My mailbox is starting to fill up with annual holiday letters from friends and family. They are so much fun to receive and I love catching up with distant friends this way! The letters I get are all terrific and I appreciate the time that people take to write to me. But once in a while I’ll hear about a letter that reminds me of the infamous little girl from the nursery rhyme: When it comes to holiday letters, when they are good they are very, very good… but when they are bad they are horrid. Today, I want to share a few tips to help make your annual newsletter something that your friends and family will love!
- Consider Your Audience. Who will be reading your letter and why? Grandma probably wants to read the 12-page essay that includes every detail of your year but most other people won’t have time for that. This is not the resume of your life over the past 12 months. Most people are reading your letter because they want a quick update, so keep it short and easy to skim.
- Resist the temptation to brag… or to mention things that may sound like bragging. Now is not the time to announce that your 4 year old won his golf championship for the third time in a row or that your 7 year old is now fluent in 6 languages, even if its true. Instead of talking about what your family has accomplished, talk instead about what your family enjoys and what you have learned from your experiences. No mentioning fancy purchases or expensive vacations (unless the “Make a Wish” foundation paid for it… and in that case everybody wants to hear about it)!
- Make it personal and keep it real. Write conversationally, the way you really talk. Let your tone be casual and friendly, as if you were sitting in front of a fireplace with your friend having a face-to-face conversation. Share fun or funny stories from throughout the year. Sweet stories always go over well, too. One family I receive a yearly letter from includes one paragraph about each member of the family, describing their activities, hobbies, and a selected word that the rest of the family would use to describe that person. It’s a fun way to track how the children change (or don’t change) from year to year.
- Include Pictures when you can. Don’t over-do it. A few well selected pictures (or even just one) will enhance your letter. Make sure that the pictures are clear, not too small and not too dark.
- Write personal letters instead of form letters if you are able and tell your reader something you did this year that reminded you of him/her. If you’re writing form letters, consider adding a handwritten line or two to the bottom of the letter, personalizing it for your reader.
- Conclude your letter well. Consider sharing your new year’s resolution and send blessings to the person reading your letter.
- Start Early! It’s a little late to tell you for this year, but next year start in January and each month jot down fun memories throughout the year. If you are handwriting letters, start those in November so that you have plenty of time to get them finished and in the mail
Get Organized With Our Free Printable!
I’ve created this printable to help me keep my holiday-letter-sending organized and I’m sharing it with you for free. You can grab your copy by using this form: What other tips do you have for writing an interesting and engaging newsletter? Please tell me in the comments!