Writing The Perfect Christmas Card

The Christmas Card: to send or not to send? Old World Christmas is solidly in the “send” camp—Christmas cards spread good cheer and well wishes, as well as family updates and current photos. And who doesn’t love opening a mailbox full of thick, oversized envelopes to see beautiful smiling faces and get caught up with the year’s news? But, sending cards can be hard work. There’s the expense, the work of getting a list together with current names and addresses, organizing a family picture, ordering the cards, stuffing and labeling, and getting to the post office in time for the cards to arrive before Christmas. With everything else during the Christmas season, the card can feel too daunting. 

The Christmas letter can cause a full stop on the whole process. What to write? How much to say? Should it be funny? What if it’s been a hard year? If the Christmas update is intimidating, here are some fool-proof steps toward the perfect Christmas card. 

  1. Start with a greeting. “Season’s Greetings from the Johnsons!” or “Merry Christmas from the Blake Family,” welcome readers to your update and let them know immediately who the letter is from. Keep in mind that a last name should not have an apostrophe. Apostrophes show possession and in this case the Johnson family isn’t possessing anything (other than the memories from all the cool things they did last year). 
  2. Give a short summary of the year. People don’t want a long-winded recap of everything. Don’t go into detail of every port your cruise ship docked at or of how many petunia plants your summer garden contained. Just keep it general, “We had a great year filled with adventure. A cruise through the Panama Canal, a fishing trip to Alaska and a quick trip to San Diego to visit the kids kept us busy and on the go this year.” 
  3. Give a couple more detailed updates. Here’s where the letter can go off the rails. A good rule of thumb is to not include updates for people not pictured. If your granddaughter is the light of your life, give her a mention, but not a paragraph. Remind your readers who people are. “Uncle Rob” might need some context, “Jack’s brother, Uncle Rob, now living in Florida” will remind readers more clearly. Christmas card recipients also don’t need details of specific health updates. “We had some health challenges this year” is preferred to “Jack had a strange rash that developed into enlarged boils that had to be lanced”.
  4. Wind it down with meaning. There might be so much to say, but it’s time to land the plane. A great way to end a letter is with meaning, “We are so thankful for…” or “Though this year had challenges, we still made so many rich memories”.
  5. Sign off. Keep it short and sweet! “With love from” or “Christmas blessings to you and your family this season” does the trick. 

People love to connect, and a Christmas card is the perfect way to do it. Writing an update is the best way to reflect on the year and summarize it for friends and family. Christmas cards provide a snapshot of the year, and are a special keepsake for years to come. 

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Written by

Rachael Mitchell

Rachael Mitchell is a freelance writer based in Seattle, Washington, and has over 15 years of writing experience. She’d never be able to pick just one favorite ornament, but narrowed it down to the S’more and Tennis Ball. She always looks forward to s’mores in the summer with friends and family adding gourmet ingredients, and played 4 years of college tennis in the mid-west.

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