Email may be the preferred method of written communication these days, but people still take time every year to reach out to family and friends with holiday letters.
Within those letters, we chronicle the last year’s achievements, changes and additions. Occasionally, as we sit at the computer to compose those letters, writer’s block strikes. “Where do I start,” you ask, as the blank page strikes back?
My husband has grown weary of the normal Christmas letter, so I have taken up the challenge to spice up our Christmas letter. As a writer, I have found our holiday letter to be a fun time to flex my creative writing fingers, and my family seems to enjoy the various versions they have received over the years.
In 2005, I assembled the “Best of ‘05” awards, including The Big Event of the Year Award for our new baby girl, the Movers and Shakers Award for a move to another state, and the Try to Keep Up with Me Award for my active 2-year-old son.
2006 was our version of “The Night Before Christmas.” Here’s an excerpt from that describes that trying year of raising two toddlers.
When Santa visits, appearing not down a chimney, much to Trey’s dismay, but some other magical way, he might be surprised to find a half-empty cup of questionable milk that might have been hiding under the couch for several days and cookies complete with bits of eggshell from the helpfulness of a certain grown-up four-year-old. The Christmas tree will be slightly lopsided, the result of a little girl’s eagerness to put all the ornaments in the exact same spot on the tree. Many of the ornaments are bedraggled from daily trips on and off the tree to explore the house. Some never made it back from their journeys, we are sad to report.
Then there was the Chick’s “12 Insane Days of Christmas”
On the first night of Christmas,
The Chick parents discovered
The hamster exploring Mom and Dad’s bedroom ...
And “It “It Came Upon A Living Room Clear”
It came upon a living room clear,
That rare sight that moms seldom see,
With two busy children running around,
And two parents counting seconds ‘til they sleep:
Another year was our Christmas playlist with hits like “Someone Got Knocked Over by a Snowball” (inspired by “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”) and “All Trey Wants for Christmas” is his other tooth out.
I have received word searches and crosswords from other friends and have always marveled at the cleverness tucked within those one-page letters. Last year I didn’t send a holiday letter, and I had several people tell me they missed that letter, so I’ll be putting pen to paper this week. I’ll be utilizing the tips from Hallmark below, and we’ll see what happens!
Hallmark’s tips to jumpstart up your holiday letters.
- Start early: This leaves you time to rewrite and edit.
- Involve the family: Ask your kids to help remember highlights and select photos.
- Get an angle.
- Show, don’t tell: Pictures are an easy way to tell the story. People want to see how your family has grown. Include the adults too!
- Include festive quotes.
- Make a hits list.
- Tone down the boasting: Instead, make them laugh with self-deprecating humor.
- Remember the season.
- End on a personal note.
With those ideas in mind, get to writing. Visit your local stationery store to find envelopes and paper for your holiday letter. Make sure you know the latest date for mailing cards and letters for pre-Christmas delivery. Visit USPS.com/holiday for more information.
What do you include in your holiday letter? Do you write a holiday letter? Why or why not?