- Get together and write a list of what everyone wants to do – decide what is really important, and if possible prioritise
- Make a list of who needs to see who – particularly important with extended stepfamilies.
- Use a calendar – make a note of which family members are doing what and when.
- Schedule in some time to recharge your own batteries – if you’re well rested you’ll be able to enjoy your family more.
- Don’t try and do everything yourself – make a list of jobs which need to be done and allocate them between the whole family.
- Don’t try and keep everyone happy all the time – you’ll collapse under the pressure.
- If this is your first Christmas as a stepfamily your child may feel confused and maybe even angry – try to allocate some time that you can spend alone together to reassure them that your love for them has not changed.
- Adults don’t have to enjoy being with children all the time – allow some time for you to be alone with your partner, other family members or friends.
- Don’t assume that everyone else is having a wonderful time – everyone else is muddling through just like you, so try not to put pressure on yourself.
A couple of weeks ago, I posted a piece on ending Christmas slowly. I like the idea of stretching the celebration of Christmas through the full twelve days. Over the next days, I am going to post some ideas for celebrating using the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as a guide.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two turtle doves.
Turtle Doves form strong pair bonds and therefore have been used to symbolize love. On the second day of Christmas, make a date with someone you love. Whether spouse or significant other, family or friend, do something special together.
- Go for a walk.
- Meet for coffee
- Have dinner at a special restaurant
- Take in a movie
- Invite them for a home-cooked dinner
There are lots of options. Make a special time for just the two of you.
Regardless of what you think of them, family Christmas letters have become a part of our culture. Here are some tips on how to write Christmas letters the recipients will enjoy.
1. Start off on a positive note.
It’s a trend you can count on. The bulk of holiday letters begin with a sentence like this: “I can’t believe the year has come and gone so quickly!” Look for something more original and positive to start the letter.
Try openers like, “One of the blessings of this time of year is the chance it gives me to connect with you, my friends and family.” or “We’ve had a happy, busy year here in the Smith household!” Even a stock “Holiday greetings from the Young family!” is a better opener than the traditional plaintive cry about the passage of time.
2 Be yourself. Write in your own voice.
Too often, holiday letters show symptoms of “writer-itis”: big words, inflated sentences, piled-up adjectives. Friends and neighbors don’t want to hear from Edward Bulwer Lytton, they want to hear from you. Use your own voice, and write as you speak. You’ll bring a breath of fresh air–and a happy echo of your own personality–to your letter.
This is the cardinal rule of holiday letter writing. Write like you speak. Your letter should sound like you wrote it, not like it was penned by your seventh grade English teacher.
3 Don’t exaggerate or brag.
If something good happened to you and your family, announce it, but keep it low-key. Readers don’t enjoy gloating. Remember when you played sports in school and had to shake hands with the losing team after winning a great victory? Keep that image in mind while announcing your latest victories.
4 Be creative.
Your Christmas letter doesn’t have to be a long narrative of everything that happened to your family this year. Be creative. Use bullet points, create a puzzle, or turn it into a multiple-choice quiz. Ask each family member for a list of five things they would like to share about themselves in this year’s familyChristmas letter. You may be surprised by what they choose, but their choices will add personality to your letter.
5 Add colour.
Holiday letters are easier and more fun to read when you spice them up with family photos, Christmasclip art, or other images (such as scanned children’s artwork). People love to see photos. Make sure you include pics of the adults and not just kids.
6 Have fun.
Remember that the goal of your annual Christmas letter should be to entertain and inform the recipients. If you don’t have fun writing it, your recipients probably won’t enjoy reading it.
7 Read it out loud.
Have you succeeded in writing an informative, entertaining holiday letter? Read it out loud, or have someone else read it to you. If it doesn’t sound right, go back and revise it.
8 Personalize the letter.
Before sending the letter, personalize each one with a couple of handwritten lines at the bottom of each letter. This adds a personal touch leaving your readers feeling good.
- The Ubiquitous Christmas Letter (tangledpasta.net)
- Christmas Cards & Letters (kwilkids.net)
- 3 Ways to Write a Great Christmas Letter (orgjunkie.com)
- 3 Tips on How to Write the Perfect Christmas Letter (kindnotes.com)