Every year around Christmas time, I love getting the mail in the afternoon because it’s the only time of the year where your personal mail might just outnumber the bills. I run to the mailbox, eagerly flipping through until I see those Shutterfly grins peeping at me from underneath a Marco’s pizza flyer. I rip open the red envelopes, wary of glitter (but secretly loving it), and bask in the warm glow of knowing that someone cares enough about me to send a card. Christmas cards are one of the best parts of the season in my opinion, but we are lucky if we receive even one Christmas letter.
Growing up, my dad started a tradition of writing a Christmas letter every December, and it didn’t take long before a fan club had formed for these coveted letters. My love for writing and for the humor I lovingly weave into my stories 100% comes from my father and these letters. Extended family members beg to be sent the letters, and I can’t wait to see how he will cleverly satirize our family’s year -- no one is safe from his sarcastic wit. I fully believe the reason that 2020 has been so terrible is because my dad neglected to write a 2019 Christmas letter for the first time since he started back in the 90’s.
Once I got married, I decided to carry on the burden tradition and write letters of my own. Letters seem to be a dying art form. The world is too busy to take the time to sit down and write, and people are too busy to take a moment to read something that isn’t on social media. I get it; I can barely even find time to decorate my house, let alone make time to write a letter.
I won’t lie. Every year, I inevitably dread writing the letter. It takes precious time away from eating cookie dough and wrapping presents. But it’s a labor of love for me, and that makes it all worth it.
Have you always wanted to send out a Christmas letter, but it seemed too overwhelming and time consuming? Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years to help make it fun AND feasible:
- Once you have gathered a list of people you want to send the letters to, reach out to them for their addresses and keep a running list that you can quickly edit every year. It’s a great excuse to reconnect with your loved ones and maybe some friends you haven’t spoken to in a long time!
** Pro tip – Have your addresses formatted in a label template on Word so you can
print out the labels to put on the envelopes – saves so much time!
- Go through each month and make a list of anything exciting or major that happened to you and your family over the year. Going through your social media posts over the past year is also a great way to remember events that happened. This is such a fun way to relive your year and reflect on the good times.
- Divide your letter into sections. For example – I usually write an intro paragraph, then I devote a paragraph to each family member (yes, including the dog) and then one more paragraph to cover events with extended family and friends. I always try to close on an encouraging note, and with a verse that I feel led to share that applies to the past year.
- You can add a personal touch by writing something to each friend or family member in their card. I love to pray over each card for the loved one I’m sending it to. This is such a precious time for me as I enjoy taking the time to really think about and pray for each person. It really helps bring the season into perspective.
**Pro tip – Get your Christmas cards for next year in the weeks after Christmas. They
will be marked way down, and you won’t have to think about finding some when the
next busy Christmas season rolls around.
- Order your pictures on Walmart.com and then go pick them up when it’s convenient for you! It’s super cheap and fast.
- Get a family member to help you assemble the cards. Put on some Christmas music or a movie, and spend time together to help show your loved ones how truly loved they are.
So, maybe you bake cookies for your neighbors, go caroling, or you make homemade presents for your family and friends. First of all, kudos to you because I would rather write 1,000 letters than make DIY presents for all my family. Everyone has their Christmas “gift” of how they love on others, and mine happens to be Christmas letters.
Do you enjoy receiving Christmas cards and letters? How do you love on people during the holiday season?