A Christmas Letter — Making It Better!


It’s time to write your annual Christmas letter, and I have some thoughts about that.

By far, the most popular post I have ever written is this one that I wrote last year about whether to write a Christmas Letter.  That tells me that it is a subject many people are interested in, and might be looking for suggestions about.

So, this year, continuing on that theme, I’d like to talk about how I think you can make a Christmas letter the most interesting it can be.  And that, in my opinion, is with pictures.  As possible proof of my theory, I will tell you that since I have started including pictures in the posts on my blog, my readership has almost doubled.  I don’t for a minute believe that is because I have suddenly become a much better writer.  I believe it is because people are just more interested in reading something that includes pictures.

For the last few years, the wife of one of my nephews has been writing the most interesting Christmas Letter we receive — because she inserts pictures all the way through it.  Since she started adding pictures, I have not only been terribly impressed that she was computer-saavy enough to be capable of doing that, but it has been the Christmas letter that I look forward to the most!

In 1992 when both of our children were young adults, Gunny a young Marine and DD in graduate school, they happened to both be home at the same time in the fall so I arranged for a formal portrait to be taken of them.  And, I liked it so well that I had the picture made into Christmas cards and enclosed them with our Christmas letter that year.

Here’s the picture.  I still love it.  I think it is the best picture we have ever had of the two of them.


Now, this year, Hubby and I had a new portrait taken a few months ago, because our church is producing a new pictorial directory, as they do every few years.  And this time, the photographer offered us a new twist.  Would we like Christmas cards with our picture on them?  Well, I thought the picture was pretty good, so I talked Hubby into it, and we ordered them.


But, once we actually received the cards, I had some second thoughts.  Would it look “dumb” to send a Christmas card with our picture on it?  Did “older” adults ever do that?  I didn’t remember ever seeing one.  I debated it with myself (because, frankly, Hubby didn’t care one way or the other), and I just couldn’t decide.

But about a month ago, I got some help deciding.  As I was looking through a box of old photos, I came across the following card from the 1950’s.  It is a Christmas Card with a picture of Hubby’s grandma and grandpa on it.


That settled it for me.  If it was okay for Grandma and Grandpa to do it then, I guess it’s okay for us to do it now!

So, if you are on our Christmas card list, now you know.  You will be receiving a “wonderful” picture of us, along with our Christmas letter.  Feel free to have it professionally framed and hang it over your fireplace (next to your black velvet Elvis painting?).  Or, we’ll probably have some extras, so if you have a bathroom you want to wallpaper, just ask and we can send you more!

Bottom line: I believe any kind of picture you include in your Christmas letter will be appreciated and will make it more interesting. 

Now, start typing — time’s a-wasting!  And, be thinking about what picture you can add!

22 Responses to A Christmas Letter — Making It Better!

  1. Linda says:

    Hubby’s grandparents must have been pretty progressive for their time. That was a very nice picture of them … not the usual severe photo that was common for their generation and earlier. And I wonder how on earth the photographer got that big smile out of Gunny in the picture of him and DD. I’m glad you decided to go ahead with your plan to send out the photo Christmas cards this year. I don’t have many pictures of you two. That seems strange, for as much as we hang out together. I need some for my scrapbooking in case I ever get back to doing that again. You’ve hung on to that scrapbooking cabinet longer than I expected you to. I may have to find a Plan B. 🙂

  2. Sandra says:

    Linda — But, did you notice that Grandma and Grandpa really weren’t smiling? Those old Germans just weren’t a “jovial” lot!

    The Gunny smile? My guess, gas.

    How many copies of our picture do you want? How big is the bathroom?

    I feel alot of pressure about that scrapbooking cabinet, since you said you would “take it off my hands” when I got tired of scrapbooking. I can feel you breathing down my neck, waiting for me to give it up! Back off, sister! You may not get it until I leave it to you in my will! 🙂

  3. ElleBee says:

    I think it’s great that you and hubby (really you–I totally understand. Must be something about men in general!) went for the photo card. It’s also neat to see your pic just below Jen and Gunny’s–you can really see qualities of you and DH in each of them!

