The Annual Christmas Letter: Six Tips

For many years now, I have written a Christmas letter to enclose with my Christmas cards. I’ve tried to make the letters interesting. I’ve written funny letters and sincere ones. Lately, I’ve been enclosing a story I’ve written along with the letter. This year I did a poem to include in my card.

Here are a few tips I’ve come up with to help you write a decent Christmas letter.

Reading letter

Your initial Greeting should be positive and reflect the season. Something as benign as Season’s Greetings from the Staight Family works well.


Keep the letter short. Condensing a year’s worth of events in a short letter can be difficult. You just need to hit the highlights and be brief. I refer to my calendar which helps refresh my memory as to the important events of the year.


Be aware of who will read your letter. Letters that go out to business or casual acquaintances do not need to include all your family’s antics. Whereas, if your letter goes out to good friends and family, you can include some of those interesting stories. But even then – keep it short.


Avoid Bragging! Reading braggadocios Christmas letter seems to be the number one way to put off people. You can write letters that forthrightly tell your accomplishments during the year, but embellishing your achievements is not necessary.


Be creative. Dry letters that give just the facts can be tedious and boring. I try to pick a theme such as a favorite Christmas song or story and write from that perspective. As an example, last year my roof was damaged by Hurricane Irma, so I wrote a parody of the song ‘Up On the Rooftop.’ You can also make a Top Ten List or do a parody of a story inserting activities and highlights of your life in the parody. One of the letters most commented on by friends, which I sent out was ‘ghostwritten’ by my dog telling her perspective of what had happened that year. I purposefully had terrible spelling and capitalization throughout the letter. Friends seemed to get a kick out of trying to figure out what the dog was saying.


Make it personal. I always sign the letter in my handwriting and often enclose a short comment to each person.


Christmas letters should be friendly and informative. They are a wonderful way to record your family history. I keep a file of the letters. It is amazing how often I refer back to them to confirm when I traveled to England or when a favorite relative died. Good luck writing your Christmas Letter. Better get to it because Christmas is 22 days away!


Comments are always welcome.


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