You’ve spent the last few years sending e-mail and texts and the fundamentals of writing a friendly letter may have slipped your mind. In this article, I’ll try to refresh your memory.
Open with a salutation. Here are some examples:
We hope that this finds you and yours doing well and enjoying the magic of the season.
As we enjoy the season and prepare for Christmas night, we’ve been thinking of you.
It’s hard to believe that another year has passed so quickly. We hope that it’s been a wonderful one for you and yours.
If you’re replying to a letter that someone’s just sent you, it’s wonderful to write, “It’s so good to hear from you!” This will encourage the person to keep in touch. It will be the written equivalent of music to their ears and they’ll be glad that they made the effort to get in touch with you.
The person to whom you’re writing wants to know that someone is thinking of them and enjoys their company. If you are writing to a specific person, go on to engage that person with comments about something meaningful specifically for them. For example:
We went to the ballet and when we saw Stars and Stripes it made me think of you.
We got to see the Metropolitan Opera and wished you’d been there with us. We remembered the way that your face would light up when you told about your favorite operas.
When the Giants won the Worlds Series, we knew that you’d have been cheering along with us. We got such a kick out of seeing Tim Lincecum pitch.
Based on your recommendation, I read the new book by James Patterson. I couldn’t put it down and now I want to read everything that he’s written.
Think about the favorite things of the person to whom you are writing. Do they like to cook, knit, watch Nascar, hunt? Did you experience something during the year that made you think of your friend. Did you have a meal that you know he or she would have loved? Did you drive through a town where he or she had once lived? Tell them that you were thinking about them, and if you can tell them specifically why, it adds a personal touch to your letter and will be more likely to raise a smile on the recipient’s face.
If you are writing one letter that’s going to go out to a broader audience, try to consider if there’s something you can say of a somewhat personal nature to all of them. You might want to talk about your home town, or the family business, or a personal labor of love.
The Brooklyn streets look so lovely now that the houses are decorated for Christmas. We wish that you could all be with us to see the colorful lights and displays.
The streets of Manhattan have been so crowded with shoppers and the glittering window displays are so eye catching that it takes us half an hour to walk ten blocks!
Our dance company put on such a beautiful production of The Nutcracker this year. It’s hard to tell who enjoyed it more, the audience or the cast. If you came to see it, we thank you for sharing the Christmas spirit with us. And if you couldn’t make it, please know that you were with us in our hearts.
Now it’s time to talk about yourself and your family. Consider whether or not there have been any big changes in the past year. Did something really exciting happen in your professional or personal life? Did a family member marry or have a baby? Did you start a new job? Did you go on an exotic trip? Did you get involved in some new endeavor?
Joseph and Stella had the most beautiful October wedding. I wish that you could have seen them at the altar at the Palm House conservatory, surrounded by the fiery autumn leaves outdoors.
On September 1st Nick and Lisa welcomed a beautiful baby boy into the world and lovingly named him Tommaso, after Lisa’s beloved grandfather. The old man would have been beaming with pride to see his name sake.
I’ve started this thrilling new job working on Project X with Brooklyn Widgets. This is a dream come true for me. The work is fascinating and my new co-workers are great fun.
Mary and I attended our 40th High School Reunion! Our old friends looked so different without their bell bottoms and love beads.
If you have young children, give a brief report on their progress:
Michael took up Tee Ball and made a gang of new friends.
Kathy loves her ballet lessons. She played an angel in The Nutcracker.
We can’t keep William off the ice; he’s destined to play with the Rangers.
Matt started college and is majoring in Economics. The country needs his skills now more than ever!
Do not make your letter too long. People will love to hear from you, but if you go on too long, they may start to zone out. You want to send a nice letter and not a filibuster. It’s better to get good things said in the least amount of words.
Close with another holiday sentiment and an expression of thanksgiving. We have a large selection of sentiments right here. While you’re visiting that page, you can find links to our large collection of Christmas and Holiday Cards.