When their children were young, my friends, Mary Ellen and Mike, sent the most entertaining Christmas letters. They offered a not-so-flattering but realistic and humorous glimpse of their large family in action. Their card and letter was the one I eagerly waited for each season and laughed over well into the new year.
Opening a Christmas card and finding a letter tucked inside is like receiving a little gift. It’s an opportunity to catch up with loved ones, and it is so much more pleasing than merely a signed card. That is, unless the note is long, boring, or depressing.
So how do you write a dynamic Christmas letter? Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind. Recipients want to celebrate your accomplishments but don’t want a brag-fest. They also want to hear about your trials and how you are getting through them. But they don’t want to know the detailed surgical procedure you endured. Nor do they need your day-to-day journal from the past year.
As with all writing, less is best. In a few paragraphs, tell about the highlights of the past year. What made you happiest and what raises your concerns? Inform readers of your work or other areas and how they may support you if their interests align with yours. And don’t forget to solicit prayers when needed.
Write simply and clearly. Reread and edit. Check grammar and spelling. If recipients can’t read your letter, or it is lengthy, your time is wasted as it all goes unread. Also, even when delivering bad news, try to stay positive.
A good Christmas letter links family and friends far and wide. Make yours an interesting one that is enjoyed and passed around the holiday dinner table.
©Mary K. Doyle