These days, holiday greetings from friends and relatives near and far most often take the form of glossy family photos with fancy fonts.They’ll typically begin arriving after Thanksgiving — pictures of smiling couples, families and pets posing in select scenes of happiness. They say a photo is worth 1,000 words, but these photos don’t say much besides “Look at us.”
It wasn’t always this way. Between the pre-computer era of handwritten greeting cards and the present day deluge of easily duplicated images, there was the holiday letter, which ascended to mass popularity with the home computer.
People quickly realized that instead of handwriting messages they could type one long form letter summing up their year, print it and mail it to all their kin.
Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, these autobiographical annual reports revolved around a limited number of topics: work and family achievements, travel adventures, stories about visiting with others and mundane news. They might also include good things the author had done or tough decisions made. For the recipient, they offered an intriguing opportunity to read between the lines.
The holiday letter still exists, but is rare because people share their lives year-round on social media with more people than they would ever contact by letter.
For those who remember it, and those who don’t, we’re bringing the holiday letter back this year in a contest.
Each week we’ll provide a prompt. You can enter the contest by emailing up to four sentences a week to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll select the best entry each week and publish it as part of the letter, along with a new prompt. The final letter will run Dec. 26. Weekly winners will receive two movie tickets.
— Inland 360 staff
Holiday greetings from the Sheldons!
It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone and here we are sending our annual holiday family letter to you again.
This year can be described with one word: busy! The five of us (or eight, if you count all our fur babies) have so much to share. If you haven’t been following us on Instagram, YouTube or Snapchat, you are definitely missing out on some wild adventures.
I’ll start with our biggest news, the birth of the newest member of our family, Klashton (the “l” is silent). Klashton is nearly a year old and is already walking and choosing his own clothes, and I have to say, he has great taste! He has memorized 27 baby sign language signs, and we are really enjoying his sense of humor and requests for more complicated bedtime literature. Last night he asked for “The Canterbury Tales” by Chaucer!
Not to be outdone, Kyleeh, age 5, …
What happens next? You tell us.
Finish the Holiday Letter Rules
- Entries must be no longer than four sentences each week (no run-on sentences). Only one entry per person.
- Entries for Thursday’s edition are due by midnight Sunday each week.
- Email entries to email@example.com, include your name and mailing address, including city.