Tips For Christmas Letter Writing
Every year, I look forward to receiving Christmas letters from my family and friends. I love hearing about all of the interesting things they’ve been up to in the last year. I am so amazed at how time just flies by. Even with instant messaging through Facebook, email and texts, it just seems so special, if not kind of old fashioned, to get a Christmas letter in the mail. These wonderful letters, from different family members and friends, are written in a variety of styles. They are as original and unique as the individuals themselves! When I talk to my friends and family about their letters, they tell me that although they love sending them out, the biggest challenge was to make them interesting and fun to read – as well as trying to summarize a year’s worth of wonderful life events in a few paragraphs (or less)!
So, we’ve come up with some tips about how to write a fun and engaging Christmas letter that will leave the recipients with a smile on their faces and warm and fuzzies in their hearts.
“Speak” Naturally, therefore Write Naturally
At first, starting to write a Christmas letter may seem daunting. Just trying to remember all the great things your family did in the last year can be a Herculean effort. Before you begin, imagine that your friends and family are in the room with you, and that you’ll be talking to them up close and personal. Now take that thought and begin writing. Write naturally, the way you would talk to them in person. Since they know you, they want to hear your “voice” speaking to them through your Christmas Letter. Write with sincerity and genuineness. Let your personality shine through. Write about subjects your recipients can relate to. By doing this, reading your letter will be so much more enjoyable and meaningful.
Consider Who You’ll Be Sending Your Letter To
Tailor your letter to those you'll be sending it to. As you write, consider what kind of relationship and the experiences you share with them – whether they are family members, co-workers, friends, etc. This is important because the letter you might send to family members, for example, may not be suitable to send to co-workers. In this case, you might want to do a different letter to different groups. Or, just make one letter versatile enough to send to everyone, but be sure to identify anyone you mention in your letter in case they are not known to all of your recipients.
And lastly, if anyone you’re sending a letter to doesn’t celebrate Christmas or they celebrate different traditions at the holidays, it might affect how you refer to the upcoming Holiday period in your letter.
Opt Out of Bragging
First and foremost, try not to brag. Bragging can set an undesirable tone for your Christmas letter. Bragging can be a turnoff and can cause the reader to become disinterested in what they’re reading. For example, talking about the latest windfall you made in the stock market should probably be left out. Remember, you’re writing a personal letter, not a resume. Feel free to talk about achievements and noteworthy things that happened to your family during the year. But, try to keep your descriptions about them somewhat humble, or inject humor into it. Everyone loves a good laugh!
What To Write About
It’s great to start writing with a cheerful greeting! Keep your tone upbeat and positive, and try to refrain from negativity and complaining. Also, keeping politics out of your letter might be a good idea – especially if your friends and family don’t all root for the same team! Your letter can be as short as a few sentences, or as much as a few paragraphs. However, try to limit your text to not more than one page (on one side of the paper). People are busy, so if the letter is too long, they may not have the time to read it all.
Pick a few experiences that occurred during the year, and provide some detail about each one – but resist the temptation to embellish. Great subjects would include travel, milestones, jobs, births, marriages, moves, how the kids have grown, hobbies, etc. And as you describe these important events in your family’s life, add a personal touch by mentioning how you felt about it, how it affected your life – sort of like sharing your own personal reflections. It’s always fun to include amusing descriptions about your adventures that show your family’s personality or quirks. Everyone loves a good story! Talking about your kids’ activities is always fun because kids are full of personality! And don’t forget about your pet cat, dog or even turtle – they might have some stories to tell too! If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, talk to your family as they may remember things that you might have forgotten.
Including a picture or two with your Christmas letter is a wonderful idea. Pick a recent family photo or one that relates to something you talked about in your letter.
How you format the text on the page can really affect how easy it is to read.
One way is to break up the text into a few paragraphs, rather than one long paragraph. And, by doing this, if the reader wants to re-read something, they can find it much easier.
Pick a nice font style and use it consistently, otherwise it may cause the words to seem a bit busy or distracting on the page. Furthermore, select a font size big enough for everyone to be able to read the text easily, whether it’s your young niece or your grandmother. If you want to put emphasis on certain words or phrases, you can use bold, italics, or underlining.
Add Color To Your Christmas Letter
Adding color to your Christmas letter is a great way to add fun, cheerfulness, and merriment. Imagine your friends and family seeing eye catching holiday images as they read your letter – a holiday feast for the eyes! If you have a color printer, you can search online for some great holiday images. There are also Christmas letter templates that you can find online that can help with formatting any graphics you'll have on the page. Or, if you’re short on time, you can use Christmas stationery that comes in many different themes – such as Santa, Snowmen, Christmas Trees, Ornaments, a Snowy Christmas, Religious, Sleighs, Poinsettias, Christmas Holly, and More. There are so many different styles to choose from -- below are a few examples.
Examples of Holiday Stationery
End Your Letter On a Heartfelt Note
Writing a warm and sincere note, with heartfelt wishes for the holidays and the upcoming year, is a great way to end your Christmas letter. Handwriting it can add an extra special touch. And, having all of your family members hand write their names at the bottom is also very thoughtful.
When To Send Your Letter
When your letter is all done, stamped, and ready to be mailed, the next question is when to send it out. The answer to that question depends in part on your available time at the holidays and whether you’ll be traveling. So, with these factors in mind, a good time would be after Thanksgiving up to a week before Christmas. But, any time is good – whatever works best for your schedule.
Happy writing and Happy Holidays!