Coming up with unique ways to format your Christmas newsletter will ensure that your holiday greeting is a hit. While family newsletters can be challenging to write, the very best newsletters are a pleasure for friends and relatives to read.
12 Ways to Write a Memorable Christmas Newsletter
The Christmas newsletter is a way for busy families to share the important news and events of the year with distant friends and relatives. These newsletters are typically enclosed in Christmas cards, but may be mailed on their own if desired. Consider the following suggestions to help spark your creativity.
1. Repurpose the 12 Days of Christmas
Repurpose the 12 Days of Christmas song by changing it to include information your family. For example, "12 days of camping in the wilderness, 11 hours of traveling to Lucy's wedding, 10 pizzas ordered for Jack's 13th birthday party, 9 fights between the kids that ended without extra chores for everyone, 8 dance lessons before Amy decided she's going to be a famous ballerina when she grows up, 7 chapters completed in Mark's first novel, 6 months before Erin gets her driver's license, 5 partially completed home improvement projects, 4 new kittens for Fluffy in September, 3 weeks to Christmas, 2 exhausted parents, and 1 happy family."
2. Create a Top 10 List
Make a Top 10 list of exciting things that happened during the year, highlighting a different family member in each list number. You may choose to feature professional accomplishments, academic achievements, or interesting personal activities such as running your first 5K or finally getting around to learning how to knit. For very young children, consider including tidbits such as a new developmental milestone they've reached or one of your favorite funny stories from the year. You could also include memorable group events, such as traveling to your sister's wedding or regularly volunteering at a soup kitchen as a family.
When writing your Top 10 list, remember to keep the details for each family member balanced and equitable. It is not suitable to spend three paragraphs on one child's accomplishments while only sparing a sentence or two for another child. Avoid the perception that you're playing favorites.
3. Make a Naughty or Nice List
Formatting your letter like Santa's naughty or nice list is a clever strategy, especially if you have young children at home who regularly get into mischievous exploits such as clogging your toilet with Hot Wheels cars or giving each other unauthorized hair cuts. If you decide to use this approach, just remember to end on a positive note. Poking fun at the challenges of your year is fine, but you don't want to give the impression that you're fishing for sympathy or constantly complaining.
If your budget has a little extra room for postage, roll your letter and send it in a mailing tube to add to the authentic feel of your naughty and nice list.
4. Say It With a Poem
Write your entire Christmas newsletter as a rhyming poem, using RhymeZone's online rhyming tool for help coming up with suitable rhyming phrases.
If rhyming isn't your thing, you could also try an acrostic poem spelling out a phrase such as "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." If you take this approach, highlight your format with an attractive design. Use traditional fonts like Times New Roman, Arial, or Georgia for the text and include a decorative font in red or green ink for each letter of your acrostic poem. This will make it easy to see the holiday greeting at a glance.
5. Include a Recipe
Share a favorite holiday recipe as part of your letter, along with an explanation of what the dish means to you and your family. If you have them, include a few photos of your family in the kitchen or gathered around the table to enjoy the dish.
If it's well known that you hate to cook, you could also try to write a "Recipe for a Memorable Year" with instructions such as "Drive 1,789 miles to attend Dawson's soccer games," or "Spend 93 hours practicing the saxophone to earn a spot as a soloist in the spring musical program."
6. Write a Play
Format your letter as a script, with written dialogue for each family member. You play could showcase a typical day in your life or a conversation you might have with Santa, Rudolph, or Frosty the Snowman. Include photos of each family member dressed up in a suitable costume next to their dialogue for a little added visual appeal.
7. Take a Different Perspective
Your Christmas letter doesn't have to be from your perspective only. Make it memorable by writing your letter from the perspective of the family pet and playing with some stereotypical characteristics of cats and dogs. Alternatively, you could write your letter from the perspective of the littlest member of your family. A toddler or preschooler undoubtedly has a different opinion as to what the highlights of your year have been!
Another advantage of keeping this strategy for writing your Christmas letter is that it helps keep your greeting brief. In most cases, a one-page newsletter is best. However, if you have a large family or have had a particularly exciting year, it's fine to add a second page.
