How to Write the Family Christmas Letter

Christmas letters can be one of the best parts of the holiday season. A well-written letter gives and update to friends and family who don’t live close enough to keep up with the important details of a family’s life throughout the year. Granted, with social networking applications like Facebook, this type of once-a-year catch up may not be as necessary as it once was, but it still makes a nice addition to your Christmas card.

The Christmas Letter is Not a Resume

There is nothing worse in my opinion than receiving the family Christmas letter that reads like a pitch session for mom and dad and a college entrance interview for the kids. While there’s nothing wrong with a little bragging—especially on the kids—remember that no one really cares if you were promoted to Vice President of dog food sales or if Junior scored in the top two percentile in calculus. Ditto goes for big purchases or vacations. I know it’s difficult, but try and focus on the things you can’t buy versus the things that are keeping you in debt.

Consider asking each member of the family what important milestone or accomplishment they would like to share for the year.

Format For the Christmas Letter

Who says you have to keep to a strict letter format? Play around. Have fun. I have received newsletter style letters, lists, and even a few spreadsheets. (I hang with accountants!) If you’re short on verbal inspiration, fill a page with pictures and add a few captions. Your friends and family will love to see how everyone has grown.

Get Different Perspectives

Once the kids are old enough, recruit them to write the annual Christmas letter. Sure, you never know what they might say, but you can always reserve the right to edit out the super embarrassing. The letter writer doesn’t even have to be a human member of your family. One of the best letters I ever wrote was told from the point of view of our Italian Greyhound. People are still talking about that silly thing all these years later.

Keep It Light

The best Christmas letters are fun to read. This is not to say that no serious news ought to be included in the annual letter. However, think about the fact that you are sending a mass communication in the Christmas letter. Omit anything that requires a slightly different approach depending on the audience. There’s nothing wrong with skipping a year if you’re just not feeling festive.

Follow these tips and you’ll create Christmas letters that are not only read, but tucked away until next year and brought out again to make friends and families smile.

Image Credit: scottfeldstein, Flickr

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3 comments

Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

I enjoy getting letters and newsletters with the Christmas cards. Haven't gotten a spreadsheet yet though! I like to make mine and save them as a family history, like Ralph said. It really helps to remember when "normal" used to be different.


Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

Great advise! Letter writing has almost become extinct. This is a great Christmas tradition that should be kept up.


Ralph Deeds profile image

Ralph Deeds 6 years ago

Lela, that's good advice. I've been writing family Christmas letters for many years. Combined, they constitute a brief family history. I also produce a collage of pictures including each member of the family which we send along with the letter. We send the same letter to everybody, sometimes with a little note at the end. I'm sure some non-relatives who get the letter are less interested than others. I've probably overdone the bragging about our kids sometimes, and I agree this can be overdone and that a light touch is best. Your Hub is a good reminder not to get carried away.

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