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The Christmas Letter: An Easy Way to Catalog Your Family History

Award-winning writer Kathy Widenhouse has helped hundreds of nonprofits and writers produce successful content and has gained 600K+ views for her writing tutorials. She is the author of 9 books. See more of Kathy’s content here.

An online devotional for writers

A Word From The Word

I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder. (Romans 15:15, ESV)

A Word For Writers

I don’t write many personal letters anymore, even though I did during my childhood and young adult years. These days I send emails, texts, thank you notes, and an annual Christmas letter.

Write a Christmas letter to catalog family history. An online devotional based on Rom 15:15 with Word Wise at Nonprofit Copywriter #WritingTips #FreelanceWriting #ChristianWriting

When Christmas letters became popular, I turned up my nose at them. I thought they were too impersonal. 

But life as a working mom and wife with two children became busy. In the days before cell phones and social media, I wanted to keep in touch with far-flung family and acquaintances. Writing a Christmas letter was a convenient solution. 

Our family’s annual letter is just one page and doesn’t take long to write – maybe an hour. I think back over the year and write down a few highlights and meaningful moments. Then I share how those moments impacted our family. (Here are some more writing tips for Christmas letters.)

I insert a few photos into the letter, print it on our home printer, stuff the letters in envelopes, and mail them. And I always I toss a couple of hard copies of our Christmas letter into a file folder. 

Each year, I pull out that folder. It’s fun to look back at years past and be reminded of simple family activities: painting the sun room … replacing the Civic with the Camry … the hugs I gave my children on 9/11 … the lessons we learned in a move across 3 states.

We’ve been purposeful in writing and sending a Christmas letter each year. But now, those memories on paper have created a unique legacy: we have a written family history I can pass along to our children and a reminder of where we have been. 

What I first thought was impersonal – a Christmas letter – has become personal indeed.

A Wise Word

Writing letters creates a personal history.

A Word To Pray

Heavenly Father,

It’s tempting to race through the holidays. Let me stop and record how You have worked in my family over the last year. 

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

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