9 DOs and DON’Ts for Writing Christmas Letters

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I love checking the mail in December. It’s the one time of year when I expect more than bills and advertisements as friends throughout the years send their Christmas cards and letters. I realize it’s a lot simpler to send a card, but I really love a good Christmas letter. Of course, it takes more time and effort than a card, but it’s exactly that time and effort that makes it more meaningful to those who receive it. If you’re one of those people who still take the extra time to write a Christmas letter, here are a few tips you may want to consider as you prepare your letter.

1. Keep it short.
Edit. Edit. Edit. Christmas letters shouldn’t be much longer than a page with maybe a little bit on the back. The truth is, if it’s too long, no one will read it. If you just feel like you can’t cut it down, then consider sending a lengthier letter to very close friends and family, and a shorter letter to the rest of your friends.

2. Don’t embarrass your kids.
You can get away with a funny/embarrassing story about your child if he or she is under the age of six or seven, but don’t embarrass your older kids or teenagers. They won’t appreciate it, and your readers may even feel embarrassed for them.

3. Share the highlights of your year.
Stick to the highlights of your year – any big family trips, milestones, new jobs, and exciting news – things like that.

4. Include pictures.
Always include a family picture, and if you can include multiple photos to your layout (sort of like a magazine) that’s even better. When possible, include the names and ages of each child underneath the family picture.

5. Don’t brag.
It’s okay to brag on yourself or your kids a little bit, but don’t overdo it. You don’t want your Christmas letter to start feeling like a resume of all of your/your children’s accomplishments.

6. Don’t get crazy with fonts and backgrounds.
Busy fonts and candy cane backgrounds are distracting. Keep the font simple and if you use festive stationary, keep it around the border and not behind your text.

7. Don’t forget to include an update about yourself.
Sometimes parents write all about their kids and forget to give their own update. Your friends will want to know how you are doing, not just your kids.

8. Include a handwritten note.
Take the time to include a handwritten note to each recipient. It’s those extra touches that will make your friends and family feel loved.

9. Keep one for yourself.
Christmas letters aren’t just for your friends – they’re also fun way for you to record your year. Ten years from now you’ll love reading your Christmas letter and remembering the year!