Nothing gets more smiles or eye-rolls then the “Holiday Newsletter.” People usually have strong opinions on this subject–for or against. I have been “for” holiday newsletters since 1996. This was the year that I started and I continue to pump the suckers out each year. For me, it is a family history of sorts. I have a binder that I save each year’s laminated newsletter in. Around the holidays when we pull the binder out, we all enjoy flipping through our family history. I’ve learned some holiday newsletter tips along the way and wanted to share.
I know what you are thinking, “But it is September, why do I need to start now?” Well, the next few month are going to fly by and then by December you will be so rushed that your newsletter will reflect that. If you start now and do a bit each month, you will have a fantastic newsletter ready for the holiday season with a lot less stress.
1. Make a plan.
I start planning my newsletter in September. I peruse the internet looking for design inspiration. Once I find my inspiration (some kind of cool layout/design–this could be another newsletter, an advertisement, a website, a magazine cover, a newsletter template) I save a copy of it on my computer to refer back to.
2. Less is more.
The less content in your newsletter, the more likely people will read it. Start thinking about what pictures you want and what you want to say. My newsletters have evolved into two pages containing:
Usually 5 pictures:
- 1 Family
- 1 Couple picture of Hubs and I
- Kid #1
- Kid #2
- Kid #3
At least 4 Small Paragraphs:
- Paragraph 1: Short paragraph about family happenings and what the Hubs and I are up to.
- Paragraph 2: Kid #1 highlight
- Paragraph 3: Kid #2 highlight
- Paragraph 4: Kid #3 highlight
You don’t have to start writing your newsletter now, just get an idea of what you want to write about and jot these ideas down–because you won’t remember them in a couple of months. For example, I like to add quotes from my kids into my newsletters. When I hear something funny they say, I write it down in a notebook then refer back to this notebook come holiday newsletter time. Jot down important events. They can be exciting, funny, sad, happy–whatever you want, but keep them in a place where you can find them. I try to keep to highlights or funny, exciting things.
3. Have fun and forget about pleasing other people.
I take pride in my holiday newsletter and hope that others will read and like it, but if they don’t, that’s okay. Ultimately, you are writing it for you and your family and if the people you share it with like it, that is a bonus.
4. Forget snail-mail, email it!
I have stopped mailing my newsletter altogether and now just email it and post it on my Facebook page. It is much easier to do this, I reach more people and I’m helping save a tree. Also, it gives me more time to work on it :).
Here is my holiday newsletter timeline that I follow:
- September-October: Plan and gather pictures, quotes and events to talk about.
- October: Begin layout.
- November: Start adding pictures and paragraphs.
- December: Finish up and begin distributing.
Hope this helps take out the “dread” in the dreaded holiday newsletter. Good luck and happy holidays four months early!