You've still got just enough time to dash off a holiday letter and get it into the mail to 100 of your closest friends and family. Need some inspiration and/or encouragement? Here's a great article written by my friend Bonita! (This is from her weekly encouraging email for writers. Information on how to subscribe is below.)
The Holiday Letter
By Bonita Lillie
(Encouraging Words for Writers #93)
Have you ever received one of those holiday letters that was so depressing that you felt guilty for celebrating? It reads something like this: I gained 300 pounds. The house burned down. Everyone lost their jobs. Everyone died. Happy Holidays! It makes you wonder if they are really writing to wish you a happy holiday or if they are soliciting pity and prayers.
When it comes to holiday letters a few simple guidelines will make your letter the one everyone can’t wait to read.
Keep it short. People are busy during the holidays. Keep it to one page, maybe two pages if you have a large family or an extraordinary year.
Hit the highlights. If your letter is multiple pages of miniscule type, it’s too long. No one leads a life so interesting that it requires a book to report on a single year. Touch on the main events. If someone wants to know more details they will contact you and let you know.
Be creative. I always look forward to a particular friend’s letter because her kids actually make a newspaper, one side front and back. It includes pictures and “headline” stories from their life.
Think outside the box when creating your letter, or at the very least print it on cute paper. Don’t forget other options like sending it by email or posting it on your blog.
Add some humor. You don’t have to be a slapstick comedian, but keep the letter lighthearted. Who doesn’t need a little chuckle during the holiday season?
Stay positive. Even if you’ve had the year from down under, find the redeeming qualities, the lessons learned, or comment on your hopes for the future. Heed the message in Luke 2:10: …I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Regardless of what you’ve personally endured, you can still share the good news of the gospel. Remember the reason for the season.
Send it on time. After Christmas the umph goes out and it’s not nearly so exciting to receive a holiday letter after the holiday. If you can’t get it together for Christmas, consider writing a New Year’s letter. If you’re an early bird, make it a Thanksgiving letter. If the whole holiday season leaves you gasping for air, opt for a less busy time. It’s okay to send an annual fourth of July letter or an Easter letter instead.
Write it. Regardless of what you write in the letter, take the time to write one at least once a year. People are treasures and it’s so important to keep in touch, especially with loved ones. Write that letter!
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