Holiday Letter Tips

Have you thought about having your kids write the holiday letter this year? Here’s a list of ways to involve them.

  1. One section per family member (with photo).
    Let your child choose one or two activities that were memorable from last year to talk about in his or her section. Do not simply list all the sports she played or subjects he studied. Pick a memorable moment and write about it with as much panache as can be injected into five or six lines.
  2. Mini newspaper.
    Ask each child to write an article that features a family event from the previous year. Some good candidates are: family vacation, individual successes, new pets, any big change like a move or remodel or new job/school situation, funniest memory with the family, a “spotlight” article on one of the parents or children who achieved something notable (completion of a degree, went on a safari, performed in a community theater production, was promoted…).
  3. Photo Collage
    For younger kids, a photo collage works great. Pick a few representative photos from the year and ask your kids to write the captions. Funny photos make for better newsletters than straight head shots with smiles.
  4. Cartoons and comic strips
    The artistic among you might enjoy making a comic strip that details the events of the year. If you have difficulty drawing likenesses of the characters, you can use color Xeroxing to use photographs with captions in a sequence.
  5. One child writes the whole thing (while you take bubble bath)
    You can always turn the whole project over to one child who will interview family members and then combine the whole into a letter from the entire family. These letters are best written by kids who are early to late teens. Be sure to talk to each person and include quotations!

Turn your kids loose this year.

We wrote a funny family letter that we sent via email last year. In it, I regaled our friends with our average achievements: No one won any tournaments, no child was picked for select sports’ teams, we had no honor students or straight A kids, and we certainly did not buy a new house, get a new car or develop a cure for cancer in our free time!

Then we talked about all the wonderfully ordinary things we do as a family at home 24/7. You might like to do that – share your regular life, the real life with socks in the hallway when company shows up – to give everyone on your list a break from reading what are usually more like family resumes than holiday letters!


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