Selecting what to include, typing, proofing, printing, addressing, and mailing; the tasks involved in getting your family's annual Christmas letter sent out can be overwhelming during the busy season. This year, give yourself a break and have a little fun with the job.

1. Change it up.

  • Make yours the annual update everybody wants to read. Write significant events as if you were tweeting or posting a Facebook status.
     
  • Write the letter from the perspective of one of the children, or even the family pet. Alternate the perspective each year as you go around the family.
     
  • For paper letters, let young children sign their own names (however they can), and add cartoon-sized artwork in the margins. Older children could write a paragraph of their own and include what they want to share.
     
  • Write it like a newsletter or story.

2. Make the letter-writing task easier.

  • Write it and send it out as an email along with a digital photo of your family. Do not forget to use the BCC (blind carbon copy) option on your email program so you will not inadvertently reveal email addresses.
     
  • If you do it the old-fashioned way, and your children are old enough to help, use the assembly-line approach when folding the paper, licking the envelopes, writing the addresses, and putting on the stamps. Just turn on the Christmas music and have a great time!
     
  • If you are on Facebook, consider using the "Notes" option to post your annual update. Then, let friends know it is available via couple of status updates.

 

* For those friends and family members you know of who do not have email, computer access, or who don't use social media sites, go ahead and send them a photo and card. Your addressing, stamping, and mailing will be greatly reduced, but family and friends on your list will still get your news.

3. Move the task to the New Year.

  • Shopping, cooking, gift-wrapping, traveling, partying, hosting family; December is busy enough without adding one more thing. Write a "Happy New Year" letter, updating friends and family on the things that happened to you the year before.

4. Skip it.

  • If composing a Christmas letter — any kind at all — adds too much stress to your holiday season, take a year off, or stop it altogether. That's what family blogs and Facebook are for, right?

 

Additional resources:

"Seven Tips for Sparkling Christmas Letters" at Organized Christmas contains great suggestions for writing a winning letter.

Blog.Christmaslettertips.com has several unique ideas for sprucing up family news, including a Top Ten list and a simple photo layout highlighting the year's significant events.