at the weekend telling me I was in luck: my bank account would be credited with 4p!

The letter, now displayed among the Christmas cards, had been sent second class (40p); add to this the cost of the paper, envelope and… Still, it’s Christmas and it’s the thought that counts. At least it wasn’t sent by email.

NOW the New Year is only days away. My younger grandchildren have been considering what resolutions they might make. I should encourage them in the hope that their resolutions will last somewhat longer than when I made similar pledges.

As for me, I’ll simply wish all our readers the best of health and happiness, that peace might outstrip war and tolerance replace hatred in 2014.

Remember, it’s a wonderful life – so enjoy it.