Christmas letters are a nice way to update friends and relatives on what’s happening in your life. Of course, if your life revolves around horses, it’s possible that your non-equestrian relatives won’t make it through to the end of your letter. Here are four steps that will help make your Christmas letter more interesting to all of its recipients.
1. Keep it concise
Your fascinating adventures with your horse are undoubtedly lengthy and could easily fill an entire book, but try not to subject your relatives to a blow-by-blow account of every horse-related event that occurred in 2015. Stick to the highlights and avoid describing the everyday stuff: “Then on September 24th, I cleaned his stall again, and we took a quick trail ride but had to be back by 4:00 because Dawn (barn manager) was leaving early and she needed me to feed Starlight and Genevieve and Morgan (Starlight is a Paso Fino and Genevieve is a Quarter Pony and Morgan is a Morgan, LOL!!!!), but then the feed room door got stuck and I had to call Lindsay…” It’s much better to keep things concise. Your readers will thank you.
2. Minimize unfamiliar lingo
After you write the first draft of your Christmas letter, go back through it and “translate” it before you send it out to family and friends. That means removing horse-related lingo that might be unfamiliar to your readers. So don’t say: “Chester had a great year! He was regional champion 2/3 y/o gelding in halter and his pastern injury that occurred during turn-out last winter healed up beautifully!” Instead, say something that your readers can understand: “My horse, Chester, had a great year! He had an injury last winter but it healed beautifully and he was the champion for his age division in our region. So exciting!”
3. Include photos
This one’s easy—you were probably already going to do it, anyway. By including photos of your horse in your Christmas letter, you’ll help your relatives to see just how awesome your horse is and help them understand why you’re so crazy about him. It’s easy for people to think “oh, whatever” when reading a letter, but when they behold a photo of a horse as amazing as yours, magical things happen.
4. Talk about something besides horses
It might be difficult, but do your best to momentarily discuss something besides horses—at least for part of your letter. Think hard—at some point in the year you probably participated in some type of non-horsey activity… maybe you took a vacation? Or graduated from something? Or got promoted at work? I know, it’s not as interesting as your horse-related stuff, but your relatives will enjoy hearing about it.
So, what are you waiting for? Equipped with these tips, get started on composing the Very Best Christmas Letter ever! Have fun!
Samantha Johnson is a freelance writer and the author of several books, including The Field Guide to Horses, (Voyageur Press, 2009). She raises Welsh Mountain Ponies in northern Wisconsin and is a certified horse show judge. Follow her on Twitter: @miraclewelsh.