As the madness of the holiday season has finally died down, take some time to reflect on your hits and misses of the season and determine what to do different next year. If like many, you were scrambling at the last minute to write your Christmas letter to family and friends, perhaps you’ve vowed to make 2013 different. In order to avoid the writer’s block that arises when you wait until the last minute to begin writing, we recommend to simply plan ahead, way ahead, as in start planning next year’s card right now. Here are four tips for planning your Christmas letter in advance:
Gather Good Examples
Take a break from putting away all of your holiday ornaments, lights and the artificial Christmas tree to look through this year’s holiday cards and letters. Choose your top 10 favorite letters and cards with thoughtful notes to serve as inspiration for next year’s Christmas letter. Nothing helps clear up Christmas letter writer’s block than some topically relevant inspirational words. Online greeting card company BlueMountain.com recommends selecting letters that are positive and upbeat, noting “share some special highlights from the year that might put a smile on the faces of those reading your letter.”
Keep the top 10 cards in a file with your Christmas card address list, so that you can easily reference them when you begin writing next year’s letter. Equally important (and entertaining) will be to gather a few examples of what not to do when writing a Christmas letter, like that four page, single-spaced letter from your cousin.
Preserve Last Year’s Cards
Are some of your favorite cards and letters too pretty to stash away in the filing cabinet? Repurpose them instead! SimpleMom.net contributor Katie Clemons suggests compiling your favorite cards in a stationary journal, such as the Card & Letter Holding Journal from Gadanke, available for $20. Another option is to create a holiday card scrapbook. It makes a great coffee table book during the Christmas season and makes a nice keepsake for your family.
Keep a Running List of the Year’s Highlights
One of the most effective ways to plan next year’s Christmas letter is to begin writing a rough outline now. Designate a spot in your journal or a notepad in the kitchen to jot down the major happenings as they occur. Keep the list in a place that’s easily accessible that you see often so that you don’t forget to add to it. Most likely you’ll have more than enough material by the end of the year and you can trim down the list to include the most important events about you and your family.
Start Gathering Photos Now
Do you send a family photo with your Christmas letter? Are you constantly scrambling at the last minute trying to stage card-worthy photo ops with your kids? Save yourself some stress and frustration and start gathering your favorite photos now so you have ample options.
by Lolly Byron
A DIY mom, Lolly loves sharing her craft and recipe ideas with families and community groups.