It’s the holiday season and one of the chores, or traditions is the sending of cards. I always find it interesting to see what people do with this commitment. Do you go industrialized and send out pre-printed cards that have been personalized with a photo of your choice? Or are you one to get store bought cards and insert a printed out “newsletter” of your past exploits. Do you just sign your name on a whole bunch of cards and send them out. Or are you more of a traditionalist, writing each card by hand. Or are you one to send out bulk holiday email newsletters.
Well, whatever your style. I recommend going big and unleashing the writer in you and decide to make a memorable holiday letter. Here are some tips on how to make a great holiday card.
1) Have a point of view. There is a lot of pressure to be cheery and paint a pretty picture with your holiday update. Resist that pressure, instead insist on being true. If it was a crazy year, than say so. If it was a sad year, then explain it. Don’t whine, don’t wallow but say it was a year of change or tragedy. Maybe your wife or child died. You aren’t going to say it was a great year, so don’t fake it. Your friends will want to know what happened.
2) Offer a lesson learned. What came out of this year that mattered. Sharing something you didn’t know before will benefit those who you care. Did you read a great book that moved you. Maybe you found out that living with less stuff make you happier, or maybe that new dream car really was a dream. Or maybe you found out that asking your boss for a raise does work. It can be short, as simple as “writing every day is an act of progress in that something existed that didn’t before.” and then it become your novel. This is your opportunity to pontificate.
3) Commit to a goal for the next year. Say I’m looking forward to 2009 to finish X. It took me three years of promising in my annual holiday card that I was going to do a triathlon, but this year I finally did. Saying what you want holds you to your commitment, and it gives something for your friends to follow up on.
4) Give thanks and acknowledge that which matters. This is a simple thing to close out your letter, it works for the Academy award winners.
5) Be true to your voice. The cliche is always to write in the memoir style. Unless you are old and reflective. Avoid it. Write as if you were telling a story over coffee or a beer.
Incorporate a new view on this annual tradition and it’ll be a better read, a better write and people will remember it.