Ideas for Writing Christmas Cards

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.

Sentimental Things to Sign on Christmas Cards

After the first couple of Christmas cards you write it gets harder to find something different to say in each one. You can write a bit of news, a bit of something happening but you still need that bit to transition from the news to the part when you sign your name. Here are some to keep you going:

  • Enjoy the Holidays, the calories will count themselves.
  • May your Holidays begin and end on a happy note
  • Keep your family close the Holiday Season
  • The presents are wrapped, shopping is done, now just have some Holiday fun
  • Find your real meaning of Christmas’
  • Health, wealth and happiness all year long
  • Welcome the Season with the people you love most
  • Put your worries aside and welcome the Christmas Spirit with your whole heart
  • May Santa bring you everything you want and nothing you deserve.
  • Keep the Holiday Spirit for the whole New Year
  • Sing all the Christmas Carols, Loud and Proud
  • Keep yourself warm and toasty all Season long
  • God Bless us everyone
  • Be merry and bright!
  • Get your Christmas tree up if you haven’t already
  • Leave Santa extra chocolate for the reindeer
  • Even Santa isn’t perfect
  • Keep your hot chocolate warm
  • Celebrate the Season
  • Enjoy every sparkle and twinkle this Season
  • Enjoy The magic of the Season
  • Holiday Greetings
  • Keep the joy all year
  • Merry Yule to you and yours
  • May your heart be light
  • Bright Blessings
  • Wishing you peace, love and joy
  • Wishing you happiness this Season
  • Christmas blessings to you
  • Celebrate the Spirit of Christmas
  • Laughter, love and Holiday cheer
  • Have a wonderful Holiday Season
  • Sparkle through the Season
  • Christmas cookies to you!

Write a few of your own. Try to have a variety of syrupy sweet, sentimental and a bit of humour too.

Five Things to Do with your Digital Camera

Guest post from Canon. (Note, this is not a paid post, I was asked to post it but and decided I would after reading the content).

Five Things To Do With Your Digital Camera

With the compact size and portability, it’s great to be able to take your digital camera wherever you go. And while it’s always fun to take snaps of your friends, family and all the places you’ve travelled to, there are plenty of practical and fun ways to use your digital camera. Whether it’s a trusty DSLR or compact digital camera, here are 5 of the most practical uses for your digital camera that you may not have considered.

1. Log your inspiration – imitation is the highest form of flattery and when we’re out and about, we can often be hit with a moment of inspiration. Take note of tiles, wallpaper, kitchen sinks, bedroom carpets, bathroom layouts that you’ve seen for ideas for your own DIY home improvement project. Does your mate fancy herself a bit of a gourmet foodie? Re-create some of the best dishes by snapping some photos of each stage of preparation. Just be sure to give credit to the original chef!

2. Better to be safe than sorry – if you’re ever caught in a minor accident with another vehicle your camera can help get a physical record of the damage. That way when the other driver claims you knocked their front bumper off, you have evidence to the contrary.

3. Forget-me-not – bad memory? Let your camera do all the remembering for you. If you’ve recently hosted a big party, wedding or other event, take a photo of each gift along with the card that came with it. By the time you get around to writing thank- you notes, you’ll remember who gave which gift.

4. The photo diaries – keep creative photo journals over a long period of time. It’s as simple as snapping a shot of your neighbourhood skyline every day or following your best friend’s moustache-growing progress during ‘Movember’. Or document a child’s artwork and progress through class. With printers and video editing equipment, you can turn these images into unique time capsules or even a gift.

5. Work hard, study harder – If you’re on the way to give an important presentation or to sit an exam, use your compact digital camera to take photos of important pages of information to review them on the way. This saves you needing to carry all of your summary notes or and heavy textbooks around with you.

What do you do with your camera?

Article Bio:

This article is brought to you by Canon Australia – 5 Things to do with your camera. For more great Canon SLR digital cameras and compact digital cameras, visit their website.

An Ear Believer

Quote from Meredith Sue Willis, on her Resources for Writers page:

Grace Paley once said in an interview, “I’m an ear believer–I think the ear is smarter than the eye. The experience of reading your work aloud in a class carries you back to that original impulse, ‘I want to tell you something.’ ‘What did you want to tell me? Tell me.’ When you tell a story, it’s your voice telling a story. You really can hear what’s wrong with it. People think you can just sort of smear over it, but that’s not true. What I’m trying to do is to remind students they have two ears. One is the ear that listens to their own ordinary life, their family and the street they live on, and the other is the tradition of English literature.”

I find reading your writing out loud makes a difference too. You can hear things with your ear that you don’t pick up by just proofreading with your eyes alone.

Hope Waits to be Born in Unlikely Places

I especially like the first line of this sentimental poem which came on the backing of a butterfuly lapel pin which I will give to my niece. She will lose it and forget all about it as soon as the butterfly leaves her hand. That is how they seem to be about things. I mainly bought it so I could bring those words home with me. I read them last week but could not remember how it went by the time I got home again. So, this time I have them right from the source.

Butterfly Kiss of Hope

Never give up on hope, for hope waits to be born in unlikely places.
Hope is everywhere, you’ll find it in the flowers, in the air,
It’s delivered to you by butterflies wearing different faces,
When one softly brushes your cheek with a kiss, you’ll know it’s there.