8. Give a Gift
If you're crafty, include a small handmade gift with your letter such as a beaded or embroidered Christmas ornament or a folded paper picture frame. Alternatively, you could include a special drawing done by one of your children.
You can either include the gift separately from your letter or incorporate it into the design of the letter itself. For example, a folded paper picture frame with a small photo of your family could be adhered to the bottom of letter next to the signature line. If you take this approach, include instructions for how to remove the gift so it's not accidentally overlooked.
9. Make a Quiz
Create a quiz combining holiday trivia with family-related information such as "What part did James play in the fourth grade performance of The Wizard of Oz?" This is a unique way to see who really knows your family!
A quiz would be also be a great way highlight any interesting goals or projects you have planned for the upcoming year, such as learning to speak a foreign language, finally getting around to completing a home remodeling project, or planning a special trip to celebrate your 25th wedding anniversary. Your friends and family want to know what you're excited about and trying to guess your big news adds to the fun.
10. Add a Puzzle
Instead of writing a traditional letter, create a puzzle using notable events from the year as the clues. For example, you could write, "Elizabeth's favorite subject in fifth grade is ____" and use include the word "Science" in a custom word search created on the Discovery Education website.
If you make a puzzle, don't forget to include an answer key on the back of your letter. Even if your puzzle seems fairly easy, some recipients might have trouble deciphering the clues. However, they'll still want to know what your family has been doing over the past year.
11. Celebrate December
Since many Christmas newsletters focus on the holiday itself as a theme, try a different tactic by incorporating the month of December into your newsletter theme.
Depending on where you live, this could include pictures of snow-covered trees and streets or sunny palm trees strewn with holiday lights. Make your December theme accentuate the highlights of the festivities of the month in your location so that family members spread out around the country can really picture what it's like to live in your town. Other ways to show off December could be pictures of your children and pets playing outside in the snow (or building a snowman made of sand if you live by the beach!). Or include descriptions of how your town decorates for the holidays throughout the month.
12. Keep it Simple
Another idea is to eschew using elaborate or quirky themes and templates and simply write about your past year from the heart.
The truth is your friends and family want to read your Christmas newsletter to learn about how your past year has gone including all the highs and lows of your life. You may feel more comfortable sitting down and writing an easy-to-read update to everyone rather than spending the time to write a play or develop a creative theme that doesn't convey how you truly feel. Your friends and family will appreciate hearing from you most of all regardless of how you frame it. A simple way to express your thoughts could be a few paragraphs written in a letter or journal style, or for a truly easy-to-read format, try a bulleted list of all the highlights of your year.
What Not to Include
Although no two Christmas newsletters are alike, there are some topics you should avoid. For example:
- Politics - The Christmas season is all about peace and love. Be respectful of the fact that some of your friends and family may not share your political beliefs.
- Finances - It's okay to mention that your spouse got a promotion at work, but it's polite to keep the salary details out of your letter. If you're doing better financially than your friends and family, you may also want to avoid references to expensive purchases that could be interpreted as bragging.
- Health history - If you've been dealing with a serious illness or injury, it's fine to include a brief summary of your condition. However, you should avoid sharing explicit details in your Christmas letter. If your letter starts to sound like a medical textbook, it's going to be tossed in the trash.
- Personal details about grown children - Briefly mentioning what your grown children are up to is fine, but be respectful of their privacy. Don't share anything they might consider embarrassing. If they are planning to send out their own Christmas letters, avoid duplicating information they are likely to include.
Mailing Your Newsletter
The most important thing to remember about a good newsletter is that it is prompt. Mail the letter early, preferably by December 12, to ensure that it will arrive before the holiday. If your schedule doesn't follow that timeline, consider sending a New Year's Day newsletter instead. Regardless of when you choose to mail your letter, always use enough postage to cover the cost of the card and extra paper of the newsletter. Your greeting will be poorly received if it arrives postage due!
Starting a Holiday Tradition
The best Christmas newsletter ideas are also easy ones that anyone can implement to create a festive seasonal greeting to share with friends and relatives. By writing a good newsletter, you can share the events of your year in a pleasant way to add to everyone's holiday spirit. You may even find that writing your letter becomes a cherished holiday tradition!