Do you write one?
I never used to be a fan. Mostly, my family received letters that went on and on about how great the kids were (how many baseball tournaments they were in...and blah blah blah). However, I do remember this one couple who always sent a letter that was at least three pages long. The letter was incredibly detailed and though it wasn't meant to be, it was funny.
While we were waiting to adopt, I wrote my first Christmas letter. This helped us announce our plans to adopt to those who didn't already know (particularly older relatives who don't use the Internet). After that year, I just kept writing Christmas letters.
I now love receiving the letters as well. December is an entire month where it's fun to open up the mailbox and see what treasures are inside.
If you want to write a letter that gets some (planned) laughs and smiles, follow these tips:
1: Reflect on the past year. What made your family smile? Cry? Laugh? Snap a million photos? Make a list.
2: Draft the letter. Then go back to it a few times, revising, before you print and send. This gives you time to add details, delete lines that you realize make you sound like an idiot, and correct mistakes in grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
3: Details matter! Give specifics about each family member. Did he/she go on any special trips? Did something hysterical happen? Were any interesting milestones reached? A new hobby? Let personalities shine! (If your kids are old enough, have them write their paragraph in first person, letting them say what they want).
4: What's going on in your adoption journey? This is always a topic of interest to friends and family. Your letter is an awesome opportunity to educate others on adoption. Share a blog URL or an article or a story about visiting birth family.
5: Print your letter on some fabulous paper (preferably the paper you bought last year on major sale after Christmas) and send, along with a fun family photograph. (Your Christmas photo doesn't have to be each of you in matching sweaters. Think outside the box. The more creative, the better!)
Can you tell I'm ready for Christmas?