Have you written your holiday newsletter yet? Me neither.
For some reason, annual family holiday newsletters have gotten a bad rap. Some might say it’s for good reason. Many are sappy, poorly written, badly spelled and are nothing more than brag sheets. Even if that’s all true, they’re still excellent sources of information for a family history. I wish I would have saved every one I’ve received over the years.
But holiday newsletters don’t have to be bad, even if you’re not a professional writer. To make your newsletter memorable, keep it simple, to the point and balanced. Make it newsy instead of an endless string of overstated success stories. Your life wasn’t like that, so don’t try to pass it off that way.
Include some tidbits of true family history in your newsletter to broaden its appeal. Why not include a prized family recipe or a photo of a Christmas past? Share a family story that reflects your true values along with your hopes and wishes for the years ahead.
If you want some specific tips on how to create a newsletter that will be cherished, check out Ted Pack’s web site. It’s full of suggestions, including some actual examples submitted by his readers and some parodies that are sure to give you a chuckle or two. The people at Hewlett-Packard have a site with tips, including links to free templates and clip art that will give your newsletters some extra visual appeal.
Take advantage, too, of holiday gatherings to collect family stories and snap lots of pictures. If you have a parent or grandparent who’s especially hard to shop for, consider giving them the gift of family history. You can learn how by contacting me, or another of the nearly 700 members of the Association of Personal Historians that are located in just about every part of the United States and Canada. It’s a priceless gift that will be appreciated by family members for generations to come.
Have you seen the credit card ad about family history that’s been running on national television lately? You can view the one-minute Citi spot about a father-son team exploring their Scandinavian roots here.