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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Writing a Holiday Letter Your Friends Will Want to Read

My family has an annual tradition of writing a holiday letter. About ten years ago, I started writing my own holiday letter. I keep my holiday letters, along with those from friends and family, in a special Christmas binder. It's a great way to reflect on the year, and it's fun to read all the letters from the past.

However, when the end of the year rolls around, it can be a little stressful and time-consuming to try cranking out a heartfelt letter updating everyone on the happenings of the year when there are so many other happenings that need attending. If you want to start a holiday letter tradition, or need a little inspiration, here are some fun ideas:

Write from an outsider's point of view - the dog, the cat, the mouse in the house.

Approach it chronologically - write a sentence or two about each month. Or, write a short paragraph about each season.

Give each family member equal time - write a paragraph about each family member, include the dog if he's part of the family!

Have fun with numbers - i.e. "4 = number of shoes the dogs ate this year; 1023 = number of miles driven on family vacation."

Have fun with letters - i.e. "A is for Anniversary." (This idea was originally my sister's, and I used it for our holiday letter this year.)

Start with satire - i.e. "I ran my first race this year and came in 210th out of 219." I tried this one year, and it's a little harder to pull off. I really did come in 210th out of 219, but I went on to run a marathon in Alaska!

Highlight those around you - write about your college roommate marrying her best friend at the wedding you attended in January. It will be fun for your friends to see themselves featured in your letter. Just remember to be sure your friends are ok with being featured and include pertinent information for those you might not know your roommate by name.

Use photos instead of words - if a picture is worth a 1,000 words, then a holiday photo collage instead of a holiday letter will get you more bang for your buck! Use captions to include necessary information for your friends and families.

With all holiday letters, you should consider your audience, avoid making it a laundry list of your accomplishments, and include humor!

photo by Dimpleicious

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1 comment:

liz (perspicacious) said...

Thanks for all of these great ideas! I usually try to go a little sarcastic with ours, but still keep it informative. Definitely, shorter is better! I get so tired of reading those long-winded letters that make it sound like the family is perfect and the children are all honor students volunteering in 3rd world countries. :)

I may have the cat write mine this year. Super ideas-- thanks!