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4 Tips for Great Holiday Letters

4 Tips for Great Holiday Letters

Holiday letters are a great addition to your Christmas Card, as they allow us to connect with our card recipients on a deeper level. Many who receive your holiday letters may not have seen you all year long and will love to have the chance to “catch up” with you via the format of a Christmas letter .

It’s just about time to send out your Christmas cards to ensure that they arrive before Christmas Day, so follow these simple tips for creating a great holiday letter this year.

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Be Yourself

How do you “be yourself” in a holiday letter? Actually, the point is to write the letter the way you would talk to a friend or family member. Using your own voice in the letter makes it more fun for you to write, and more fun for others to read.

Tell A Few Stories

We all relate best to stories, as they’re easy to remember and we can form a picture of the events in our minds. Rather than listing the year’s activities or accomplishments in your holiday letters, tell a few stories that illustrate them—a great story will ensure that the recipient of your letter will be sharing it with others soon.

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Keep It Short

Holiday letters should be one page long, and it’s best to keep them single-sided as well. A lot happens in a year and it may seem difficult to keep the letter short, but consider your audience—they just want the highlights. You can include a couple of pictures as well, but don’t go overboard with those either.

Feel free to start with a draft. This is where the computer makes writing holiday letters so easy: start by writing down a few ideas, then go back and fill them in with more detail. It doesn’t hurt to just start writing, and if the Christmas letter ends up being too long you can just trim it down to the best parts. A letter that is short and sweet will be appreciated and enjoyed by all.

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Give Details When Necessary

The recipient list of your Christmas letter may be comprised of friends, family and even people who don’t know you well (your spouse’s relatives or friends perhaps). Don’t leave anyone in the dark by not providing enough information.

When mentioning your kids, include their ages in parenthesis the first time you mention them.  When referring to a relative or friend, give their full name and/or their name with an explanation of how you know them. For example if you have a great story about a neighbor, refer to them as your neighbor in the story.

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It’s great to tell a story about your vacation but be sure to give all the relevant details: where you went, what time of year it was, and who were you with. It’s not necessary to go into every detail, but make sure that the story will be clear to someone who has never heard about your trip.

Try to mail your letters by mid-December to ensure they arrive on time. Many people travel for the holidays, so if you put your holiday letters off until the last minute, many won’t receive it until after they return from their vacation.

Featured photo credit:  Little girl writes letter to Santa via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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