November 17, 2014

Creative Christmas Letters

We write a creative Christmas letter to go out with our picture every year to let our family and friends know what's going on in our lives. Here are some ideas to help your Christmas letters stand out.

My mom is a very creative lady and every Christmas when we were growing up she would send out a cute Christmas letter to accompany our picture in a Christmas card. I have continued the tradition because I guess I just like to make life more complicated. . . . well actually I enjoy it. I enjoy thinking of a clever/cheesy/ridiculous way to share what's been going on in our lives.

Here are a bunch of creative ideas to help you write your Christmas card letter this year: 

1. Write a letter to santa

Write a letter for Santa asking for things that will help in your families activities from the year. For example "Dear Santa, This year Maren would really love a new violin; she's wearing hers out with all the performances and practicing!"

2. Write a haiku for each child

Seriously. I know it sounds ridiculous, but that's part of the fun of writing Cheesy Christmas letters. A Haiku (in case you don't remember from school) has a line of 5 syllables, then a line of 7 syllables, then a line of 5 syllables. And they're kind of fun to write. For example:

Joshua's Haiku:

piano playing
early morn' trumpet blowing
where are my earplugs?

3. Dictionary

We did this one a few years ago and people really liked it. Check out this post about our family dictionary. 

4. Newspaper

Make your family letter like a newspaper, with different sections for sports, education, politics, the Arts, and classifieds. A very fun way to present a card.

5. Doll family

Pretend your family is being packaged as a doll family. What sort of accessories would you come with? Check out our Doll Family Christmas Letter from a few years ago.

6. Cancelled Christmas letter

This was probably the easiest letter to write. We listed all the reasons our family was too busy to write a Christmas letter that year, and let people know it was cancelled. People really enjoyed it. Read the full Cancelled Christmas letter in this old post.

7. Candidates

During an election year, you can present your family as political candidates up for election. Check out our Candidates Christmas letter post from several years back.

8. Recipe

What makes  up your family? Write a recipe for each of your family members. Read more about this idea in our Recipe Christmas Card blog post from a few years ago.

9. Top 10 list

What are the top 10 things that happened to your family this year? Write about what's going on.

10. Multiple choice quiz

See how well your friends and family have been following your lives. Write up a clever multiple choice quiz just for fun. For example:

Christopher has recently started:

a. piano lessons
b. chewing with his mouth closed
c. reading voraciously
d. basketball
e. all of the above except b

11. Poetry form

Some of you might be clever enough to pull this off. I am not a great poet, but maybe I'll make Jason write one someday. I have a poetic family though. One year my brother Greg wrote a great poem for a family Christmas letter that makes me laugh. Here is a snippet of the beginning and end:

It's that time of year when the Smith's get together
And rattle their brains for the new Christmas letter
Marty said "Let's do a cross-word puzzle"
The rest said "That's stupid" and put on his muzzle
Fighting ensued until Liz bellowed "Stuff it,
We'll tell all our tales in trite rhyming couplets."
The stanza's aren't good, they're not worth five pence
They reek with abuse of artistic license
Read on for enlightenment all about us
Verbatim veracity of all last year's stuff.

(here there was a stanza on each of the family members)

Well that's about it for the Smith Family update
We hope this bad poem doesn't ruin your holiday
Have a good year, and please keep in touch
And feel good inside 'cause we love you so . . .
. . . next year we'll just send you a stupid crossword puzzle.

12. A Crossword puzzle

Of course, right? Give clues and let people fill in a crossword puzzle, because Marty's idea wasn't that stupid.

13. Family Holiday Songbook

One year when I was in college my mom called me and told me I was responsible for creating new words to a Christmas song for their Christmas letter that year. Each child was supposed to do their own. They compiled them in a "Smith Family Songbook" and mailed it out to friends. Crazy, huh? And actually, my youngest brother John got out of doing one and my mom just did it for him, because that's what happens when you're the baby of the family. I'd share mine as an example, but it's just a bit too embarrassing.

14. Police photos

Make a wanted poster. What "criminal activities" has your family been up to? For example:

Wanted: Nathan (5), for excessive laughing and cuteness, snitching fruit snacks, and reading above his age level. Take precaution when apprehending - suspect has fierce ninja moves and carries lots of swordlike objects.

15. Superhero Family

What super powers does your family have? What's the name of your Super Team? What heroic things have you done this year? What evil have you conquered? There's lots of possibilities with this one.

16. Year By The Numbers

Write a list of numbers and why they represent your family this year. For example:

2 - children at public school this year
5 - the number of teeth Christopher has lost
150 - the number of books Maren read this summer
etc . . .

17. Write it from the baby's/child's/pet's/neighbor's point of view

How would your baby/child/pet/neighbor describe your year?

18. "Which Family Member are You?" Quiz

This one invited our friends and family to discover which one of us they were most like by answering some questions. Read more about our Creative Christmas Quiz.

That's all for now. I will add more as I think of them. I haven't put in the Christmas Letter I'm doing this year because I want it to be a surprise . . .


  1. Hey, I still get comments about the Christmas Songbook! People loved it! I think I may have written most of the songs, including yours. I just may post it here.;-)

    1. Ha. No. You only wrote John's. The rest of us slaved over ours. Nice try taking credit though.

  2. Thanks for the refresher. I love all these ideas.

  3. I just stumbled across your blog today and I love these ideas... stealing the wanted poster/police one for sure! As soon as I get a few years going, I'll do the "canceled" one. As it is, this year will be the first year since 2010 i've written (just wasn't up to it with a terminally ill family member- didn't know what to say and didn't want a bummer letter), so it wouldn't make any sense to cancel a nonexistant tradition! Or maybe I'll have the baby write it... too many good options.

    1. Thanks Beth! I'm so glad you found them useful. And I'm really sorry about your family member. I totally understand not being up to writing cheerful letters some years. Glad things are getting better.

  4. Thanks for sharing these creative ideas!

  5. I love, love, love that you have shared these ideas! I always do a Christmas letter and try to be creative. I love sharing updates with family and friends but mostly write the letter for my six kids. It's something I put in their baby books and I hope that when they are older they will have fun going back and reading through them all. I'm running out of fresh ideas and just when I think I'm going to through in the towel and not include a letter this year, I check out your site and am inspired!


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