In the spirit of improving upon the annual Christmas letter many of us send each year with our Christmas cards, we recently blogged about a kind of intervention for those sometimes boastful, over-the-top letters. The push was to focus letter writers on being natural, humble and short. Another idea that would boost your letter’s sincerity and authenticity: get your children to contribute to the family Christmas letter in their own words.
Start with Your Writers Children’s own thoughts and unique experiences, written in their own uniquely chosen words, could produce an authentic letter that would delight friends and family. This idea works best for kids of reading and writing age, starting as young as first grade and going on up through college. (Admittedly, the high school senior or college student who is willing to do this may be the exception.)
With a little direction and a lot of emphasis on the spirit of the season, provide certain ideas to help them focus their topics. Try telling them to think about the following questions, and direct them to just write a sentence or two in response:
- What was something that brought you great joy or made you feel very thankful this year? (this is a good alternative to the more self-centered “something you accomplished” statement)
- What is something you hope to change or do in the New Year? (e.g. a personal goal)
- Was there something very special that happened to someone in your family this year? (This is a great way to talk about accomplishments or achievements worth sharing, but it’s done in a way that shows consideration among family.)
Even the Littlest Ones Have Something to Say If you have younger ones who aren’t writing yet, you can easily adapt the letter writing to accomodate them by transcribing their spoken words to paper. Have some fun with this by phonetically spelling their unique pronunciations in the letter. For example, let Christmas be “Krickmas” or Santa Claus be “Santie Craws” if that’s how they say it. Simple ideas work best here. Use the ideas from their holiday preschool work as source material, for example:
- All I want for Christmas is ________
- When I meet Santa I will ask him ________
- I will leave __________ for Santa and his reindeer
Rotating Writers Another approach that can work well is to have one family member write the entire letter each year. This lets everyone take a turn playing author and can infuse your annual letters with a lot of personality. One of our personal favorites is such a letter. This letter arrives each year from a family we’ve watched grow in size over the years. Their four children now range in ages from six to sixteen. While the six year old is not yet a Christmas letter author, the oldest two have taken their turns as Christmas letter authors as a sort of rite of passage. To do it well, I would follow these tips observed in their letters:
- Set up the idea about rotating authors in the letter by writing a brief introduction of your author.
- Retain some control by providing your author-at-large with a few guiding topics.
- Always emphasize the need to keep in the mind the spirit of the season when writing.
If you have any thoughts you’d like to share about letting your little authors write your Christmas letter, please comment on this post! For a peek at our growing collection of Christmas cards, including customizable photo Christmas cards, visit looklovesend.com. Subscribe today by clicking on the Join Now button below and receive 20% off your first order with us!