How to Write a Christmas Letter

Three Parts:Brainstorming your LetterCrafting Your Message Making your Christmas Letter

Millions of people send Christmas letters to family, friends, professional contacts, and members of their community every year. A Christmas letter wishes the recipient a happy Christmas and exchanges some personal details. Depending on the recipient and sender, a Christmas letter can look like almost anything, from a pop-out letter to a poem. Follow these steps to learn how to write a good Christmas letter.

Part 1
Brainstorming your Letter

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    Consider your reader(s). Make sure your reader wants to read your letter, and your letter is appropriate[1]. For example, a Christmas letter to your brother and sister-in-law might talk about your personal life more in depth than a Christmas letter to your co-worker. A Christmas letter should also reflect your relationship with the reader: include important life events or shared interests. Here are some things to consider before writing your letter:
    • Do they celebrate Christmas? If not, consider leaving Christmas out of your letter and focusing on the general holiday, festive, or winter spirit. Christmas letters are really “holiday greeting cards” that mention Christmas.
    • Are you very close friends?
    • What topics would be inappropriate?
    • What did you talk about last?
    • When will you see each other next?
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    Decide how long your letter will be. No letter should be longer than one page, and most people choose to write about 1 paragraph. However, your message could be as short as two sentences, such as “Merry Christmas from the Joneses! Safe travels and a Happy New Year.”[2]
    • Decide your letter’s length based on how much information you want to share and you think your reader would like.
    • Also consider how your letter will fit into your envelope and travel through the mail; packaging and stamp prices might factor into your letter length.
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    Choose your content. Write about topics that your reader would want to know. You can write about shared interests or new experiences. Typical Christmas letter content includes positive news, family outings and activities, accomplishments and awards, and life milestones.
    • If you have children, you can write about your children’s growing personalities and character. Sometimes these are more interesting milestones to hear about than accomplishments or awards.[3]
    • Consider writing about an activity you enjoyed and have a nice picture of. You can use this picture in your Christmas letter.

Part 2
Crafting Your Message[1]

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    Ask others for input. If you’re stuck or don’t know what to say, see if someone else has a good idea. If you are writing a card that multiple people are going to sign, prioritize asking those signees what they think the letter should say.
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    Decide on your salutation. A salutation is the beginning of a letter where you greet your reader. Address your reader by name: “Dear Maria” or “Merry Christmas, Percy!” Think about what you find natural to say, and what your reader would like.[4]
    • “Dear ____” is a safe choice if you are unsure of how to greet your reader.
    • Your salutation may or may not acknowledge that your letter is a Christmas-specific letter.
    • Your salutation always ends with a comma after the last word of the salutation.
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    Start with pleasantries. After the salutation, your message should open with a friendly greeting. This sets the tone of your letter and tells the reader what to expect in the rest of the letter.[5]
    • “How are you doing?” or “I hope this year has treated you well.” are safe choices if you are unsure of how to start your message.
    • You can reference the time of year, either Christmas or winter, to start your message. This is equivalent to small talk before you deepen your conversation. For example, “I hope you’ve been having a wonderful winter! Our neighborhood is covered in snow and the kids are loving their snow days.”
    • You can also reference your reader’s personal life. For example, “I hope David has been enjoying tenth grade. I loved those pictures from his soccer game last week!”
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    Write about your chosen content. Whatever events, people, or ideas you thought of earlier, write down what you want to share with your reader. Remember, write at least one sentence and no more than one page; many Christmas letters are about a paragraph long.[6]
    • Be creative and flexible. If you remember something else to include, add it in. This is a rough draft you can edit and change into the final draft.
    • Don’t brag. While you can share good news, exaggerating or excessively praising loved ones can exhaust your reader.[7]
    • Most Christmas letters include photos that accompany the written message. Pick photos you like and that are appropriate for your readers to see.
    • Avoid unnecessary adjectives. This helps you avoid bragging and long letters.
    • Stay personal. Your reader wants to hear from you, not Hallmark. If you are short on time or effort, you can still write one sentence and sign the card.
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    Conclude your letter. End your letter in a way that is personal and specific to each individual recipient. Adding a personal note to the letter makes your reader feel unique, even if you are sending letters to many people. If you are mass-printing the same Christmas letter to many recipients, you should still handwrite unique conclusions.[8]
    • “Merry Christmas” is a safe choice to end your letter with.
    • Leave space for people to sign the letter at the end.
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    Make changes in your draft. Read your draft out loud and change any phrases or sentences that sound awkward or unnatural. Remember your letter should be concise, personal, and appropriate. Keep writing drafts until you are happy with the product.
    • Get advice. Someone else might have a better idea of what to write.
    • If you share news about other people in your letter, ask for their permission first. For example, children might care what news from their life goes into the family Christmas letter.

