Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Christmas Newsletters Count!


I don’t know about you, but every word I write applies toward my word count goal for the month.

Perhaps, you don’t make that particular goal for yourself. Too much pressure. I agree. If all I did was count words toward my work-in-progress, I could really get down on myself for the “weak” effort.

But we write lots of things. Blog posts, newspaper articles, personal letters, newsletters for our email lists, and business letters. They all take creativity. They all demand focus, stringing words into coherent sentences to form a specific kind of communication.

You know what’s coming up next? CHRISTMAS! Life will get in the way of writing. I will bake the cookies, do the shopping, wrap the gifts, decorate the house, and travel to see loved ones. AND I will write a Christmas newsletter. I can add another three hundred words, give or take.

Holiday newsletters for family and friends require a special brand of creativity.

One acquaintance of mine writes a single-spaced, front-and-back regurgitation of her complete year's calendar. It’s mind-numbing, especially since I don’t know a single niece or nephew on the list, just her and her husband. (And yes, I have used the correct pronouns.) However, when another friend’s holiday letter appears in my mailbox, I can’t wait to open it. I’ll give her a shout-out here—our own Beth Steury. She chooses a few highlights and uses the clever device of writing the family news from her grandson’s point of view. It’s funny and original. Entertaining. I love it.

That’s the key. Entertainment. We need to choose some memorable events and create a couple of entertaining short stories to share with friends and family.

If you’ve endured tragedy this year, your friends will know. They sympathize. They’ve surrounded you with love. But they might not know about tidbits of joy that God provided for you. Or, this could have been a year when wonderful things happened. Weddings. New babies. Again, most people who receive a Christmas letter from you may already know, but did they hear the funny story of what happened during summer vacation?

What if some recipients of your holiday letter aren’t aware of big news, positive or negative?

You still want to provide seasonal cheer and entertainment without dragging the reader through a list  of highlights or dwelling on the sorrow. It’s possible to combine a short list and punctuate it with your favorite stories. For example, this year, I’ll do a quick rundown of where each of my sons are, but I won’t give details on all eight grandchildren. However, I have a couple of cute stories from our beach reunion that I’ll include. If only I could be so entertaining as to tell the stories from the family cat's point of view. Except we don't own a cat.

Have I sparked any ideas for you? 


Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. She is currently working on a middle grade trilogy, World Without Sound, based on her own experiences growing up with a deaf sister.

Linda had always figured she’d teach middle-graders until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair at the overripe age of eighty-five. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to learning the craft.

A wife, mother of three, and grandmother to eight, Linda regales the youngest grandchildren with “Nona Stories,” tales of her childhood. Maybe one day those stories will be in picture books!

Where Linda can be found on the web:








  1. I'll say they count! It can indeed be a challenge (challenges are good!) to make them interesting and entertaining. After I began penning the annual greeting from my grandson's point of view, I tried to go back to a more traditional format, and it was SO boring! I think I'm stuck, but I've wondered how it will come together when he's a teenager. LOL I'm hoping for more grandchildren, so I can pass the mantle to another descendant.

  2. I was wondering the same thing! ("Ohh,Grandma!" Eyes rolling)