creating Christmas* day 2…the family newsletter

Day 2 and the Christmas preparations are in full swing even if I am not.

The weather is cold and nippy outside and DH is bravely going outdoors to fix up Christmas lights and finish painting the bench, so what could be better than to retreat to the peace of the study with a warming brew of ginger and honey tea to write our Christmas Newsletter.  We always send one each year to friends and relatives who we see very little of (like our Australian relatives and friends who live far away) but want to keep in touch with and we find this is a good way of doing that.

Years ago, for those overseas, I would buy those specially printed airmail sheets with a different Christmas scene each year, do you remember them? – I wonder if they still do them, Post Offices have changed so much over the years I daresay they might be something no one wants anymore.

I would buy 5 airmail letters each year and painstakingly hand write, in my best handwriting of course, the same news over and over on each letter and as you can imagine it was quite time consuming.   Once these were out of the way I would concentrate on writing the Christmas cards and scribble a few notes on the blank side of some of them fitting in whatever bits of news I could in such a small space.

This was often limited to the same kind of ‘quick‘ news that friends would scribble in theirs;

 ‘Hope you are all well, we have X amount of new grandchildren, been to XYZ on holiday and so and so or the dog has been quite unwell all year’…….having similarities with the postcards you received during the summer months that always began ‘Having a wonderful time, wish you were here – food good, weather awful’…  or sometimes reversed to say ‘food awful, weather good.’

And then computers came along and digital cameras and eventually we got an old second hand printer from my brother so the whole process speeded up and our Christmas family newsletter was born. 

I tend to type a general letter embellished with a few photos – a bit like a blog post really – and the whole document has to fit onto two sides of an A4 sheet so it can easily be included with a card and not go overweight.  Even better these days, many are just sent by email (for those friends and relatives that have email) but I do still send them a proper card as well by post, though alarmingly, the two books of 2nd class Christmas stamps I need cost me a whopping £15 84 (we probably paid less than that a month on our first mortgage!). I do still enjoy a trip to the Post Office for the new Christmas stamps and, just like buying the decorated airmail letters, admire the latest design – it always feels like a fundamental part of the enjoyment of Christmas.

I usually have to look back at both my blog and photos to help me remember what we have done over the past year and often tweak the main letter a bit for some of the recipients, adding news that is more relevant to them.  – I do tend to stay away from the ‘bragging’ letter that we sometimes receive…you probably know what I mean here if you have ever received one, mine really are just updates on our general life so far – an expansion of the ‘scribbled’ note.

I know some bloggers probably love these round robin letters whilst others will hate them.  I think if the person I am sending it to doesn’t like them then they can just ignore it, but I haven’t had any complaints so far and I personally do like to receive theirs.

So with my newsletter in hand I now need to get on with producing the cards.  I nearly always make my Christmas cards – sometimes a lino cut, sometimes watercolour whatever idea springs to mind at the time when I sit down to do one.

I have a busy day today after lunch I have an appointment with my Cranio-sacral therapist who is doing wonders for my tight muscles in my back and then on to M&S to pick up a parcel going via Sainsbury’s on the way home to see if they have any milk today (shelves stripped bare yesterday, like many foods…is there more panic buying again?).

Oh and just a little mention that to look at my past Christmas crafts on yesterday’s blog post you have to click on the wording on the photo to link through to the blog post, clicking just on the photo will just link through to a bigger version of the photo! I can see that has happened from the log I see on my blog admin page.

Back soon with more Christmas activities.

Have a great day everyone. x

13 Replies to “creating Christmas* day 2…the family newsletter”

  1. I have never seen a decorated airmail sheet, only the plain ones – they would have been fun to receive! Anything “vintage post” is on trend now 🙂 I look forward to seeing your cards.


  2. Ha! Milk availability is sometimes an issue over the Pond, too, especially organic skim milk (fat free). Know what you mean about the cost of stamps, too. And in the case of the US Postal Service…well, maybe they should take “service” out of their name. It is so bad that you are warned it can take more than a week for any first class mail to get to its destination…even if it is just across town. As for parcels, well, good luck.

    Love the reminders of your Christmas past decorations. Your creativity is inspiring.


  3. I love those type of newsy letters included with cards, it’s a good way to stay in touch, even if it is just once a year, though I don’t send one myself. I tend to sit down to write my cards and when I come to people I haven’t spoken to for a while, I make a note to make sure I call them before the big day and we catch up on news then. I don’t send half as many cards these days as I used to do, for one thing many people who I sent them to are no longer with us, but of those who are, many just don’t ‘do’ cards any longer. I like to send to the older generation, they always appreciate a card, though I can understand people cutting down because, as you say, postage is so expensive now.


    1. My list is naturally shortening as I lose friends and relatives over the years. When I was at work we put the money into charity that we would have spent for each other on cards, though I always made some for my immediate colleagues. Making my own is much cheaper but I can’t avoid the cost of the postage. Still it is only once a year – it is more the fact that Christmas is a very expensive time of year now so we have to look for savings where we can.


  4. I love that you send out a Christmas family newsletter every year. – such a nice way to update friends and family who live far away. I have a cousin in California who does the same thing every year and I’ve always loved it. Happy December! Stay warm.


    1. Happy December Julia. I have a friend with 4 daughters – and like many of my other friend’s children are all grown up now and some married with children and her newsletter helps me keep track of everyone and what they are doing and I can often refer back to it!


  5. We love receiving the annual newsletter from distant friends and relatives, even tho in the case of some of the Australians and Canadians we don’t have a clue who half the people mentioned are! We do send our own, with lots of photos, and I find it’s a lovely way for us to look back on the year. I hope we have a self-deprecating tone rather than a bragging one – in any one year life isn’t all successes! We used to spend ages fiddling around trying to crop photos into a Word document and then I discovered the free programme Microsoft Sway when I did a university course post-retirement. We had to do our presentations on this, and I adopted it for the family Christmas letter. It’s super easy to use – just text and image blocks which you add as you wish, but the stuff behind the scenes fits the photos in and makes blocks of several photos if you have more than one to illustrate a certain event, and fits text and photos in perfectly. There’s a big header image of one of your photos you can insert which does a lovely thing of seeming to pan across the image. You can send it to the email recipients as a link, and you can also turn it into a pdf for sending a hard copy. It has revolutionised my Christmas letter-writing.
    I’m not aware of any panic buying in Scotland but I haven’t been in a shop since 1 December so perhaps it’s all kicked off again? 😦


    1. All the shelves were full when we were in Scotland not so down here in West Yorkshire. I must look into the Microsoft Sway – sounds perfect for the newsletter and almost like a blog post set up? Thanks for the tip Linda.🎄


  6. I do like the idea of a Christmas newsletter, but I’m not sure if people I would send it too would like it and I’d be worried in case it came across in a bragging tone instead of an updating one. The addition of pictures makes them more interesting I think and more likely to be read.


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