LAURA CARTLEDGE Life’s like That...Shiny reminders that I’m failing to keep up with the Joneses...

Christmas cards are magical things.

In an age where postboxes have been replaced by inboxes, they are still standing strong.

Of course there are the ones from friends and family, but every year as I peek inside the collection on the mantelpiece I spy names I have never heard of – let alone met.

For those people these cards are the only source of communication we have left. And because they always send us one, of course we have to send one back. Not that I mind, I am a massive fan of post. Even more so if it comes with festive best wishes rather than a bill.

However when it comes to Christmas cards there is one thing I love the most – Round Robins. The annual update of how the Joneses are doing, which seems to be intended to make you feel like you just aren’t keeping up with them...

Half of me can’t help but think they should be read in the voice of the ginger beer lady with the occasional ‘spiffing’ and ‘tally ho’ thrown in for good measure, and yet the other half really wishes we had written one. But at the moment I feel I will be lucky to get done what I need to by the 25th, never mind these added extras.

At the start of the month I admit I was feeling smug. I’d started my shopping early, made plans to make things and wondered what all the fuss was about.

Only now, with one remaining weekend standing as a protective barrier between me and Christmas, I feel like my to-do list is getting longer, not shorter.

I have managed to make my eight metres of bunting for my friend and the bits for the bag I am crafting have been cut ready to’s just finding the time.

Granted my diary is filled with fun things, like dinners with friends and going to the cinema to see Happy Feet with my sister...

But each morning when I come into the office to find another card from a colleague, I have that little bubble of excitement followed by a twinge of panic, as they are shiny reminders I really need to write mine.