In an age dominated by instant messaging and fleeting social media updates, there’s an undeniably special charm in receiving a year-end wrap-up letter. Such a letter, tucked inside a Christmas card or sent digitally, serves as a bridge connecting friends and family, no matter how many miles apart they may be. It’s a curated tapestry of experiences, triumphs, challenges, and memories that paints a vivid picture of a year gone by.
While some might see it as a quaint tradition, many cherish it as a tangible keepsake of time and change. Whether you’re a seasoned wrap-up letter writer or embarking on the journey for the first time, the process can be both introspective and joyous. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you weave stories, emotions, and milestones into a memorable narrative that will be treasured by your loved ones.
Gather Memories & Highlights:
- Photos: This will increase your time to print as well cost a touch more using in in your printer, it is a nice touch for those further way to relate. Look through albums, phone galleries, or cloud storage. They’ll jog your memory around what to write too. Keep in mind that who your writing to most likely wasn’t with you when a picture was taking so they will need to know context.
- Diaries or Journals: During these times where digital diaries are becoming more popular, you may find a little nugget of something your readers will find interesting. Those moments will provide personal reflections on the year.
- Social Media: Skim through your posts and interactions, these are great visual diaries of what happened in the past year.
Decide on a Format:
- Chronological: January to December, noting main events. Helps structure memories by timeline.
- Thematic: Divide your year by themes like travels, family news, personal projects. This path is useful for highlighting specific areas of your life.
Now that we have content, lets start writing –
Begin with a Warm Introduction: Mention fond memories or gatherings. This can be a quick mention of things to be talked about, or just a friendly reminder why you’re writing. Referencing the festive season and its significance is good too. A yearly update doesn’t have to be just a year’s memories in review, you can expand to express the holiday well wishes.
Share the Highlights (here are a few areas you can cover):
- Major Events: Birthdays, anniversaries, or promotions.
- New Additions: Births, adoptions, new pets, or new friendships.
- Anecdotes: Share light-hearted, memorable incidents.
Acknowledge Challenges: Your readers are not expecting things to always be all singing and dancing, add a personal touch – double check though that you’re not over sharing. Difficulties: If you’ve faced illness, losses, or job changes, it’s okay to share, but try to maintain a positive tone. Also, talk about the people who helped you through tough times.
Include Fun Facts or Statistics: Did you do a lot of reading or watching? A mention of how many miles traveled, number of books read, or a series binge watched. Of course, there is always “Spent 100 hours gardening but still can’t grow pumpkins.” Humor reminds the reader of your personality.
Share Reflections & Looking Ahead: Did you have a personal growth happen in the past year or planned for next year? Did you learn something about yourself you want to share? This is also an opportunity to express anticipated trips or career changes. Perhaps a new family member is in the plan, either children or four legged, even ones that slither.
Conclude Warmly: Close out with warm wishes or a mention of gratitude. Thinks about who made the year special, or even a touch of individualist to the closing. Be careful if you decide to personalize each one to not print/send to the wrong person. This is usually best done in handwriting as you address and seal the envelope.
Proofread: There are many tools like Grammarly to check your wording and spelling. Sometimes an automated system can miss a word so take the time to read small parts of the letter to be more focused rather than reading start to finish. There is always a neighbor or friend proof reader, but sometimes those will want to rethink your message, keep to what you want to say and in the tone that makes it from you.
Personalize the Envelope: Stickers, stamps and little doodles/drawings are always fun. This is an area of opportunity often missed by yearly letter writers. If you do something every time, it is a reminder to your recipients that the yearly update is inside to encourage your recipient to open the envelope.
Consider Digital Alternatives: There are a lot of online tools to help create a unique look and feel. Sometimes a page of text feels like the right structure for your message. If you’re thinking about adding images or an extra bit of pizzaz, Canva or similar can help with the layout via templates that you can still print on your home printer. If you consider going full electronic and send your update as an attachment, consider how that is different from just sending an email.
Remember, the essence of this letter is to bridge distances and share your life’s moments. It’s a token of love and connection, and the sincerity behind it will always shine through.
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