The Gracious Girl’s Guide to Holidays: Looking at Letters

by Mindy Lockard on November 8, 2010


 Get out your letter-opener girls, today we’re talking Holiday Letters!  Holiday Letters are a great way to keep up with those friends and family that we don’t see on a daily basis or might not be on the facebook front.

Where manners and our Holiday Cards are concerned, it’s like my mom has always says…

“It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

So, Join Me As We Look at Holiday Letters:

Have a plan. Holiday letters arrive from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. When you send out your letter is entirely up to you and your schedule. Some like to get it out early so they aren’t reminded every day the mail arrives that they have yet to send a holiday greeting. Others like to wait until the New Year when the hustle and bustle of the holidays has subsided. Keep in mind that we send cards to extend holiday cheer, not to race or compete with our friends and loved ones. Each card and its timing are unique to the family!

Organization and Creativity are Key! Pick a theme to keep your reader engaged and your writing focused. A theme will also help you eliminate topics that are exciting but not relevant. Themes don’t have to be over the top. Here are a few examples:

Season’s Greetings: Feature the top adventure from all four seasons.
Family Update: Focus on a major happening from each family member.
Our Favorite Things: Highlight your top five events from 2010.

Next, create an outline. I’m not kidding: an outline is the perfect place to start when drafting a holiday letter, so take a journey back to junior high and revisit our friends the Roman numerals. It will help you focus your ideas and keep your readers focused on your letter.

 Keep it Short and Sweet. With a twelve days of Christmas theme, you risk losing your readership at “seven swans a-swimming.” Remember that your letter will not arrive alone. It will be accompanied by many other letters and cards. If you choose a theme, break it into a maximum of five highlights, and devote no more than a few sentences to each item or event. Where holiday letters are concerned, one page of sharing is enough, two is considered a bit much, and three outright bragging!

Quick question? Has keeping up with friends and family on social media changed how or if you send a family Holiday Card or Letter?  Do you think it should?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Chastity 11.08.10 at 5:55 am

I think an outline is a great idea. We send out holiday photo cards, but I enjoy reading the letters we are sent. One reminder, do not write in your card that your adult son is looking for a wife it may embarrass him, but it does give everyone else something to talk about.

Have a happy, holiday season!

Mindy Lockard 11.08.10 at 6:56 am

Chastity, We send photo cards too. Thanks for the reminder about not turning a Holiday Letter into a Personal Ad. Good advice!

Stephanie @ The Brunette Foodie 11.08.10 at 7:26 am

We are doing a photo card this year since we have Samuel now. Short & sweet.

If writing a letter, do not brag. My parents get a letter from a family with whom they used to be good friends that is ridiculous. “This year we bought daughter an Escalade for her 16th birthday & she flew on her dad’s work’s private jet to Vegas!” It actually said that sentence {or close} last year. Horrible.

Amy 11.08.10 at 8:07 am

I think that social media has completely changed how we communicate with one another. I am a firm believer in letter writing, not only because it builds relationship but it also is a piece of history. We have a window in to a person’s personality by seeing their writing and their choice of stationary. I also enjoy reading hand written recipe cards. They are a great family heirloom.

Mindy Lockard 11.08.10 at 9:43 am

Amy I love this thought! I couldn’t agree more. I can’t say that I’ve ever tucked away an e-mail or facebook post that touched me. But a handwritten letter? I have a shoe box full! It is a window into a personality and a connection between souls!

Kate Holmes 11.08.10 at 2:13 pm

Yes! Thank you! Great suggestions and guidelines. I have my photo cards ready to go. My stamps have arrived. Now for the outline.

Mindy Lockard 11.08.10 at 11:34 pm

I’m happy to help Kate! I too just decided on our photo today and met my friend who is also has her own business designing cards. My goal is to have them ready by Thanksgiving! Thanks for the reminder to order stamps. It’s a key player in the process, no?

Joanne Peterson 11.17.10 at 3:20 pm

Mindy– I shared this with girls at work the other day. Very useful!

Mindy Lockard 11.18.10 at 5:28 am

Thank you for sharing Joanne and for stopping by!

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