After years of trying to write good Christmas letters, I realize that my own letters fall into one of three categories.
1. Too Much Information
2. Too Much “We’re Awesome”
3. Truly Inspirational and Insightful
Too Much Information means I’m telling readers what I ate at every Mexican restaurant on my trip. Too Much We’re Awesome means I use the letter as a catalog of all my children’s (and pets’) accomplishments.
I want to inspire and teach, not brag and exhaust.
Truly Inspirational and Insightful Holiday Letters teach us something. They inspire us–and even make us laugh–with the insight we’ve gained this year. When these letters (I’m thinking of some of my favorite over the years) arrive, my husband literally sits down with a cup of coffee to enjoy the humor and insight that he knows the letter will offer.
With this goal in mind, we can eliminate any extraneous information that doesn’t offer insight. With this goal in mind, we can ask ourselves if we’ve designed a paragraph intended to evoke jealousy or prove our worth. With this goal in mind, we can purify our motivation to love our reader.
If the sentence doesn’t match these goals, chop it out.
As a devotional practice, I use the Holiday Letter task as a way to reflect on my year. What did I learn? How did our family change? What did we overcome? What wisdom can we offer now?
These holiday letters inspire. These holiday letters are worth sending. And sometimes a great holiday letter will matter more than the cute photo of my children in matching sweaters by the tree.
You can use the “Flair Checklist” below to help with your writing style. Enjoy! And here’s a link to the Italian Mama’s sample Holiday Letter.
(How to Write with Flair: Strong verbs, cool punctuation marks, varied sentence lengths and openings, some garnish, and appeals to your audience. Order the book here: https://www.createspace.com/3471782)
What advice would you offer for writing great Holiday Letters?