How to Write a Christmas Letter

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A Christmas letter is your opportunity to share your family's news.
A Christmas letter is your opportunity to share your family's news. (Image: Visivasnc/iStock/Getty Images)

Part of the joy of the Christmas season is opening your mailbox to receive a letter from a family member or friend with whom you don't correspond regularly. When writing your Christmas letters in early December, think about the news you wish to share, the questions you want to ask and remember that brevity is valuable.

Stay Humble

No one enjoys receiving a Christmas letters that appears to boast about each family member's long list of accomplishments throughout the year. Although Christmas letters are ideal for sharing your family's news, be mindful about what appears boastful. Focus on cheery news about each family member; if a child has had multiple accomplishments, highlight one or two, such as making the varsity football team or singing a solo with the school choir. Some self-deprecating humor can avoid writing in a boastful manner. For example, write, "Bobby earned a scholarship to an arts college -- my lack of artistic skill obviously didn't have anything to do with it."

Add a Personal Touch

Some people write one Christmas letter and distribute it to the masses, but if you've chosen to write individual letters, devote a paragraph to asking about the family to which you're writing. Recall previous letters, emails and phone calls to help you ask specific questions. For example, ask about the wife's new job, the husband's volunteer position or the children's school and extra-curricular activities. Including questions about the recipient helps your letter not appear boastful.

Value Brevity

Keeping your letter brief is respectful of the recipient's time, and also helps you avoid spending too much time on your Christmas correspondence. A single page is typically enough to share some details about your family, ask a few questions and send your best wishes. Whether you write by hand or use the computer, space out your paragraphs to avoid the letter appearing daunting to read. In either case, writing or printing the letter on seasonal letterhead adds a festive quality to your work.

Other Ideas

Even if you're not a comedian, a humorous anecdote or two adds life to your letter. In general, however, keep your letter's mood upbeat and cheery, given the season. If you have to share sad news about the loss of a relative or a pet, relay the news in a positive manner, such as by saying how you have fond memories of the deceased. End your letter with a festive quote or thought for the recipient and have each member of your family sign the letter to give it a personalized feel.

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