Part 3
Making your Christmas Letter

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    Make your card yourself. As long as your letter can still be sent to your recipient, get as creative with your card as you want. Most homemade cards are 1 piece of paper folded in half. The front flap is decorated, and the inside flaps contain the message.[9]
    • Use a printing store or online template to produce many letters at once. There are many templates for free, but the paper and ink will cost money.
    • Use colored or special paper. You could use red or green to emphasize that it is a Christmas letter.
    • Include pictures of you and your family. Your readers will like to see pictures of the people they are reading about.
    • Include motifs for Christmas. A tree, snowman, presents, reindeer, or Santa Claus can all add to the festive Christmas tone of your letter.
    • Get creative. You can add stickers, pictures, pipecleaners, cutouts, quotations, captions, or anything else you think is appropriate. For example, if your reader appreciates humor, you can write a joke on the front.
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    Buy a card. Not everything about your card must be from scratch. Buying a card from a store can save you time and money, if the alternative is printing or writing customized ones.
    • Find a store that sells cards. Examples include drugstores, general stores, department stores, and stationery stores. Some stores sell cards in bulk. You can call a store on the phone or look at its website to see if it sells cards.
    • Pick an appropriate. It does not have to be a Christmas card; it could be a holiday or blank card. Your writing “Merry Christmas” qualifies it as a Christmas letter.
    • The card should not indicate a different holiday or event; for example, don’t buy a card that says “Thank you for your gift,” “Happy Halloween,” or “We’re sorry for your loss.”
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    Use a good pen. Your letter is going to close and travel inside an envelope, so you want to make sure your message is legible when it arrives. Pick a pen that doesn’t smudge, dries fast, and is in a legible color.
    • Use whiteout if you need. Try to make the letter still look nice.
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    Write your letter. Copy your updated draft onto your card with your best handwriting.
    • Anticipate how much space your letter needs, and aim to make your sentences spaced evenly.
    • If you run out of space, write the most important things down or wrap up your letter. You can also run onto the back of your card, but generally your letter should not be that long.
    • Leave room for signatures.
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    Sign your letter. If you wrote the whole letter, you might still need signatures from other people, particularly your children or spouse. It is personal preference whether multiple signatures are in the same or multiple colors of ink. If a signature is illegible, you can write the name in print beneath.
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    Do a quality check. Look over the letter and reread it. If you are unhappy with the result, use whiteout, glue, tape, or scissors to edit your letter. You can start over if you have another card.
    • If you misspelled the name of your reader, especially in the salutation, then you should start over with a new card.
    • Do you think the card will survive travelling through the mail? If not, reinforce or make a better card.


  • Know the proper spelling of your reader’s name(s).
  • Look up how to spell words you do not know.
  • Proofread your letter before mailing it.
  • Keep a running list of desired recipients so that every year, you consistently send Christmas letters to the same people.
  • Some people like to include family pets in their Christmas letter message, pictures, or signatures. For a signature you can sign for them, or provide a paw print.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper or a blank card.
  • A nice envelope.
  • Decorations.

Article Info

Categories: Christmas