Pocket Scrapbooking with Project Life

Cultivate a good life and record it.



holiday newsletter ideas galore!

Hi guys! We are still going strong at creativeLIVE. Hope you’re watching! In other news, can you believe the holidays are already upon us? Remember: We have a (baker’s) dozen of darling holiday card templates to choose from right here in our Freebies section.

I’ve asked our resident editor, Erin, to share some creative ways to share family updates to go with the cards or photos you send since I know many of you are already thinking about this. Holy cow, did she ever! Ready to be inspired? Take it away, Erin.


It’s my family’s most favorite time of the year! It’s not because the weather is cooling down or because Santa will be visiting soon. It’s because we get to race to the mailbox, looking for those coveted holiday cards and newsletters. My kids fight over who will get the mail and most cards don’t even make it back to the house without having been torn open and read. We love getting pictures and updates from friends and family!

The first Christmas after my husband and I were married, I was so excited to make our first Christmas card and write our first newsletter. I remember I hand stitched (gasp!) a star on the front of each card and put a review of our year on the inside. Thirteen years later, I am still going strong. I love to change it up and do something different each year. Whether you’re a neophyte or a seasoned pro, here are some ideas to get you jazzed about sending your first or fourteenth newsletter!

Tip #1: Do something! Whether you send an über-creative letter or a bulleted list of major events from your year, send something! Friends and family love to hear what’s new (or old) in your life.

Tip #2: Be brief. As awesome as your family is, no one wants to read a 5-page letter!

Tip #3: Don’t gush too much. Everyone knows your kids (or even you) aren’t perfect, so don’t make it sound like they are! A little bragging is okay, but don’t overdo it.

Tip #4: Be creative. Below is a list of several ways to mix it up from the boring “In January, we…” letter.

  • Make a list of events from each month of the year (ex. January: Eliza turned 11, Ezra started walking; February: Erin ran first half marathon, etc.)
  • Book review–if each person were a book, what would his/her title be? Give a brief summary like you’d find on a book jacket.
  • Top 10 events from the year
  • Your year in numbers (ex: 780 miles run, 22 tantrums thrown, 52 gallons of ice cream consumed, 125 carpools driven, 8 teeth lost, etc.)
  • Game board. One year I did our letter as if it were the game of Life. I created a simple game board in a document and each space related to something from the past year. I even gave each family member a different font so readers would know who I was talking about. Here are some examples of what was on each space:

Have a potty accident. Move back one.

Take wife to Hawaii. Move ahead five.

Play on a city soccer team. Run ahead one.

Have a hard time going to bed. Lose a turn.

  • Toy catalog. This one might have been my most favorite newsletter to send out. I pretended each family member was a different product and then described them as if they were in a catalog. Here are a couple of excerpts from that letter:

“Thank you for requesting this year’s Trimble Holiday Gift Catalog. To ensure the best quality craftsmanship, we have reduced our product line to only six best-selling items.

The Pink Eliza Leatherman: She does almost everything! She sings, dances, draws, runs, writes, and makes difficult tasks look easy. The Eliza Leatherman includes a pair of earrings, four Modbe shirts, and 5 different excuses to get out of doing chores. Be careful not to trigger the switch which releases the hidden sour and sass tool. This fun item is reliable and will perform under the most difficult circumstances. Due to package restrictions, this version no longer plays the piano. (Our factory manager is addressing this issue.) Note: Do not leave near Tales of a Five-Year-Old Libby book for more than 10 minutes or a negative chemical reaction may occur.

(Other items from our 2008 catalog included Baby Hattie: Toddler Version, Little Miss Sweetheart Ellie Doll, Mama Erin Clock & Daddy Brian Action Figure.)

  • Write from a different point of view. One year I pretended the new baby in our home got on the computer and wrote our Christmas letter. Consider using the perspective of your family’s pet, a grouchy neighbor or an object in your home. In 2007, our then 10 month old “wrote,”

“Mom’s been a bit busy and she said she needed help writing our newsletter this year. My dad told her to just say Merry Christmas and be done with it. But she really wanted to send out a letter, so I thought I’d help her out….

Eliza is counting the weeks until she turns 6. She says she wants to get her hair colored, but my mom just laughed and told her maybe when she is in high school. She is only in kindergarten, so it might be a while….


Now moving on to someone a little closer to my size. Ellie just turned two, but she doesn’t act like a typical two year old yet….She likes to be outside and ride her tricycle. Sometimes she’ll ride to the neighbors and before my mom can get her, she’ll ring their doorbell over and over….


  • Menu. What if each person were an item on a menu? Describe them in a yummy way based on things they did this past year.
  • Yearbook. Could you give each family member an award like they did in your high school yearbook? Who would get the award for the Biggest Helper? What about the coveted Best Fashion Diva? Or the infamous Biggest Whiner award?
  • Song parody. Take a familiar song and change the words to tell about the year. Or, turn each person into a song title and tell why you gave them that name.
  • Fairy tale. Write about your past year in fairy tale form.
  • TV guide. Make each person a TV show, complete with a title and little description of what to expect that season!
  • Travel brochure. If each person were a place, where would they be?
  • Multiple choice quiz. How many cartwheels were turned in our home this year? A. 10 B. 100 C. 1,000 D. none–our kids are such good listeners they only do them in gymnastics class.
  • Mad Lib style. Write an overview of your year, then take out non-essential adjectives, nouns, and adverbs that won’t take away meaning from your letter. Readers will have a blast filling in their own words to spice up your year! Recipients might discover that your smelly husband took you on a shiny trip to windy Hawaii.
  • File folder. This idea was another favorite from many years ago. I made miniature file folders using a die cut (remember those?!). I made it look like recipients were peeking into my family’s file for that year. Each person had a different type of paper with a little write up about him or her. One paper was torn, one paper had a crumpled look, one was printed on lined paper and one was just normal. I’d have to use an expandable file folder if I did this now, but it was a super fun idea.



