Here’s an example of how to turn the events of your year into a story. This is one of four actual Christmas letters sent out by the Howard family of California. Each year, their holiday update would include a very short story that would usually feature characters from the North Pole learning about things the family had done during the year. The 2003 letter is printed below. To see other Christmas letter examples from this writer, click one of the years below.
Christmas Letter Examples
Howard Family Christmas Letter 2003 – The Stolen Naughty and Nice List
It was lunch time at the North Pole. Moe and Joe Jingle, two elves from the Nintendo division, slipped outside the toy factory and quietly raced behind the reindeer barn.
“You got it?” Joe asked. Moe pulled out a sheaf of papers and smiled slyly. “Yep,” he said. “Got it.” They huddled together as Moe unfolded the papers.
“So who are we reading about today?” Joe asked anxiously, trying to peer over Moe’s shoulder. Santa had never installed satellite TV at the North Pole, which meant entertainment was mainly limited to watching reindeer games and playing hockey. Joe and Moe were tired of both. So the two had hacked into Santa’s recently computerized “Naughty and Nice” list to read about the lives of the faraway people who awaited the red-suited gentleman’s visit every year.
“Let’s see. Today we’ve got… some folks from California,” Moe said.
“California! Wow! They’ve got sun there!” Joe said. Joe’s dream was to live in a sunny place. “I bet this one’s gonna be good. They’ve got surfing and oceans and Hollywood actors who become governors. Does it look interesting?”
Moe’s eyes skimmed the paper. “Sorry. No surfer dudes. No Hollywood actors. Just a three-year-old little boy and his parents.”
Joe’s face fell. “Well, might as well read it anyway. We don’t have anything better to do.” He leaned against the reindeer barn and stuck his tongue out to catch the snowflakes that had started falling.
“Let’s see,” Moe said. “Cayne, Lisa and Chase are their names. Sounds like they lead a pretty normal life. Chase just turned three this year. Chase has a few marks in the Naughty column due to intermittent three-year-old naughtiness, but he still got a Nice rating.”
“What about the parents?” Joe said. He had moved away from the building and was now leaning this way and that with his tongue out as he maneuvered to catch the falling snow.
“They’re also on the Nice list.”
“Darn. Nice people are always so boring,” he said.
“Well, it’s not all bad. Says here that they took a few trips this year – camping in Big Sur and northern California, a trip to Seattle and the San Juan Islands to see family, and a visit to Montreal when Lisa had a business trip. That was Chase’s first trip out of the country. He had to get a passport.”
“Hey, that’s cool — a three-year-old with a passport. I’ve never even been away from the North Pole,” he said wistfully. “But I bet Montreal isn’t much warmer than here. What else?”
Moe’s eyes continued down the page. “They were also on TV this year. Cayne, Lisa, and Chase were on the evening news during a Dr. Dean Edell segment. It aired in November.”
“There’s also a whole section here about ‘first’ things Chase did. In addition to taking his first trip outside the country, he learned to ride a bike with training wheels and went to his first dentist visit.” Moe smiled. “Looks like Santa almost put him on the Naughty list that time because he cried when the dentist looked at his teeth, but he was smiling by the time they left. He also got his first driver’s license…”
“What?! Three-year-olds can drive now?” Joe yelled, forgetting all about catching snow on his tongue. “Santa won’t even let me take the sleigh for a practice ride!”
“Calm down, calm down,” Moe said, motioning with his hand. “It was just a license from Autopia at Disneyland. They went there for a week over Thanksgiving with their families – Lisa’s dad, brother, sister, and their families came down early in the week, and then Cayne’s family came down at the end of the week. It says here that Chase loved the Tea Cups, the Matterhorn, and the Haunted Mansion. He wanted to go on all of them again. In fact, Santa has a note here that Lisa gets extra Nice points for taking the kids on the tea cup ride six times.”
“Six times? Wow, that must have made her dizzy,” Joe said. He was back to his snowflake catching. ”I guess these people aren’t as boring as I feared.” He leaned his head way back to catch a snowflake and his green elf hat fall into the snow with a soft jingle from the bell on top. “What else?”
“Chase took swimming lessons during the summer. That was a first, too. He loved it. In fact, he even enjoys going under the water. He actually likes to hold his breath. And Cayne has been doing water aerobics five days a week at 24Hour Fitness, which she really enjoys. She’s made a lot of friends.
“Water aerobics…” Joe sighed. “I wish we had a pool here.”
Moe continued reading. “Oh, no. It says they lost their cat, Kimba, this year,” he said. “They put up flyers all over town and checked the shelters for weeks, but they never heard a word. Then, in a weird, chance meeting, they met a woman who worked at an emergency animal clinic. She said she was pretty sure their cat had been brought in by a nice family who had found him wandering. Unfortunately, he had a urinary blockage and they couldn’t save him. But at least they know what happened to him.”
“Gee, that’s too bad,” Joe said. He stopped catching snowflakes long enough to look appropriately mournful.
“But they also got some new critters, it says,” Moe continued. “They’re on the Naughty list. Callie, their new kitten, who was a stray whose owner they couldn’t find, is on the Naughty list for always trying to get Chase’s new pet fish, Beta. Chase has loved fish ever since he saw ‘Finding Nemo.’” Moe smiled again. “And Cayne and Lisa get extra Nice points for completely indulging him and taking him to see the movie 5 times!! He absolutely loved it. In fact, that was the theme for his third birthday party.”
“But, uh-oh. Looks like Zoey, their dog, is also on the Naughty list for chewing everything in sight. According to Santa’s notes, she’s a real sweetie, but she has chewed the cover for the BBQ grill twice, as well as tubing for the drip irrigation system and numerous other items. And she is on the Naughty list simply for being too big for her exuberant puppy energy. It says Chase loves her, but Zoey gets in trouble a lot because she knocks him down in her excitement.”
Joe took a break from trying to catch snowflakes and looked at his watch. “Hey, we better get something to eat before we get back to the toy factory. Anything else before we grab some grub?”
Moe skimmed the list. “Well, it says Lisa’s company laid off a bunch of people at the end of the year after MSN canceled their contract. She lost eight of the 13 people on her team, but she’s okay for now and looking for another job in case the company goes under.”
Joe swiped at one more snowflake with his tongue. “Think you can get another one tomorrow?”
“Sure. No problem. Santa will never know.” He and Joe turned and headed off to the cafeteria to get lunch.
They never even saw the man in the red suit who was quietly adding names to his Naughty list.
Merry Christmas and best wishes for a great 2004!