How to write a Christmas Letter (or a Round Robin!)
In the UK we don't do Christmas Letters, we do Round Robins and the problem with Round Robins is that most people dread reading and writing them. There is something about letting others know about the good that has happened that makes us feel odd, as if we are gloating or rubbing others noses in our "perfect" lives. There is one particular branch of my extended family that send out a letter each year, and I wish I could share with you some of the more amusing aspects of them. Let's just say that even the most shocking news was delivered with a rather amusing upbeat twist and reading between the lines, I can tell that it wasn't as glowing as they made it out to be!
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There are some simple steps that can be taken though to make sure that your Round Robin isn't read with someone reading between the lines to what they think really went on and this is what I am going to go in to now.
The first thing to do is to think about who it is that you are sending the letter to. It might be that you are sending the letter to people that you used to work with, family members that you don't see all that often, old neighbours or maybe even people you do see on a regular basis. As these groups of people are all different and know you in different capacity's it might be worth writing a different letter for each of them. Of course you don't need to change everything just the level of detail that you give!
You don't have to just write about all the good things that happened, if you had a really crap year, then its fine to say so. Just don't make out that your life is perfect when its not as when others read it they will be able to tell you are lying through your teeth. Of course if your life for the past year has been nothing but rainbows and gumdrops then you will want to share this with everyone and this is of course your right. Just remember that not everybody may of had a good a year as you.
When you mention places or people in your round robin make sure that you give details. If you mention Sally has been a great help to you this year then make sure that they know that Sally is your best friend who has been helping out whilst you have been at work. Or if you mention that you went to the beach make sure that you say it was the beach at Cromer where your Grandmother lives.
Don't feel that you have to give all details about everything though. It might be that you got a promotion at work, are now earning £20,000 more a year and discovered that you can pee standing up. Not everyone will appreciate knowing two of those facts. I will let you work out which two they are for yourself.
Try to have a giggle whilst you are writing your letter, it might be that you did something really stupid this past year. You might of, for example, filmed yourself dancing in a lift to some disco music but stopped still as soon as the lift door opened. You are allowed to tell people about it, it won't make them love you any less.
And if you can spare the time hand write the round robin, it makes it more personal and people will appreciate it. If you can't spare the time to write the whole letter out (several times) then why not add an extra paragraph at the end that can be tailored to be more personal to the person you are sending it to?
And those are my tips for a Christmas Letter/Round Robin. Do you have any more suggestions or a favourite line from a letter you have received? If you have enjoyed reading this don't forget to read my post on writing Christmas Cards.