This year I want you to write and post a short holiday letter. Your letter should touch on the highlights of the past year and close with your plans for this coming year, briefly stated but specific. Imagine you are writing a friend or family member that you have not seen all year or been in touch with.
Here are some links to pages about writing holiday letters:
- Start a new tradition with a Christmas letter
- Examples of holiday letters
- Ideas for holiday letters
- Tips for writing holiday letters
- Know your audience – What you write in your holiday letter and how you write it should be determined by who's going to be reading it. Is it only going to family members that you talk with every day? Or to old friends that you communicate with only a few times a year? Your letter should entertain the people who aren't intimately familiar with your daily happenings without boring those who are.
- Don't exaggerate - There is a tendency among some holiday letter writers to try to make every daily event sound as if it's the discovery of the Holy Grail. Don't embellish the truth. The events will speak for themselves.
- Write like you speak – For some reason, people often feel the need to include "big" words in their holiday letter that they’d never use in real life. Stick to words you use in your everyday English.
- Avoid unnecessary adjectives - This is a follow-up to rules #2 and #3 above. Now repeat after me: not all nouns must be preceded by an adjective. Excessive use of adjectives that you'd never use in everyday conversation is a common pitfall for many Yearly Holiday Letter writers. Avoid sentences such as, “My beautiful wife Jane and I took our wonderful kids to the fabulous city of New York and spent exciting hours visiting the incredible museums." Keep the adjectives to a minimum.
- Keep it short – Try to focus on the highlights of your year: the best things that happened to you, the funniest events, the most important changes in your life. In most cases, your letter shouldn't exceed one or two typed pages.
- Choose a format - Your letter can be arranged in a variety of ways. Many are written chronologically, listing events as they happened throughout the year, while others detail each person's accomplishments individually. You can also choose a theme, such as hope, new beginnings, tough times, etc., and interweave people and events to highlight your theme. Whichever method you choose, pick one and stick with it.
- Make it visually appealing - Your letter will be more interesting if you include photos, clip art, or other images.
- Be creative - An annual holiday letter doesn't have to be a letter at all. Look at creative letter ideas for fun ways to give your annual holiday update a fresh new look.
- Add a personal note - A quick handwritten note at the bottom of each recipient's letter will make the update feel more personal and less like an anonymous form letter.
- Have fun! - Remember that writing an annual holiday letter is an opportunity to have fun and keep others up to date about what you and your family have been doing all year. It shouldn’t feel like a chore to write your letter - or to read it. If it does, you’re doing something wrong.