  • Crossword puzzle. Make up clues to go with what you and your family did this year. Google “free crossword puzzle maker” to make your newsletter creating a breeze!
  • Recipe. Create a delicious concoction made up of goings-on from your past year. Maybe you’d need 2 trips to Disneyland mixed with 12 bedtime stories, all simmered on low for 365 days.
  • Spa treatment menu. I don’t think my family is calm enough for this idea, but maybe yours is! What child would be the “deep sports massage,” leaving you aching for days? Or which one would be the aging facial–guaranteed to age and add wrinkles?! I know my little boy would be the Stone Therapy treatment as he loves to throw rocks over the neighbor’s fence.
  • Workout routine. Is your daily life an exhausting workout? Part of mine would include 6 cereal pours, 10 step-ups into the van for carpool, 30 Ezra lifts as I lower him from standing on the kitchen table, 100 squats to pick up toys and shoes, etc.

The possibilities are endless! Simply pair your creative newsletter using one of the ideas above with a family photo that you plug into one of our new, free downloads, and you’ll be ready to send holiday cheer to loved ones around the globe.

I’d better go — it’s time to check the mail before my kids get home from school!





43 Responses

  1. Ann says:

    Great post and I love your great ideas!!

  2. Meredith Croswell says:

    You guys are just AWESOME!!! Thanks for all of the ideas for the Christmas newsletter and the freebie cards! I love it all :D

  3. Tiffany says:

    Loved this post! Great ideas to get me excited to compose this year’s letter!

  4. Jen M says:

    Thank you so much. I’ve never done a newsletter before but now after reading all these great ideas I can’t wait to make ours.

  5. Veronica Padilla says:

    These ideas are AWESOME! Love the file folder idea. And the song parody idea. Hahahahaha. And TV show idea. My older sister would be the TV show Scandal (on ABC)! LOL.


  6. Thank you, so many Great ideas. Family voted on ugly sweaters for our Christmas picture this year, should be fun.

  7. dawn says:

    Thanks so much for these fun ideas, I loved each one!!

  8. Tami Mc says:

    I love the post, however I’m single and have had a series of life changing (some bad) this last year- any suggestions for including the bad as well as the good in a newsletter??

  9. Maria says:

    Wonderful ideas! I am always looking for ways to spice up our annual newsletter and card. Thank you!

  10. Kayla says:

    Great suggestions….hope lots of people see this as I get some of those long horrible newsletters…..

  11. Jennifer K says:

    Love the file folder idea! Glad someone isn’t telling us just not to send the newsletters at all, but how to send a good one. :-)

  12. teresa says:

    how do we subscribe to your blog? since the new layout, posts are no longer feeding to feedly. i dont want to miss anything

  13. Karen Rice says:

    This is just what I needed to make the letter more interesting this year! Thanks for all of the fabulous ideas Erin! Thanks for the idea to spotlight Erin, Becky!

  14. Cheryl :) says:

    Love your re-designed web site. Have been browsing and thank you soooo much for the Photo Pocket Pages/Digital Template PDF. Wanted something like this to keep above my workstation for quick reference and it’s perfect!!!

  15. Jana says:

    Wow! What wonderful, creative ideas! I am thinking of sending something out this year (for the first time!) and actually hoping to get Christmas cards done – lol. Thanks again for the inspiration!

  16. EmmaJ says:

    This is such a help!

  17. Kaitlin says:

    Are the free Holiday cards still available? I cannot find them on the freebies page! Thank you so much!

  18. But the clothes, with their references to past civilizations, and heart motifs, also represented the fashion dowager’s determined stance against global warming.

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  20. Steve Wilons says:

    How do we get your FREE Holiday Newsletter..? Looks interesting..?

  21. Nancyvargas1 says:

    I enjoy making new crafts ideas especially color sand

  22. Nancyvargas1 says:

    I like new crafts enjoy making them

  23. Nancyvargas1 says:

    Making new crafts like mason jars

  24. Nancyvargas1 says:

    making different projects is fun to do

  25. Nancyvargas1 says:

    You are great and have good ideas for hoildays

  26. Nancyvargas1 says:

    I hope to learn new things

  27. Nancyvargass says:

    creating new ideas

  28. Nancyvargass says:

    being able to make it

  29. Nancyvargas1 says:

    Your crafts are so great

  30. Nancyvargas1 says:

    Can wait to get started

  31. Nancyvargas1 says:

    Crafts I like more than ever

  32. Nancyvargas1 says:

    This is new fo me

  33. Nancyvargas1 says:

    You have awesome ideas in christmas

  34. Nancyvargas1 says:

    Most interesting things

  35. Nancyvargas1 says:

    Becky you are the best

  36. Nancyvargas1 says:

    Neat flowers from crepe

  37. Nancyvargas says:

    Purposely mason jars are good

  38. Nancyvargas says:

    Very good newsletters

  39. Nancyvargas says:

    All of you have wonderful ideas

  40. Nancyvargas says:

    Your crafts are very intersting

  41. Nancyvargas says:

    These awesome Christmas mason jars

  42. Nancyvargas says:

    paper flowers