We send out Christmas cards each year, sometimes we get them done with enough time for them to be mailed and even arrive by the big day (sometimes I don’t). One thing I wish I had more time to do was actually write a note of some kind along with the card. So, I went looking for some ideas I could use. I wanted something more interesting than the typical newsletter style. Though that can be fun too if you design it like your own zine. A zine is a non-professional (amateur/ indie) magazine, kind of a retro thing.
Anyway, here are the ideas that appeal to me (along with some of my own ideas). I have written this for people with family but these could all work just as well if you are single and have only yourself to talk about (as I am myself).
- Change perspective. Write as if you were someone else. You can go so far as to make it a True Confessions type of thing, telling all the comings and goings as reported by your babysitter or the neighbour across the street with the really big binoculars.
- Pick different characteristics about yourself or each family member and write a list of the geekiest thing I did this year, or the most romantic thing that happened this year, or the most carefully planned and organized thing I did this year, or the most stubborn, the most optimistic, the most creative…
- Write it as if you are a year in the future, or ten years in the future, looking back on this year. I remember that year…
- Make it all up. Go all the way. Put in a note saying it is all fictional at the end or the beginning, if you desire. (Though you may want to not send anything too elaborate to relatives who tend to be gullible or need things explained, slowly).
- Use the alphabet or the letters of a word (Christmas for instance) and write a point about something starting with each letter.
- Write the family news as if it were an ad for something: a new car, laundry soap or a movie coming to a theatre near you! Make it exciting, give it a commercial spin, sell it!
- Write it all as a poem, rhyme it. Or use some style of verse, like haiku. (Haiku may take some thought and planning but it is short to write out if you are working with pen and paper rather than using a printer).
- Give them a test, try a quiz about your family or Christmas itself. See what they know about the old, traditional holiday. Stick in some family news here and there, where it has some relevance to your quiz question.
- Get inspired by Talk Like a Pirate day and write the Christmas card in Pirate speak, in the style of a Borg or some other character from history or fiction.
- Make a top ten list. Go through the family news from the past year and pick out ten things you really want people to know. Turn them into a list. Or be a bit silly and go with something like the top ten things the members of your family don’t want for Christmas, etc.
- Create a timeline of things that have happened in Christmases past in your family and your extended family. Christmas is a nice time to remember things everyone felt happy about in the past.
- Send some heart warming quotes about family, holidays and the good times and things in life. You can even get each family member to think of a quote (their own words).
- Get each family member to pick something that happened in the year past and write about it themselves. Then add all the notes together to go out with the cards.
- Use this as a mass thank you note to family members who have helped you and your family. Give credit for small and big favours in a way that everyone can read about how you appreciate the help given. Let family know if you still need help or not. Or, ask if others need help, pass along the goodwill.
- Personalize each card with a short note. Kind of getting back to the newsletter idea but it does give you a sincere connection to each person you are writing to. Of course, you may only see some of then once a year and not really have much of a personal nature to write about.
- If you have children get them to draw Christmas artwork which can be mailed out with the cards. This is a nice way to get the kids busy and yourself off the hook for writing anything more than “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!” in each card.
- Send a postcard, or print a family photo and send that in the card instead of written contents. You can also do something with scrapbooking, graphic arts or drawing – as long as it will easily fit inside the envelope. Try some mail art on the envelope too.
If nothing on my list really works for you, at least it may give you inspiration for ideas of your own. Let me know what you think of in comments here. You may have just the right idea for someone else.