Many families send an annual holiday letter with or instead of a greeting card during December. Richard and Sharon Armstrong put an unusual twist on their annual Christmas letter: it is always signed (and allegedly written by!) by one of the pets in the Armstrong household. The pet author refers to Richard and Sharon as “Mom and Dad” in the letter.
Tips for Writing Holiday Letters
• Have fun.
• Mention as many people on the distribution list as you can. People like to see their own name in print.
• When bragging a bit about accomplishments, use a bit of self-effacing humor to balance ego with humility.
• Mail the letter early, to compensate for the heavy workload of the post office during the holidays.
• Think about everyone receiving your letter. Do not say anything that would offend even one person or make them feel bad.
Sample Holiday Letter:
Dear Friends and Family,
Don’t worry, Scooter is not dead. (Yet.) But he is fifteen years old, and let’s face it, he won’t be
writing this Christmas newsletter forever. So this is what you might call a “transition” phase.
My name is Cicco (pronounced Cheek-oh). I’m a cockatiel. Since cockatiels have a life expectancy of twenty years or more, and since I’m only ten months old at the moment, I’m going to be the editor of this publication for quite a while, so you’d better start getting used to it.
Yes, old Scooter is quite out of his mind these days. He’s sleeping 22 hours a day, and the two
hours he’s not sleeping just happen to fall between 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM each night, during which time he barks, growls, whines, paces, stares into space, and generally does a good imitation of a 10-week-old puppy — except for the loving and affectionate part, which he can’t seem to muster up anymore. By combining a new canine senility drug called “Anipryl” with an old favorite called “Valium,” we have attained just enough chemical equilibrium in the household
to keep him happily alive for a while longer.But other than Scooter’s “long goodbye,” the year 2000 has been a good one in the Armstrong household.
Mom, in particular, had what professional athletes sometimes describe as a “career year” because . . . well, she ended her career. Or at least the part of it that required her to dress in nice clothes, put an ID badge around her neck, and head off to work each morning. She is now a “consultant,” which should come as no surprise, and what’s more, she is a successful one. In just three months on her own, she has replaced her previous income, taken on scads of new clients, is working around the clock, and (this is new) seems to be enjoying every minute of it!
Dad, by contrast, begins to look more and more “retired” with each passing year. He’s hanging
around the church a lot, volunteering for odd jobs and committee assignments. His “work” consists
of going into the office for a few hours each day, answering correspondence, and talking on the phone. He watches the stock ticker a lot (at least he did until April, now he can’t bear to watch it). He plays a ton of golf. When people ask him when he plans to retire, he says, “I’m retired now.” And truthfully, this has taken a lot of pressure off him.
Whew! Writing the Christmas letter is a big responsibility. I can see now why Scooter was so
reluctant to give it up. But look, we live in a democratic system. I won the election fair and
square. If Scooter wants to contest it in the courts, he’s free to do so. But for now, I am newsletter editor-elect. And that gives me the privilege and honor of wishing each and every
one of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!