The following is a guest post about how to write a great Christmas letter from regular contributor, Angie.
One of my very favourite things about the coming weeks is going to the mailbox every day to find treasure in the form of Christmas cards, photos & letters from far flung family & friends. Oh, how I love reading Christmas letters, looking at photos and catching up on news and happenings and funny family stories! And as someone who loves receiving such treasures, I also send out my own version tucked inside a Christmas card, along with a photo of the kids. We still have many family & friends who do not have a presence on any type of social media, so a Christmas letter and photo might be the only news they hear from us all year long.
So how do you write a great Christmas letter? It just takes a little planning and time and creativity. I have been writing Christmas letters for many years and here are a few tips:
Basically, there are 3 types of formats that can be used:
1} A traditional letter format.
2} A bullet type format.
3} A poem.
The first step is to decide on a format. I have used all 3 types of formats over the years and they all work, but choose the format that you feel most comfortable working in. Not everyone is a poet, and not everyone enjoys writing a traditional type of letter. But with a few helpful tips, a fun and informative letter can be written to send out with Christmas mail.
Traditional Letter Format
When writing a traditional letter format, I always start with a short and happy greeting type of paragraph, such as, “Merry Christmas! I hope this letter finds you healthy and happy.” I love to focus on the positive by keeping things cheerful and focusing on the reader.
After the greeting, I usually move on to short paragraphs about each member of the family. I start with the youngest child and I talk about what grade the child is in, what his likes and favourite hobbies/activities are and any short, funny anecdotes. I try to keep it light and fun, while giving a sense of how this child might have grown/changed over the past year. After the children, I include very brief paragraphs about my husband and I to let people know what trouble we might have gotten ourselves into!
The next to last paragraph is always about the whole family. What trips/vacations we may have enjoyed or projects we tackled as a family during the year. Again, I always try to look at the humorous side of things and share things that are happy.
The final paragraph is where I wish everyone a wonderful New Year and let our family & friends know that our home is always open to visitors.
I try to keep our Christmas letter to one side of one sheet of paper and never longer. Most often I type the letter in an easy to read font and black ink. I do not go crazy with different fonts and colours. Although it may look fun, I know that this can make a letter difficult to read…especially for older relatives.
Bullet Type Format
Another style of letter that can be used is a bullet type of format. It’s a great way to list fun things that have happened during the year without getting too wordy and feeling too formal.
My favourite way to do this type of letter is to do a David Lettermen “Top 10” style where I list a top ten list for each member of the family for the year. This style is a lot of fun because I list such things as favourite toys, books, foods, fun happenings or experiences.
This style can also be used as a refreshing change from a traditional type of letter. And can be super fun to create with every one’s help.
When using this format, I still open with a short Christmas greeting type of paragraph and close with wishes for a Happy New Year.
The Poem Format
Aaaah….the poem. I have received some terrific poem types of letters over the years. Some people are so very clever. They are insanely good at rhyming and managing to come up with the most entertaining Christmas letter. The most common type of poem I see used is a version of “Twas the night before Christmas”. Mind you, of the 3 types of formats, this one can take the most time to craft. Or the least time…depending on how good your ‘rapping’ skills are. This would be a great activity to do with kids…kids love to rhyme. And speaking of getting in the mood for rhyming….Dr. Seuss anyone?
While our Christmas letter has been typed, proof read, printed, folded and tucked into a card, I always make sure that the Christmas card itself is signed in our own handwriting, and with many XOXOs because, well, tis the season to be sending love by mail. And yes, it takes longer to personally sign each card, but I like adding a personal touch.
How many of you are planning on writing a Christmas letter this year?
Angie loves creative projects, organizing & decorating, cooking, baking, and all things domestic. Angie lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two great kids.