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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, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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