Writing the Perfect Christmas Letter
I don't know about you, but I always look forward to receiving
Christmas letters from family and friends during the holiday
season. Often it is the only news you receive from some of them
throughout the year.
I started sending out our family Christmas letter the year after
I got married. Some adult children are content to share their
family news in a letter from their parents, but I wanted to start
our own family tradition with our own annual Christmas letter.
Sitting down to write a letter can be an intimidating task. It's
easy to put off until the last minute if you're overwhelmed with
the idea of trying to figure out what to say. There are several
things to take into consideration when writing your own family
Some people get very creative with their Christmas letters.
There are a variety of formats to choose from. You can buy
holiday printer paper at any office supply store. Just print out
your letter on the decorated paper, and you're all set to go. If
you're printing out a lot of letters and don't want to spend as
much on the paper, you can also just choose colored paper with no
design...red or green paper look festive all on their own with
your letter printed on them. You can also copy your letter on to
the paper with a copy machine instead of printing each one on
your printer. If you are into rubber stamping, you could also
hand-decorate your letters after you print them.
Or, you can go paper-less! You can email your letter to family
and friends if they have Internet access. This would allow you
to insert pictures into your letter and not worry about having to
print them. Some families have web sites set up to post family
pictures and happenings. This would also be a great place to
post your Christmas letter for all to see.
So what should you write in your letter? Keeping things short
and to the point is definitely a fine art. I try to keep my
letters to a page, if possible, a page and a half at the most.
It also depends on how large your family is. The point is not to
lose the reader's interest with too many pages to read.
I start my letters out with a greeting, and then a paragraph or
two of major family happenings, like births, deaths, weddings,
etc. This is also a good place to briefly describe any favorite
family vacations for the year. I then write a short paragraph
about each family member to get everyone up to date about who
just got their driver's license, braces on or off, started their
first job, etc. I just try to hit on the major milestones that
people would be interested in knowing about.
You'll find that once you sit down to start your letter that the
words will just start flowing and you'll be done with it in no
time. Who knows better what happened in your family this year
than you? It's also a good idea to let someone else read it
before you send it out to make sure you got your facts straight.
Especially about your kids! That could definitely come back to
haunt you later.
Try to send your letters and cards out during the first week of
December. I love getting letters and cards at the beginning of
the season. Hearing from family and friends is a great way to
get into the holiday spirit, and once you have those letters out
the door your time is freed up for other important tasks.
Make sure you keep a copy of your Christmas letter for yourself.
I place a copy of mine in a binder in which I keep all of the holiday
letters I receive. Someday this will be a wonderful keepsake for
my children and grandchildren.
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer and mom who is the author of
What's for Dinner?, an e-cookbook containing more than 250 quick
easy dinner ideas. For more recipes, organizing tips, home
decorating, crafts, holiday hints, and more, visit Creative
Homemaking at http://www.creativehomemaking.com.
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