Writing The Perfect
By Rachel Paxton
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 Christmas letter.
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
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
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
Make sure you keep a copy of your
Christmas letter for yourself. I place a copy of mine in a binder I
keep of all 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