Read All About it:
How to Write a Christmas Newsletter
Sometimes the holidays are the only chance you get to connect with your out-of-state relative or old college buddy. Between graduations and new family additions, there's a lot to keep up with! A holiday "brag letter" is a fun way to get your favorite peeps back in the loop. These tips for what to write in a Christmas card are meant to take some of the stress out of the season!
Think about your readers
Who will be reading this? Is this going to one person or to the whole family? If you were on the phone with your reader(s), what kind of things would you talk about? This is a great way to start thinking about what you might want to share in your letter. But remember, unlike a phone call which is one-to-one, this is one-to-many. So ask yourself if there are any in-jokes, or inside references that some will understand, but will leave others feeling left out. But, we're getting ahead of ourselves! More about structure in a bit.
What happened this year?
Need a refresher? Go through calendars, Facebook posts and photographs to help jog your memory. Look for the major events from the year such as graduations, awards, or anything new or exciting. Maybe focus on the Top 5 highlights for the year, and stick with those.
Find your voice
Once you've made your first swing at writing, read it out loud. If it doesn't sound like something you'd be telling someone over coffee, adjust your word choices and sentence structure. This isn't a book report! If you have a sarcastic or humorous tone when you talk, include that in your writing; this is a reflection of you, after all. Whatever your approach might be, just be yourself and you'll do great!
Tips & Ideas
"What's the best thing that happened to you all year?" You might be surprised - and entertained - by the answers.
Sweep them off their feet
Try and catch your readers' attention right from the start. You could begin by letting them know they're important with something like, "One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is taking a moment to reconnect with all of the special people in my life." (Don't you feel special just reading that?) Or try an attention-getter like "After we found out our new hamsters were not both boys and started multiplying...we knew this was going to be an interesting year."
Try something new
If you've done holiday newsletters before, consider changing things up to keep it fresh and interesting by writing in a new style. You can do a year in review as told by your pet or toddler. Perhaps try it in rhyme or haiku; it's a great excuse to channel your inner Dr. Seuss. Or you could go with a fairy tale theme and start with "Once upon a time..." Have fun with it!
Include the whole family!
Ask everybody in the family to contribute. Try posing the question: "What's the best thing that happened to you all year?" You might be surprised - and entertained - by the answers. Your letter might just be a list of what you hear back.
Get creative with themes
Instead of a timeline of events, you can do a themed newsletter. A nice way to structure this is with headings/topics and highlights/details under each. Looking for a sentimental approach? Try out headings like: "Happiness," "What We Learned," "Family," "Some Sad News," and "Love." Then, elaborate under each. Or consider picking a "Word of the Year." Pick one word that best describes your year and how events during the year reflect that word. Some ideas: beginnings, ch-ch-cha-changes, laughter, fun, oops!, surprises, or gratitude.
Your goal is to craft a letter that celebrates your love for life, for each other, and for the people reading your letter
A great brag letter should be enjoyed, not endured. Hit the highlights, and save dishing on the deets for a phone call or chatting over lunch.
Humor is good, but go for a shared laugh. Make sure you don't embarrass anybody! Consider having the whole family read it before you send it out.
When figuring out what to write in a holiday letter, sometimes it's what you leave out that's most important. It's not your entrance essay for the World's Most Amazing Family contest, but it is kind of a brag letter. So it's a fine line. Make sure your bragging won't leave readers feeling resentful or annoyed. Your goal is to craft a letter that celebrates your love for life, for each other, and for the people reading your letter. ☺
Leave out the complaints that can't be rectified, however, if your water heater blew up and you can tell a funny story about it, by all means use it! Otherwise, stick to the stuff that makes you (and your readers!) smile.
Skip the impulse to give a one-line update about each member of the household. People tend to lose interest in statements like "Sam is still doing great at school, and enjoys riding his bike" and "Susie is still at the Gas Company, and is also doing great."
Most Importantly: Have Fun!
Writing a Christmas greeting shouldn't be a chore. You're sending a smile, and reaching out to people. And don't just stand there - get started! ☺