While many people traditionally use their Christmas cards to tell others about what’s happened throughout the year, summer might be an even better time to send out the annual family update. Since everyone waits until the holiday season, recipients might be overwhelmed with the abundance of long letters, and yours could get tossed to the side with the other pieces of mail waiting to be opened.
Not only will you avoid the holiday mail rush, but summer marks the end of the school year, and you’ll probably be spending most of the letter writing about your kids. Additionally, people tend to have more downtime during the warmer months, meaning you won’t be scrambling to get the update out through the post office as you would during the holiday season. So, take advantage of this perfect writing and mailing time. Here are some tips for writing a successful family update:
Include a photo
The update should always include a photograph, especially if you have kids. Your friends and family not only want to hear about their accomplishments, but they want to see how much the little ones have grown. Send out a photo greeting card along with a letter or in place of one.
To capture a flawless family photo, take some time to plan the perfect shot. Coordinate clothes so you’re all wearing different hues of the same color, and pick a setting that reflects the personality of your family. A great option is to snap the picture on a beach vacation, or spend a Saturday getting a photograph professionally taken.
Pick and choose moments
The first rule to writing an effective holiday letter is to be concise. A lot can happen in a year, and if you narrated each achievement, your update letter would be too thick for the envelope. Instead, pick a few of the major highlights from the year, and take more time to reflect on them. Rather than listing everywhere your family went this year, highlight one memorable moment from your favorite family vacation. Instead of explaining all the ups and downs of your child’s school year, write about how excited he or she was to make the basketball team. Stories are fun to read – a list of facts is not. In order to make your message enjoyable and guarantee that it will be read, narrow the letter down to a few amusing moments during the year. However, there may be several important, but not very entertaining, updates you need to share. Try to outline all of this information in a single paragraph.
It’s OK to share some of the losses among your wins, but don’t use the letter to vent. If you need to discuss negative news with your family, give them a call or talk to them in person. Keep the letter lighthearted so everyone can share in the excitement of your family’s accomplishments. Think about what your readers will want to hear, and stick to that.
By following these guidelines, you can send out a successful family update.