Holiday Celebrations

The Christmas Letter; love it or hate it?

It seems to me, people either fall on the side of loving to receive a yearly Christmas letter or hating it. Me? I LOVE it. So totally love it!

I enjoy hearing the news from family and friends from around the world. Yes, even from second-cousin Evelyn who has ‘gifted’ Freddy.

Personally, I think he may become the next unabomber, but let’s not go there!

I’ve always sent a Christmas letter…since the age of 20 when I left home. This year, I’ve  received cards from people saying, “We’re looking forward to your letter.” It seems, over the years, the Lowe Family letter has got some

fans.

Like I said, I’ve always written a letter but one year when I came to write it, I thought how similar our year had been to every other with the exception of the mid-year vacation/holiday destination.  If I was bored writing it, surely people would be bored reading it.

(As an aside,  I have learned this is not true because it seems most of us think everyone else is leading a much more sparklingly interesting life compared to our own. Point of fact, I LOVE to read your news) So anyway, that year, I used a play on words and sent out a letter called the Lowe-Down and made headings such as Lowe-Life, Lowe-cation, Lowe Expectations…you get the idea 🙂

I got fan mail from family and friends and along with it came the expectation of, “What are they going to do next year?”

Crap. That wasn’t my intention AT ALL. Let’s add another stress to the festive season 😉

Then Boy Wonder discovered Publisher and Photoshop around age 9 and got in on the act. Suddenly, the letter became a production. Since then we’ve done a Twitter feed letter, a Facebook letter, a blog, a Lowe’s catalogue sale and so it goes on. We’ve added a photo collage and I’ve taken to sending it as a PDF via email and just mailing the card.

This year took more planning because Boy Wonder was up the bush, so he had to create the template in the September holidays!

So why do I think our letter is well-received compared with second-cousin Evelyn’s? I reckon a lot of it is to do with self-deprecation. Throughout the year, I try to remember to write down all the dumb stuff we did. That way I can get away with sneaking in the occasional achievement 😉

  Things like: Fiona distractedly reaching for the lip balm and discovering she’d put Vegemite on her lips. * My husband complained about the Sydney transit machines not working; turns out he was using the wrong ticket. *The Lad was busy texting a girl and ended up 15km away from where he should have gotten off the bus. *DH clambored through the roof with internet cable for the PVR and knocked out the antenna in the process. There goes $300. *Fiona borrowed a tennis racquet thinking she’d left hers in the garage, only to discover she’d left it at the tennis centre for two weeks over the holidays.Oops! *Boy Wonder got a certificate for being organized and promptly lost

So my top tips for a great year-in-review letter are…’make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, make ’em happy. Show your human side.

Do you write a letter? Do you like receiving them? Tell me, I’d love to hear. I’d also love to hear some corker stories from letter’s you’ve received.

And in Book news!  Runaway Groom, book three in the Wedding Fever trilogy is up for pre-order and out on January 20th…the perfect treat during the cold or heat of January.

Amy Sagar’s  life is in ruins. Fired from her fast-track job and dumped by her double-crossing boyfriend, she retreats to Whitetail, Wisconsin, to lick her wounds and regroup. Meeting an impossible, sexy Australian isn’t part of her strategy for getting back on track.

Ben Armytage is running away. After being left at the altar and publicly humiliated, he’s taking his vintage motorcycle on an extended road trip from Argentina to Alaska. Having his journey interrupted by a breakdown and sharing a house with a curvy, redheaded lawyer in a town obsessed with weddings was never on his itinerary.

Though being stuck in a luxury log cabin isn’t really a hardship, living together with their broken hearts isn’t easy. When the attraction between Amy and Ben proves unstoppable, they’ll both begin rethinking their plans. SO if you love a hot Aussie biker and a disgraced lawyer, this is the book for you!

For more weddings in Whitetail, check out Saved by the Bride and Picture Perfect Wedding, available now!

PRE-ORDER NOW! 

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20 thoughts on “The Christmas Letter; love it or hate it?”

