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Holiday Newsletters Spread Cheer Far & Near

Updated on November 26, 2010
Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom is a keen observer of life. She shares her personal experiences and opinions in helpful and often amusing ways.

One of the traditions I most look forward to at year's end is catching up with old friends. And what better way to recap an entire year than through your own "holiday newsletter"!

Even if you've never published one yourself, I'm sure you've received your share over the years. But since it's probably been at least 11 months since you last read one, your recollection may be a bit stale, like last year's fruitcake.

The purpose of this hub is to guide you through the process of creating your own year-end communication. You can follow one model or mix and match styles. The approach you choose will depend on the kind of year you've had, your general personality type, and the impression you wish to create.

Stick to 1 page, please!
Stick to 1 page, please!

Congratulations: You're a Publisher

I will give you fair warning. Holiday newsletters are not for the faint of heart. After all, you're sharing your most personal experiences with people who may or may not be prepared to hear about them. Examine your motives. Are you seeking primarily to inform? Engender sympathy? Entertain?

In some cases, a brief, handwritten card may actually be preferable.

Do you send holiday newsletters?

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It is certainly not my place to suggest whether you should or shouldn't write a holiday newsletter. Nor is it my place to suggest which style is most appropriate for you. Those decisions are as intensely personal as your choice to believe (or not) in Santa Claus or whether to top your tree with a star or an angel.

My task is simply to offer you the benefits of many years of newsletter reading -- and writing -- and let you come to your own (hopefully) jolly conclusions.

The Gushletter

By far the most prevalent style of newsletter. The gushletter is guaranteed to lift the holiday spirits of all your friends. They will be so thrilled to learn of all the delightful things in your life that they can't help but feel blessed just to know you!

The gushletter emphasizes all of the superlatives of your year. If you have even one down moment in 365 days, this is NOT the place to admit it.

To pull the gushletter off successfully you must either live a charmed existence or in a state of denial.

Now, there is a potential downside of the gushlette. Your friends may be suspicious or jealous of your charmed life. Be careful not to overdo, or you might cause your friends to turn green like the Grinch.

The Gloatletter

People who write gushletters tend to be Pollyannas. They are just generally happy, sunny, and, well, gushy.

If that seems entirely too upbeat for you, here's one that's more sly.

Although both focus on accomplishments, the gloatletter serves a slightly different purpose. This newsletter is all about keeping up with the Joneses. As such, it is also the newsletter-of-choice for Joneses everywhere.

The gloatletter reports in minute, "look-at-us-aren't-we-special" detail every accomplishment of every member of the family.

If you have a gloatletter-writer in your circle, you may notice an interesting trend over time: Her husband gets promoted every single year! Her kids excel at every sport -- not just soccer and baseball, but fencing, water polo and chess. From K through 12 they never, ever get less than straight A's! Of course she stays busy with a dizzying array of community activities --which inevitably raise bazillions of dollars. It never rains on their fabulous family vacations. And their new puppy Bowzer jumps straight from obedience training to Best in Show at Westminster!

Wow! I wish I could have half that much success!

If you find yourself having such a year of incredible wonderfulness, there's no question. It demands nothing less than a gloatletter! Write it up -- and don't forget the family photos and cutesy captions to really rub that holidy spirit in!!

The Groanletter

The groanletter is the newsletter equivalent of "Bah, humbug." If Eyore had opposable thumbs, this is the kind of letter he would write.

Yes, we all have shitty years. Into each life some rain does fall. I get that. But for goodness' sake. Some things are better left unsaid.

Again, go back to examining your motives (see above). Your newsletter does more than communicate. It creates a mood, an ambiance as palpable as cinnamon candles. Line after line of loss is a heavy burden to put on your friends. And don't think you can counter a full page of downer news with a cheery ending, either. Some readers may never get that far, because they've blurred the whole bottom of the page with tears.

I'm not saying to omit unhappy news entirely. I'm saying to at least balance out the negatives with a positive ...or several.

If this year has been singularly awful and you choose to share that with your friends, please do them the courtesy of waiting till after January 1st. By then people will be in a perfect frame of mind to read your newsletter -- especially if you time it to arrive with their credit card statements.

