Our Neil sent a letter to the BBC after the 2013 contest:
As I have just been given a lovely new fountain pen for Christmas, and my mummy has told me to write “thank you” letters to all my relatives who sent me a present, I am writing to thank you for “Believe In Me” that you so thoughtfully sent me this year. I don’t like to mention that on unwrapping it there was a message that you probably didn’t spot, “From Des to Bonnie, love and wishes for a happy 2012”. I know that you are going through hard times and money is tight. At least it wasn’t a box of Toffifee past it’s sell-by date. I remember last year too when you sent me that antique lace tablecloth. It was very sweet and pretty but was soon forgotten when everyone else unwrapped their gifts. At least it was one weeks 60th most popular gift on sale, whereas this years prezzie was at best I think 93rd. How can I put this kindly Auntie, do you not go shopping much and see what’s popular?.
Mummy has told me that you spent all of Boxing Day moaning about what a rotten miserable Christmas you’d had, and whose fault it was. You said that Aunty Zlata from the Ukraine and Uncle Farid from Azerbaijan especially had flashed their cash and bought Christmas. I don’t want an expensive gift. just something that shows a bit of effort and love. You also moaned about your neighbours, or lack of them. But despite living on a huge housing estate, the Balkan side of the family had a rotten Christmas too. The neighbours you’re always moaning about didn’t give Hannah, Esma, Lozano and those women you said looked like tarts a happy holiday either. On the other hand, Cousin Emmelie from Denmark did the same as her Swedish sister Loreen last year … she made an effort, just like Auntie Lena from Germany a few years ago. None of them have hordes of family sending gifts from overseas. But whether it was Netto, Ikea, or Aldi, who knows, they all managed a triumphant and happy holiday.
So please Auntie, stop throwing your hands up in despair and asking “where do we go from here”. I’ve seen an advert on cable for a Christmas Club where you can put away a fiver a month?. Maybe with a bit of planning, effort and love we CAN have a happy holiday next year!
Your loving nephew
After the Copenhagen 2014 contest Neil waited a bit but eventually couldn’t let it rest and got his fountain pen out again:
Another year on and I am again writing “thank you” letters to my relatives that bought me a Christmas present. I know Christmas is over a month ago but mummy told me to wait until the calm after the storm.
First of all please pass on my best wishes to my cousin and your son Scott. He sent me a letter a month or so before Christmas to say that you were getting me a really special present this year. No expense or effort spared, this was going to be the coolest gadget ever. I was so excited I could barely sleep on Christmas Eve!.
I started to get a bad feeling early on Christmas morning when Scott turned up with his new “girl friend”, a shouty Irish woman who got mummy’s back up straight away. As I waited for your present (which was the last one I unwrapped under the tree after the previous twenty-five) I was so excited. As I started to unwrap the rather strange leathery yellow wrapping, the idea that I might be smitten with this present was already becoming unlikely. The label on the present proudly trumpeted “Power To The People”, which I thought was a bit rich all things considered.
When I had fully unwrapped the present, Mummy started laughing hysterically. And she hadn’t even had her first sherry yet as she was roasting the turkey with her special Rimi Rimi Ley stuffing she got from the grocers. “We did all this in 1969” she cried, “How could your Auntie and cousin Scott have thought this was the present to have in 2014?”.
I have to say I did enjoy the Christmas party. It was quite a novelty to have Santa played by a woman. but she did have as fine a beard as any Santa I can remember.
I still long for the old days when you gave me a list to choose from Auntie. Since Christmas some of my friends on Facebook don’t seem to think it’s a good idea. They think I’ll choose that set of muppets that I did in 2007. I keep telling them that it was uncle John (who’s just apparently got some sort of “Queens honour”) who persuaded me to choose that present in exchange for a Cyndi doll that maybe he wanted for another cousin’s present . I promise that if you give me a list of just two or three presents next year I’ll choose wisely. You tried harder this year Auntie, but not quite hard enough.
Your loving nephew as ever
And after the 2015 Vienna contest Neil again puts pen to paper
Well another Christmas has passed and mummy has again asked me to write thank you letters, however after another (how shall I put it politely) disappointment at your present I am just doing the bare minimum this year to fulfill my obligations and be polite. Sound familiar?
After your apparent reborn enthusiasm for Christmas last year I have waited in hope all year. A couple of months before Christmas mummy sat me on the sofa and said you had a video of my present. After spending ages to find which channel it was on I found that you were buying me an electric swing!. I was a bit perplexed especially it sounded it might be quite dangerous on a rainy day, but mummy assured me that Uncle Guy (who knows best I’m told) decided it was the best than you and him could afford.
So on to Christmas Day and I have to say that with all those lights that glow in the dark it was certainly flashy, but when I tried riding on my new electric swing the seat fell off straight away. I was knocked to the ground unconscious for a bit, thankfully walking along at the time was a hero who quickly revived me restoring my rhythm inside.
So it with a heavy heart (and a few bruises) that I pen my latest thank-you letter Auntie. I am starting to wonder if you should cross me off your list if you insist on choosing for me, then ending up selecting a gift that seems to have come from one of those pullout bits in cheap TV magazines. If you love me, give me at least a little choice next year!.
Your loving nephew as ever