Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Holiday Letter – Informative or Impersonal

My project for this weekend is to work on our holiday cards.

I have been sending out holiday cards to family and friends since Justin and I got married just about ten years ago. At the beginning, I didn’t have many cards to address and send out. Each one had its own personal touch with a small individualized note for the recipient to savor, knowing just how much we cared.

Things are a little different now. We now send out approximately 75 holiday cards to family and friends near and far. The military lifestyle ensures that we get a new address and some additional friends every few years. Because of that, I have gone from sending ten personalized cards, to sending 75 cards with a single spaced, 9 pt. font, form letter stuffed inside a card with a winter landscape on the front.

I have mixed feelings about the evolution of my holiday card giving. Everyone loves a personalized message from the sender. It’s always nice to read “Dear Justin and Jaynelle, Our family missed your annual Memorial Day at the Miller’s party…” I am a realist, though, and know that not everyone has time to write out 75 personalized messages, me included.

To be honest, it’s the thought that counts, right?. A simple card with just a signature lets me know that the sender was thinking of me this holiday season. A few simple lines written inside might even step it up a notch. I do have to say, though, I am equally delighted to get “informational” form letters from friends and family during the holiday season. They give me a small glimpse into the sender’s year, all on a single sheet of paper (I have had to shorten my letter a bit over the years. No one appreciates a two page, front and back, 1.5 spaced holiday letter with .5” margins, even if it is action packed…so I’ve been told). A simple form letter gets me caught up quickly and in the “know” on what is going on in the lives of family and friends whom we might not see or hear from on a regular basis.

As usual, this year's holiday letter will be filled to the brim. I’m sure I will have to weed out the “not so exciting” parts so as not to run over my one-page limit. I’ll ask each family member what information they want included about themselves, giving everyone their own paragraph. I have always included a family photo in our cards. I guess it's because I'm a visual person and like receiving photos myself. In more recent years, I have started to include the kids’ “school” photos in the holiday letters (they each have their portrait taken near their birthday in place of actual school photos). I’ve found it makes it easier for me to remember who I’ve sent photos to if I send them all at the same time.

So what do you think?

If you have a minute, please fill out the polls in the upper right of your screen. I'm interested to see what people think.


Libby said...

I always worry that mine come across like I am ...bragging? This year we sent out a trifold card with lots of pictures of Wesley. Also, I wrote a small note (I cut a red piece of paper in fourth's)telling people we are expecting in May, and how Wesley is doing. I also put on it my Blog address, and our Kodak gallery address and password. I just figured if they wanted to see more/hear more...they could! :)
I feel bad because I am now typing the addresses and using Labels. We have over 200 cards that we send out each year, and I hate my penmanship, and its a lot of work! So I made labels- so when the baby comes, I have them for birth announcements too. It seem simpersonal to even do that, is busy....and I just can't hand address every card!

Alegna412 said...

I can't take your poll because none of the answers work for me. I don't do Holiday cards, but that's not because I think they are a waste of time. I just don't have time to do them.