  4. Sandra says:

    ElleBee — Thank you! Of course, I’ll have to take your word for those shared qualities because, you know how that is, it’s so hard to tell who your own children look like. To me, they’re just — them! 🙂

    And re. the cards. I really was leaning toward not using them, until I came across the Grandma and Grandpa one. That made me decide to use it.

  5. chrissy says:

    Cool! I don’t do the Christmas Letter, but I receive a few and I sure enjoy the ones with pictures more. Love Christmas Greetings with Pictures on them, we are never to old to send pictures!

  6. Sam says:

    Sandra, we regularly get Christmas cards with photos and it brings us joy.

  7. Beth says:

    So cool that you found that old photo! The pic of you and Hubby is fantastic, and I think it’s great that it’ll be on your card (and not weird at all.)

    Reminds me I need to put my kiddos in the matching Christmas PJs I have for them, and take a pic so I can get our Christmas cards made. First Christmas for Zoodle–that’s a biggie!

  8. Sandra says:

    Chrissy — “never too old” ! I LOVE that kind of talk!

    Sam — It seems we get more cards that are pictures or include pictures every year. That is a fairly new “tradition” that I hope continues! I just love them, and display them on a little tree so that I can enjoy them every time I walk by.

    Beth — I am sure that a Christmas card with a picture of Chickie and Zoodle on it, in matching PJ’s no less, will be absolutely adorable. I hope you will post it when you get it done so that we can all see it. I couldn’t get Hubby to wear matching PJ’s for OUR picture — what a killjoy! 🙂

  9. cathy says:

    Hello! I was hoping you’d decide to send out the pic, then I read the rest of the post! I’d love to be considered when you send them out! I’ll send you our address! It’s a great picture by the way!

  10. Sandra says:

    Thank you, Cathy! I would love to send you one. E-mail me your address. So, I guess I’d better get started on MY Christmas letter! Writing this post has kind of got me started in my mind. Now, I just need to get it down on paper. (next week IS the beginning of December — hard to believe!)

  11. Beth says:

    Oh, and you would have looked SO cute in matching footed PJs! Too bad your hubby is such a party pooper. 😉

    I’d love to exchange cards with you if you’d like! E-mail me at cbethblog(at)gmail(dot)com.

  12. Sandra says:

    Bath — I’ve e-mailed you our address, so will look forward to seeing that cute picture! It has just occurred to me — I wonder if we will get as many picture cards this year — or even as many cards in general. That might be one way that people will save money. But, I hope I’m wrong. I love getting them.

  13. Chourou says:

    Pretty good snap of you two! Speechless. It would make the Cristmas letter so impressive.

    BTW, in Japan we exghange New Year’s cards. Cristmas letter seems to be not so popular here, though the situation has been changing these days. As making New Year’s cards, we also add photos we like best , just like you mentioned above.
    I myself send cards on which a snap of my family is printed every year.

  14. Sandra says:

    Chourou — Thank you. I hope you’ll put the picture of your family on your blog, so that we can all see it!

  15. tz says:

    oh my gosh, christmas cards and lettes…i forgot to put that on my list! ahhhh

    in the past when i’m more together, we do the nice picture on a card then a letter w/ lots of pictures throughout the text…it’s fun for us too because we relive our year as we put it together!

    i received a christmas letter once written from the family dogs perspective…that was cute

  16. Mrs4444 says:

    I agree wholeheartedly! And your pic is wonderful.

  17. Sandra says:

    Thanks, Mrs4444!

  18. Thank you for an awe inspiring read. I extremely enjoyed this post. I look forward to reading more of your works. If this had a rating I would have to say 10 marks

  19. Sandra says:

    Thank you, Lilla. It’s always nice to “meet” a new reader.

  20. Your RSS feed is only working every now and then, i’m on a macbook running google reader if that helps

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