Yes, I do realize it’s only October but now is the time to obsess about my annual holiday letter! A trip to Wal-Mart reminds me that the holidays are rapidly approaching! For years, I’ve sent my letters on or just after Thanksgiving to help simplify my life at Christmas. That’s just a month away!
I have been the primary author of our family letters. I write the letters as much for myself as I do for anyone else. I love to create the letter and consider each of them a part of my family’s history.
I also love receiving these letters, but I do realize not everyone appreciates this particular form of mass communication. Some view them negatively since the stereotypical letter is embellished or exaggerated. Others feel they are impersonal.
My goal has always been to provide our family and friends with an honest account of the previous year. I include the disappointments and losses along with the successes and joys. Over the years, I’ve received many positive comments about my letters. Several people have told me they anticipate my letter as it marks the start of their holiday season!
Several weeks ago, I started the process of jotting down phrases, quotes, facts and events for possible inclusion in our annual letter. I ask myself: “What has made this year unique?” I ask my family members: “What do you remember about the year?”
I am simultaneously thinking of theme or format ideas. Over the years, I have completed many Google searches on the very topic of creative holiday family letters. I’m always looking for new ideas especially when I don’t already have something in mind. Years ago, Family Fun magazine was my favorite source for ideas.
In 2008, I stumbled upon the book, Creative Christmas Letters: that people are actually eager to read by Janet Colbrunn. The book is divided into three sections – list, format and perspective – based on the type of letter. Colbrunn describes the process she uses to create a letter and includes her own examples/templates. You can find the book on her website at http://www.writingcreativechristmasletters.com/. There is also an e-book sequel that I downloaded last year.
In recent years, I have focused on pop culture, news events, social media and technology. Pinterest actually inspired my idea for this year’s letter. It hasn’t been much help before! When the letter is complete, I’ll share it here.
Last year, I selected various songs or podcasts to create a family iPod playlist for the year. My daughter, a graphic design major, created the finished product, Graber Playlist 2012!