Adding Extra Cheer to Your Holiday Cards
The Christmas letter--updated
by Linda S. Dupie
re you tired of sending the same old holiday message? Why not try something new; try writing an annual update to accompany the card. Well, letter writing isn't new, but with today's technology, a personal letter via conventional mail can put the cheer back into the holidays.
Your letter doesn't have to be long, just enough to let everyone know what your family is up to. A paragraph on each family member is usually sufficient. I have tried several formats, the typical newsletter style, an informal letter, a photo essay and last year I just sent a poem to let them all know I love them.
I started this tradition in 1993 when I found out I was pregnant with my first daughter. I took a journalist approach, using a headline to announce the future arrival of our child. Here's the opening: Extra, Extra! The Dupie's of Twentynine Palms are Having a Baby! I chose to write this letter as if someone were writing a feature about us. We had just moved to the desert in California; I used the interview format and mini features to update the family on our new home. That has been my favorite to date, because it was funny and writing about our lives in the third person made it unique.
You don't have to be a great writer to entertain family and friends, just be yourself. I also find that if I write the letter as if I am talking directly to someone it has a natural flow and shows my personality.
If letter writing doesn't appeal to you, try a photo essay. I have done this using my favorite photo editing software. I place several photos on the page that highlights the year in the life of our family. I add small captions about what we were doing and how old the kids were.
Another way to liven up your holiday card is to compose a poem. Last year I chose to write on the love I feel for everyone in my life. I printed it out with a nice frame from a publishing program and inserted a copy into each card. If poetry isn't something you enjoy, try passing along a favorite holiday recipe that may have been a tradition while you were growing up. Include a special memory with the recipe to personalize it. You may be surprised at the response you get from this one as the memory you share usually sparks others to remember and share.
This year I am planning a special newsletter that will not only update, it will serve as the holiday card. I plan to send out a folded four-page newsletter complete with miniature stories on each family member. I am also including pictures and some of the kid's art and writing with the aid of a scanner. I am so excited about the project that I have already started compiling photos and jotting down funny stories and milestones in a journal. I plan to spend the week after Thanksgiving putting my yearly newsletter together. My goal is to have this in the mail by the second week of December or earlier, so I don't have to think of cards while I'm running to find the perfect gift.
Add a little holiday cheer to your card; it could be the perfect gift to give this holiday season. Happy Writing and Happy Holidays!
© 1999-2005 Linda S. Dupie; used by permission.