How to Write Family Christmas Letters
The Art of Christmas Letter Writing
Love 'em or hate 'em, family Christmas letters have become a part of our culture. Each year, millions of people send and receive these annual updates.
But knowing what to write and how to say it can be challenging. Would you like help creating great holiday letters?
Here are some tips on how to write Christmas letters your readers will enjoy, as well as some links for Christmas letter paper you can order online and Christmas letter templates you can download and use immediately.
(Image of printable Christmas letter template from Christmas Letter Tips.com)
8 Tips for Writing Better Family Christmas Letters
Simple reminders to keep your letters fun for everyone!
1. Be yourself.
This is the cardinal rule of holiday letter writing. Write like you speak. Your letter should sound like you wrote it, not like it was penned by your seventh grade English teacher.
2. Don't brag.
If something good happened to you and your family, announce it, but keep it low-key. Readers don't enjoy gloating. Remember when you played sports in school and had to shake hands with the losing team after winning a great victory? Keep that image in mind while announcing your latest victories.
3. Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly.
If you're tempted to add words like "great" and "exciting" and "wonderful" in every sentence, take a break and see rule #1 above.
4. Be creative.
Your Christmas letter doesn't have to be a long narrative of everything that happened to your family this year. Be creative. Use bullet points, create a puzzle, or turn it into a multiple-choice quiz. You'll find more creative Christmas letter ideas at Christmas Letter Tips.com.
5. Make it colorful.
Holiday letters are easier and more fun to read when you spice them up with family photos, Christmas clip art, or other images (such as scanned children's artwork). You can also buy Christmas stationery or Christmas letter templates (such as the one pictured here) to make your letter more fun.
6. Have fun!
Remember that the goal of your annual Christmas letter should be to entertain and inform your readers. If you don't have fun creating it, your recipients probably won't enjoy reading it.
7. Read it out loud.
Have you succeeded in writing an informative, entertaining holiday letter? Read it out loud, or have someone else read it to you. If it doesn't sound right, try again.
8. Add a personal note.
Add one or two handwritten lines at the bottom of each letter to add a personal touch and leave your readers feeling good.
Creative Christmas Letters Book - For more ideas, check out this book
This book has some great suggestions for creative Christmas letters and gives real examples from the author's family letters. Ideas include Christmas letters disguised as classified ads, trivia games, election results, family statistics and more. If you're looking for some unique ideas, this book will get you thinking.
An All-in-One Christmas Card and Letter
Share your top 10 moments of the year
With today's technology, who needs a separate piece of paper for your Christmas letter? Forget about stuffing your letter inside a card. This clever design from Shutterfly can serve as a card and a letter.
The front of this 5 x 7 card offers room for three photos and a list of the top 10 highlights of your year. And you can create it all online! Simply type in the text in the provided areas and upload your photos. Then preview your design before ordering. You're done! Shutterfly also offers other creative holiday cards. Visit Shutterfly to see more.
Once you've written your letter, you'll want to create a design or buy a template or preprinted stationery that will add color and fun to your words.
You can get printable Christmas stationery with matching envelopes online at places such as AmericanGreetings.com.
American Greetings offers a 30-day free trial membership, which will give you access to printable Christmas cards, as well as holiday letterhead, Santa letter paper and other printable and electronic holiday cards and hundreds of other printable projects.
You can buy printable Christmas letter templates online or get preprinted Christmas stationery at local stationery stores, discount stores and greeting card shops. If you prefer to shop or shop online, see below for some of the great Christmas letterhead you can purchase from Zazzle.
Christmas Letter Paper
Stationery for your holiday letter
Zazzle is a great place to shop for stationery for your Christmas letter. You'll find thousands of unique designs, and you can customize the letterhead with their online interface. It's fun and easy!
Here are just a few of the designs you'll find there. Click on a picture to see a larger image and to explore the wide range of paper they offer.
Creating Digital Christmas Letters - Put Your Family Christmas Letter Online
Is ordinary paper and Christmas clip art is too 20th century for you? Then go digital. These days it's easy to put your ramblings online for either a short period or for longer archiving.
There are several options for putting your family Christmas letters online, including creating a page on your blog or your own web site or , but if you just want to create a colorful digital Christmas letter for your friends and family, Smilebox is a great way to do it.
Smilebox is a site that helps you create personalized ecards, slideshows, scrapbooks, invitations and more. You can add your own text, photos and music, so you'll have a truIy digital Christmas letter. It's easy, fun and free. Yes, free.
If you simply want to make a card, letter or invitation to send via email or post on Facebook, the service is absolutely free and your holiday letter will have some ads in it. If you don't want the ads, sign up for the free trial and you won't have ads in your final product and you'll also be able to download or print your letter so you can save it forever.
Spice Up Your Envelopes with Christmas Stamps and Labels
Make your Christmas letters look good on the outside, too
If you want to add a final flair to your Christmas letters, think about adding a personalized photo stamp to your envelopes. You can easily create personalized USPS stamps for the holidays with your own photos or images on sites such as Zazzle. Simply upload a photo, some children's art or (almost) whatever your heart desires and you'll be able to order custom stamps in minutes.
On Zazzle, you can also order a variety of Christmas stamps created by artists. Here are just a few of the holiday stamps you'll find there:
Set the Christmas Mood!
Every day in December, Amazon will be offering free Christmas music downloads
Add a Christmas Postmark
Get a North Pole or other fun postmark for your family Christmas letters
You can also add a little fun to your envelopes by getting a postmark from the North Pole. No kidding! All is takes is a little extra time. The North Pole, Alaska post office will stamp all of your envelopes with their special holiday cancellation for no additional charge (you still need to put regular postage on your envelopes). All you have to do is address and stamp your envelopes as you normally would. Then stick them all in a larger envelope and send them to:
North Pole Christmas Cancellation
5400 Mail Trail
Fairbanks, AK 99709-9999
The North Pole elves (ok, postal employees) will then make sure your letters get sent to the appropriate addresses, just as if you'd dropped them at your local post office. But you can tell your friends they came from the North Pole!
To ensure delivery in time for Christmas, be sure to get your letters to the North Pole by December 15 at the very latest. Christmas is a very busy time at the North Pole.
If you'd prefer a postmark from another Christmas-themed city, such as a Santa postmark from Santa Claus, Indiana, here are some other cities you can use. Follow the instructions above to send your letter and get your Christmas postmark.
Nazareth, PA 18064
Santa, ID 83866
Santa Claus, IN 47579
Noel, MO 64854
The Perfect Christmas Letter - A musical parody of the traditional family letter
Christmas Letter Poll - Love 'em or hate 'em?
Thumbs up or thumbs down to Christmas letters?
Read More About Christmas Letter Writing - More sites with advice on writing Christmas letters
- How To Write Christmas Letters People Will Actually Enjoy Reading - How To Do Things.com
Computers have made it easy for anyone to create an annual Christmas letter, but do your readers think of ho, ho, ho or oh, no, no when they get your mail? Follow these tips to make sure your letters are fun to read and write.
- How to Write a Christmas Letter - Great Christmas Letters.com
Get tips on how to write a Christmas letter at Great Christmas Letters.com.
- How to Write a Christmas Letter - Parenting Squad
Advice on writing Christmas letters
- Ideas for Creative Christmas Letters
Stumped about what to put in your annual Christmas letter? Then think outside the box. Maybe it's time for an extreme makeover.
NPR Talks About Christmas Letters
lisadh was on NPR's Weekend Edition with Liane Hansen during the 2007 holiday season. To listen to the broadcast, visit Writing Letters is Holday Tradition on NPR.