Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Letters

It's the last day of November, so we're shifting into holiday mode. We're at the top of the hill and the downhill path to December 25th is pretty steep. We'll be there before we know it. The To-Do List is growing by the minute. 

One of the first things I like to get done is addressing and sending our Christmas cards. I keep trying to pare the list but it's hard to give up people from my past whom I truly care about, even if our time to reach out and touch one another is an annual event. I want to know what has been happening in their life so I look forward to the cards that come with letters. Whether they are a printed, copied letter or a handwritten note, I enjoy each one. 

Like the stories, essays and articles we write, the letters run the gamut of being rambling to a well-written, brief report of a family's past year. All that's needed are the highlights and the important things. I don't need to know what each grandchild's activities are or what hotel you stayed in on each of six trips. One reason I prefer the personal note is that I can gear what I write to that particular person. There are some who do not know my children and really aren't interested in their lives. Others knew my children in their growing up years and want to know where they are and what is happening with them. 

Some Christmas letters run on and on and ....  One woman I know sends two pages, single spaced and printed on both sides. You can imagine the details she includes. I typically scan the letter for what might be of interest and give up by page 3. Think short!

In my stage of life, lots of the letters bring sad news of either a death or a serious illness. Kind of dampens the holiday spirit, but I do want to know these things. Some finish with a little something positive which helps a lot. Others are still too distraught to do that. 

My short list of things to do or not do when writing your Christmas Letter:
1.  Keep it short
2. Keep it organized, no rambling
3.  Don't make it Grandma's Brag Book
4.  Consider your blessings, not your gripes
5.  Look at #1 again 

Do you have any more to add? What do you like or dislike about Christmas Letters you receive? Comments please.


  1. While I know a lot of people do not care for Christmas letters, I have sent one out with my cards for the last 17 years, starting when my oldest was born. I keep them to one page in length and try to add humor as well as a small nudge to encourage charitable giving of some sort. Over the years, my children and I have often returned to the letters, which are now keepsakes that grace the final page of every annual scrapbook album. Thanks for the post!

  2. I'm certainly not against Christmas letters. I'd like to see them done a little differently in only some cases. :)