The Christmas Letter, Solved

I like the idea of receiving Christmas letters along with cards, hearing about what’s going on in the lives of people I haven’t from lately. Writing a good Christmas letter, though, one that really captures the spirit of the previous year, is not easy. Many must agree, as the number of Christmas letters we get goes down each year.

The advent of the picture card may be contributing to the demise of the Christmas letter. Picture cards tell the story of the past year quite succinctly–too succinctly, reducing everything down often to a single image.

My friend and colleague Julie solved the Christmas card this year.

Her card, with “Memories of 2013” at the top, features five pictures of the year’s highlights showing herself and/or her daughter. The differentiator is the captions, such as:

  • “Dominique is active with dance, swimming, tennis, and soccer.”
  • “Big smiles for first place – Best Costume!”
  • “Jean-Paul proposed on December 7 – we have an exciting year ahead!”

A visual, informative summary of the year, all on the front of one card. The combination of text and pictures conveys just as much information as a text-only card but with greater impact. Want all the details? Pick up the phone. Perfect.

The other person who solved the Christmas letter is Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook is all about short, visual highlights for friends and family and acquaintances–a Christmas letter distributed throughout the year. The presence of social media likely leaves us less inclined to write that Christmas letter; it feels like we’ve already written and shared it.

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