It's newsletter week. I know this is one of those holiday tasks I could possibly get a jump on in November, but there is something to be said for recapping our year in pictures and words, while sitting in front of a brightly decorated tree with holiday melodies streaming through a crackling fireplace screensaver on our tv! That’s right, now that evergreens are hung and décor is set for the season, it is time to write the annual family Christmas newsletter. With ALL of our family and the majority of our friends living long distance, this is a critical part of catching up we all look forward to each year. Words AND pictures help us 'see' each other grow and go♥️ (we don't all have/use Facebook or Instagram)
As I thumbed through my Christmas binder (have you downloaded my Christmas planner on the Resources page??) I was amazed to see we have been doing an annual correspondence of this nature for 23 years now!!! I’ve always sent cards, but with the advent and ease of computers and printers, and with the addition of each new child to our growing family, sending pictorial updates to relatives and friends across the miles became a beloved necessity (yes, I am old enough to say I had been married a handful of years before Windows OS was released AND affordable)
A few years ago I set out to share, on my old blog, some of our favorites from over the years. So, to inspire my fellow annual newsletter writers out there (and maybe a new generation as well) I thought I would share our top 5 favorite annual updates from years past to get our creative juices flowing!
Monday, December 10, 2018
Christmas Newsletters and Our 5 Faves
17 Stats From 2017
... was an homage to my oldest's university graduation with double majors in business and economics. We re-capped the ups and downs from the year, ranging between graduation travels, book publishing, formal dances, new jobs and my step-dad's cancer diagnosis along with various other in-betweens! It took one page, front + back, and family loved the details!
"The Jones Family 2008 In 150 Words or less!"
... was actually a time and money saver resulting from my husband's lay-off during the recession!! I could fit TWO color copies on ONE page printed from my home computer! Short and sweet, it garnered many emails and phone calls from family I hadn't heard from in years. They were desperate for more details and I loved the unexpected opportunity to catch-up!! We broke the updates down by family member and included a favorite picture from the year of each of the kids.
Top 20 of... (year)
Inspired by popular Late-night T.V. lists of the time, we highlighted highs and lows from the year. Similar to the 17 Stats from 2017, but different in that the top 20 list was more incremental; building to big praises from the year. It took one page, front + back and included updated pictures of the kids.
The 12 Months of Christmas
My personal favorite as we looked back at the year with the focus on pictures captioned with brief descriptions. This letter took just ONE page (front only) and really helped all of our long distance family SEE life from the past year. I ordered copies from the printers in quality gray scale (a small handful of color prints for grandparents, aunts and uncles) since the heavy picture load didn't print well at home (and likely cost less in ink from a printer!)
"The Jones Family By the Numbers..."
This was an all-time extended family fave. Years after it's issue I had relatives tell me how they STILL had their double-sided bookmark style family update tucked into favorite books/Bibles to this day!! The idea was found in a Family Fun magazine article. I don't remember if it was originally a 2-sided bookmark but that is what I went with (pictures on one side, stats on the other)! I printed them on my home printer using card stock. I think I fit 4 on a page and used a paper-cutter to separate them. Each was mailed in regular letter envelopes with Christmas Greetings.
Each year since (and including) 2018 when the above post first released, has seen newsletters we love more and more. I keep them in my binder as a beautiful record of Christmases past.
As kids grow…
Even once my kiddos have graduated and moved on, we still include recent pictures and stats, as well as tidbits from the year here on the home-front. Just because our children grow up, doesn’t mean our extended family suddenly doesn’t care what and how they (and we) are doing! I still receive notes from our loved ones thanking me for these communications. Taking the time to reach out often prompts penned updates in response to our own which we often welcome the arrival of even into the New Year!
How are you doing (or have you done) your newsletter this year? What has been your favorite family Christmas newsletter from the years?
Merry Christmas Blessings,