Fill in your info and make it your own

The Giggleletter

I am blessed to have friends whose newsletters I genuinely look forward to each year. They have a magical way of describing their lives. They write of marriage, children, work, sickness, and loss of parents with equal aplomb.

What comes through is a contagious affection for life. I picture them sitting down to write and asking themselves, "How can I get a smile out of this?"

The great thing about the giggleletter is its versatility. It's truly the one-size-fits-all-news-letter. With the right attitude, you can make your bad news more bearable, any news a gift from your heart.

If writing comedy seems too daunting, the giggleletter may be a stretch. Give it a shot anyway. For novice writers, you might want to start out slow with something I call the "grinletter." Try adapting a well-known poem or holiday reading (I wrote mine one year in the form of "Twas the Night Before Christmas").

Are You Ready to Spread Cheer???

At the end of the day (or year, as the case may be), the choice is up to you. Sending a holiday newsletter is sort of like giving everyone on your list the same gift card.

Some will appreciate it; others will find it tacky and generic.

I wish you happy holiday writing -- and may all the newsletters you receive this year bring smiles all year long.


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    • Dottie1 profile image


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      I think newsletters are great, Mighty Mom. My cousin sends out a newsletter after the holiday and I always look forward to reading it because she can do a really sweet giggleletter. Thanks for sharing and may your holiday be bright.

    • SweetiePie profile image


      9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I love my aunt, but my other aunts always used to complain she liked to talk about her important career a little too much.  Yes she did very well in her job and she is also wonderful mom, but some how she wanted everyone to know that when they went on those trips it was because her career, and she got to take better trips than you because of her career.  I am very happy for her and she is a wonderful person, but I do not think she realized how sometimes those lines were just very humorous.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      LOL, SP, you totally got my drift. Wink, wink. Yes, the people who send gush/gloat letters typically do so in all seriousness. The response on the other end is either to laugh or to gag (or both). All kidding aside, these holiday newsletters are harder to pull off well than many people realize. Or maybe I am just spoiled and jaded from having a cadre of clever and amusing friends.

      Oddly enough, I've never had any trouble writing mine. I usually do it in a theme of some sort. However, after writing this hub, I am feeling a bit deflated and out of ideas. I'll have to work hard to inject humor into this year's events. But I know, based on reading so many excellent hubs on a diversity of personal topics, that it CAN be done! And by golly, it SHALL be done!!

      An aside: Maybe it's just me, but I fail to see how a daughter diving into the Aegean is even remotely connected to your aunt's professional career (?) I suppose I'd have to read that particular line in context:-) ... or NOT!

    • SweetiePie profile image


      9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I remember the family newsletters my aunt used to send out every year.  They were very funny, but maybe not for the reasons she would have liked to have known about.  Of course people are proud of their families and I can respect that, but she would write about some of the most mundane things and make them sound very profound, such as: "I knew I had made it as a mother and a professional woman when I saw my daughter dive into the Aegean Sea!"  I love my aunt, do not get me wrong, but I wonder if she ever knew that some of the stories in her newsletter were a little humorous.  Great hub and I like how you cover so many different styles of newsletters here.  Hopefully a few people will take your suggestions, hint, hint to my family.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Bob Ewing, you are much too kind. I suspect what you really mean is "Like I give a rat's ass..."

      NYL -- gushing is ok, as long as it doesn't completely sugarcoat a real life.Somehow, I suspect yours are a delightful combo!

    • NYLady profile image


      9 years ago from White Plains, NY

      MM: Great idea for a hub! Hilarious, too. I used to hate these things because I always received a gloatletter from a friend who one year included a photo of himself with Bill Clinton in the Oval Office. But alas, I have surrendered to sending holiday newsletters myself because our friends and family are so far-flung. I try my best to make them giggleletters, although I must say I probably gush about my kids. No one's perfect!

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      9 years ago from New Brunswick

      All is well here, happy you wrote.

    • Mighty Mom profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      LOL. Hi Amber. That's the perfect response!!

    • Amber Korn profile image

      Amber Korn 

      9 years ago from Los Angeles County

      Thanks Much glad to hear from you.


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