How to Write an Engaging Holiday Letter

By Megan Morrow
Published November 29, 2018


We have all received them…the holiday letters that brag endlessly about perfect children and vacations, or those that seem to recite every detail of a family’s itinerary during the past 365 days. Likewise, you have probably opened many letters that made you laugh or smile, reflect or wonder.

According to the U.S. Postal Service, 3.4 billion letters will be mailed during the holidays. If you are among the billions, how can you craft a letter that stands out and gets read?

While the perfect holiday letter is not always easy, it can be fun to write and rewarding to read. Consider the following as you sit down to share your musings on the year with friends and family:

  • Be yourself. If you are known for your wit and candor, a stuffy, formal letter just will not do. If you are bonkers about your pets, but fail to mention them, that will also be noticed. As in life, it pays to be yourself and write in your own voice.
  • Start out on a positive note. Even if the weather is terrible or you are feeling a little “bah humbug”, launching your holiday letter on a bright note sets the tone for a read to which others will look forward. The opening can be as simple as “We always look forward to hearing from you at this time of year” or “December always reminds me of special family memories”.
  • Inform; do not brag. Even if you had the best year of your life, no one wants to feel as if their world pales in comparison. Certainly, share the news of a promotion, wedding or wonderful trip, but keep it simple with a fun anecdote and leave the nitty-gritty glossy details for another time.
  • Shorter is sweeter. Generally, holiday letters can be expressed in one page or less. Share the highlights of your year, a story or two, and your wishes for a wonderful 2019. You can save the moment-by-moment description of your last trip or your recent surgery for more personal get-togethers.
  • Be judicious when it comes to bad news. While people do care and do want to know about health issues, deaths in the family, divorces or other challenges, a holiday letter is generally not the best venue for sharing this news. You may include a mention of the issue without going into great detail. It is likely that most of your close friends and family are already aware of what is taking place.
  • Add a few photos. Everyone enjoys a pictorial rendition of your year and pictures can help illustrate your words, bringing personality and color to the page. If you send a more polished or formal holiday card, you might include some more candid shots in the letter.

Finally, consider your audience. If you are not close friends with business associates or colleagues, you should not send them a personal letter that details the ins and outs of your family’s ventures over the past year. If you have the energy after writing and printing letters, it is always nice to sign them individually.

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The material presented here is for information purposes only and is not to be considered an offer to buy or sell any security. This report was prepared from sources believed to be reliable but it is not guaranteed as to accuracy and it is not a complete summary of statement of all available data. Information and opinions are current up to the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The purchase and sale of securities should be conducted on an individual basis considering the risk tolerance and investment objective of each investor and with the advice and counsel of a professional advisor. The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.

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