  1. My family has never done a Christmas letter. But then, we all live pretty darned close to one another, and there’s constant communication(or bickering depending on what side of the family…) going on throughout the year, so everyone pretty much knows everything already.

    I had never actually even heard of them until I moved away from home after college. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t write one that wasn’t self-deprecating. I like that you guys do them in different media formats. Next year: Christmas Letter Vlog! 😀

    1. LOL Yes, I just saw response in inbox and was coming back to explain. (That’s pretty much how I feel about video too. Or any kind of camera. Put the Boy Wonder on it! 😀

      Or you know, stick with words and non-moving pictures. That works too. 😀

  2. In the past, I’ve not been a great fan of Christmas letters but they have grown on me. I’ve even thought of doing one myself but I have stayed with a personal hand-written note on the card. Southern Living Magazine had a cute letter written from no other than Scarlet about what to do and not to do with your Christmas letter. A couple of those things was doing make yourself sound too important, don’t talk about sad things too heavily and remember to keep it short.
    By the way, I loved your letter last year. I learned a lot!

    1. I sometimes thing it is our insecurities that interpret Christmas letters negatively. Poor Boy Wonder gets played down every year in ours. I’ve never actually told the truth about him 😉

  3. Hi Fi! Because we live a long way from family (and some of them are elderly and not techno-savvy) I always write a Xmas letter and try to put a handwritten note in too. I look forward to other people’s newsletters, it’s a great way of keeping up with news. We try to keep ours short and include lots of photos because the ‘olds’ like to see how the boys have grown etc.

    Best of luck with Runaway Groom, hope it sells zillions- I’ll definitely add it to my Xmas list!

  4. Hi Fiona, I love other people’s Christmas Newsletters and read them avidly. When it comes to my own, I’m a bit hit and miss, and usually reckon that I haven’t done very much during the year that’s of interest. But I love your tips!

    Can’t wait to read your new addition to the Wedding Fever Trilogy! Something to look forward to in the New Year.

  5. Hi Fiona ~ I love reading Christmas letters but have rarely done any myself. We only have two cats so not much family to report on. I love getting pictures in the letter.

  6. Your post is perfectly timed, Fiona, as I’m planning to send a mass Christmas letter for the first time in twenty years of photo card mailings!

    Over the years, we’ve gotten annual letters that were wonderfully informative and/or funny, and some that were like something from a Saturday Night Live skit, they were so full of themselves or even crazily unbelievable 🙂 Which is why, always, I’ve just done the mass picture cards with handwritten notes included for those who aren’t near us or privy to the latest scoop. But with my debut coming out in January, and lots of fun offspring stuff happening, I decided I’d do the letter this year, while trying to be sure to include the bad stuff with the good (though, really, there were a few bad things that I’m going to still sweep under the rug…isn’t there a balance between self-deprecation, and having recipients say ‘Oh my, I can’t believe she included that!” 🙂

    REALLY want to be on your Christmas card list, please! Can’t wait to read it! And I also can’t wait to read ‘Runaway Groom!’

  7. Thank you for your candor on this topic. I admit to writing one or two family letters, but quickly dropped them after reading other “letters” that bothered the heck out of me. Then I started writing our family version of The Night Before Christmas, sneaking in bits on each of us. I kept that up for a couple of years but quickly lost interest.

    I admit to skimming (at best) Christmas letters from distant friends or relatives, only being interested in people I am engaged with and truly care about. So, to your questions – do I write a Christmas letter. Not for a long time. Heck, I hardly get Christmas cards out these days.

    Good for you, though, and nice touch with the screw ups.

    🙂

    1. You know, Lynne the most poignant Christmas letter I ever got was from a woman who used it to say goodbye because she had a leukaemia and had been given weeks to live. Cue our delight and surprise when we got a letter the following year saying she was in remission!

  8. You’re so fabulously organised, Fiona – I need to channel you when I do my list making and prioritizing!

    Christmas is a great time to catch up with news from more distant friends and family. And I think you have exactly the right approach to the Christmas letter – a lovely dollop of humour! I confess to skimming through over-long, dry letters that regurgitate at length on every single thing that has happened since the previous Christmas. .

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