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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How to Write a Holiday Newsletter, The Personal Side of Christmas

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Christmas is a wonderful time of year. For some it is very religious. For others it is filled with magic. For many, however, Christmas can be filled with tension and anxiety. The shopping at the Malls can be absolutely exhausting. Writing Christmas cards to people we can barely remember often seems like a drudge. And the Newsletter? What do I say?

Do you find yourself dreading the Christmas season? Does the thought of shopping for cards and sending handwritten messages make your hands sweat? How does one keep things personal, without getting writer's cramp? What do you say to each and every recipient in every single card? Perhaps now is the time to organize your thoughts, and keep in touch through a Christmas Newsletter.

A Christmas Newsletter can be a wonderful experience, and it is a way for others to know what is happening in your life, and in the lives of your family. However, a Christmas Newsletter can also embrace the recipients, as you include your feelings about them. This can be generalized, yet still remain personal. You don't have to give names or try to fit too much on one page. Here are some basic rules for writing a newsletter:

  • Be brief. For a Christmas Newsletter to be welcome, you don't want to bore people with pages and pages. Stick to one page of information. If you want to include pictures, keep the Newsletter to two pages. If you find yourself going on and on, remember, a good edit is a writer's best friend.
  • Be humble. "Look what I did!" or "Look how smart my kids are" is bragging, and no one likes a braggart. Celebrate your life with thanksgiving. Remember for every success, there has been someone along the way who has encouraged and inspired you. You couldn't have done it without them. Say so. Some good examples of a thankful message might be: "I feel blessed to have received a promotion." Or "thankfully, Johnnie has successfully completed his first semester at college."
  • Include the reader. Yes you can do that without mentioning names. For example, "it is so wonderful to have the family gathered together again. Wish you were here." Another inclusive example could be: "It's great to have our family gathered; however Christmas is not the same without you." Nothing warms the heart of your reader like knowing he or she is missed.
  • Get in touch with your feelings. Think about each person who has blessed your life. If they have not been a blessing, then why are you including them? Do not stir the pot of discontent. I'm a firm believer that Newsletters should be sent only to those who mean something to you or perhaps to someone who really needs a friend.
  • Include a brief personal message. Nothing says "I care about you," quite like something personal. Write in pen, at the top, "John" or "Dear Sara." And at the end include a personal line, such as, "John, I miss you, especially at Christmas," or "Sara, I still have that lovely needlepoint you gave to me. I miss you more than ever."

Few people enjoy the expensive Christmas card with a typed signature, even if it is printed in gold. A Christmas Newsletter needs to be an invitation of two hearts to be joined as one. So give it all you've got, and do some planning. This is your opportunity to share a blessed celebration of the year. Don't let time and distance stand in your way.



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