J. Hinkle, Thoughtful Angels… and Friends.

I’ve come to think that hope is one of the most important things. Even more important than love or compassion. Without hope you can’t find anything else that could be good in your life. Once you have love, success, family, friends, etc you don’t need to hope for them.

If you have a favourite quote about hope add it to comments here. I’d like to read more.

Why Do Zombies Eat?

What is it about zombies that has them becoming so popular. It’s not my thing. I think they are just too creepy and gross to have any feeling of affection for them. Originally, I think, they were reanimated corpses used by Voodoo Priestesses. They were controlled by the Priestess and did not attack or seek out people to attack and eat. They had no mind of their own, to think enough to look for food. They would fall apart gradually as they were no longer alive. Being dead they ceased to have need to eat and replenish their body with food in order to heal and regenerate cells. Zombies eating anything is backwards, not logical.

My sister, my nephew and my ex-husband all went on Zombie Walks this year, different locations.

Canadian Zombies

Zombie Walk: Canadian Forum

Toronto Zombie Walk

Write about a zombie who lives next door to you. Usually a quiet family type guy. At one point you think he owned a dog… What is his story and how do things turn out for him?

Happy Thanksgiving in Canada

I’m slacking off a bit today. Actually, I’m slacking off a bit on Sunday which will be yesterday when this posts to the blog. I have done the baking, the cooking and the clean up. Just need to pack it all into the car to take with us to my brother’s house this year. We made pumpkin pies, dinner rolls from scratch, apple pies (which we made earlier as frozen and took up there already), and I made a Turtle cheesecake for my sister’s birthday which is just two days away from Thanksgiving (so we are thankful for her as well).  Anyway, by Monday it will all be over, eaten and cleaned up again. Just the left overs remain and the pot of soup stock.

Thanksgiving hasn’t been one of my favourite holidays for awhile. Too much work. Too much family. Too much old history. Too much blame game. Too much food. Too much clean up. I do like not having it at our house any more. I hope this is a tradition that lasts. Even though we made what feels like half the dinner (but actually isn’t) we are at least not hosting it this year. There will be a ton of stuff to load into the car when it is done though. Not the pies. I don’t really like pumpkin pies and the apple pies… we still have more than half a bushel of apples here to make more. There will be serving dishes and serving things which we sent on ahead. The tablecloth we offered for them to keep. So, maybe not that much coming back after all.

It is nice not having it here. A bit less expected of you when you are a guest versus a host. Write about what you think about Thanksgiving, really.When you aren’t writing to impress anyone in particular and you know your family and friends won’t read it and think any less or more of you, what does Thanks giving mean to you? I think it strongly depends on how much you take part in the preparations and how many days ahead you start. Do you ever feel a bit annoyed/ jealous of those who just come for the dinner and then go on about how much they ate and how full they are while they pack themselves onto a chair in front of the TV?

Rewilding: An Education in Food

Foraging for wild food isn’t new, the early pioneers did it and people were foraging for food all through the history of mankind. It is just new to us, in this day and age, where the local supermarket has everything from diaper wipes to lettuce imported from China. Our ancestors had the knowledge about wild foods which we lack. I don’t know what will happen with our good old planet Earth but it seems that a know-how of wild plants would be a good thing for us all, even in North America where food is so easy to find in grocery stores and restaurants.

Rewilding is about living within our means, not in dollars but in sense, in keeping with the resources we have and maintaining/ building a lifestyle that won’t strip our planet bare.

Green Anarchist: Rewilding

World Changing: Rewilding Canada

CBC.ca: Go Wild!

Canadian Living: Wild Greens: How to forage in your own backyard for edibles.

Treehugger: Food Foraging: Gourmet Food Hunting

Little City Farm

We are an urban homesteading family trying to live simply and sustainably in a mid-sized city in southwestern Ontario. We aim to provide many of our basic needs (food, water, shelter, energy, transportation) while reducing our impact on the environment.

City Farmer News

ForageSF was conceived of by Iso Rabins in early 2008, with the mission to connect Bay Area dwellers with the wild food that is all around them.

Feral Kevin – Foraging, bushcraft, permaculture and rewilding.

Urban Scout – “Over a decade ago I began to realize that the agrarian civilized lifestyle would not reach a point of sustainability. The more I studied hunter-gatherers, the more intriuged I became as to how they lived in such an egalitarian, sustainable manner. I decided to make it my life goal to live as a hunter-gatherer. I call this process rewilding”. Note, Urban Scout also has a rewilding forum.

Plants for a Future – is a resource centre for rare and unusual plants, particularly those which have edible, medicinal or other uses. We practise vegan-organic permaculture with emphasis on creating an ecologically sustainable environment based largely on perennial plants.

Wikiepedia: Freeganism

Could you find something to eat (something safely edible) in your own backyard, or some place like a park near your home? Give it a try. Write about your experience and, especially, write about any recipe you try with your wild food.

I Read it in Reader’s

As read in an old Reader’s Digest while waiting somewhere:

My husband was a university student, and money was tight for our family of seven. We were attending a friend’s wedding and our four-year-old daughter, Christy, was sitting next to me.

When the minister asked, “Do you take this man for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health?” our daughter turned to me and said in a loud whisper, “You picked ‘poorer’, didn’t you, Mom?”

Communication is so easily misunderstood. Sometimes it is something to laugh at, but not always. A small change in punctuation in the written word can mean a lot. In spoken language we have more to rely on with body language and tone and yet it is easier to mis-hear the words or give them our own interpretation with “select hearing” and other human failings.