It’s been happening for about a week now. Every day, the mail delivery contains at least one colorful envelope with my name handwritten across the front. Inside, of course, are Christmas cards, usually decorated with winter landscapes, nativity scenes, and the occasional Santa Claus.
I don’t mean to sound like a jerk here, but I’m not a big fan of Christmas cards. I don’t send them because I don’t have time, and the time I would spend handwriting each card would be, from my perspective, better spent calling them or face timing them to say hello and that I appreciate them.
That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the thought that went into giving me a card. It truly is a kind gesture and I appreciate it.
But truthfully, I wish people would take a little more care and invest some creativity into their holiday greetings.
And if you’re a writer, you’re in a prime position to do that, if not for everyone on your list, then for the people who mean the most to you.
This week, Creativity Matters is going to show you how to make your Christmas cards a little more colorful so you can exercise your writing skills and make your greetings fun and festive.
Write a Christmas Poem
Hey poets—this is your moment! Show off your talent by writing a holiday-themed poem to send to friends and family.
I’m not talking about a cliché poem that includes references to jingle bells, Santa, and snow. Using your own creative style, write a poem that captures your personal experience with the season.
For example, you might write a poem about a special holiday tradition or a family member who has since passed on who made Christmas unique.
And it doesn’t just have to be poetry. If you write prose, you might consider doing a flash non-fiction piece that pays tribute to your family and friends’ personal experience with Christmas.
Here’s a prompt to get you started: think about an event your loved ones have around the holidays or had in the past. Pretend that an omniscient observer is walking through the venue and write about what they see. Capture multiple aspects of the event from multiple angles. Pretend you’re that relative who was always walking around with a camcorder and describe what you see.
You can then use this exercise to either put together your poem or polish the piece itself to use in your card.
Give the Gift of Music
Streaming services are all the rage these days, and all the major platforms offer a way to share your favorite tunes by making a playlist.
After all, what writer doesn’t have multiple playlists for characters, projects, and types of writing?
Design a playlist of your favorite Christmas songs, or, if you want to take a New Year’s approach, your favorite songs of the year. Then, create a QR quote and link it to the playlist and put the code inside your Christmas card.
There are loads of websites to help you make a free QR code. My personal favorite is https://www.qr-code-generator.com/, which couldn’t be any easier. You drop the link to the playlist in the box when prompted and it does the rest.
If we can’t have mixtapes, we might as well make playlists.
Design a Coloring Page
Are you artistic? Design a coloring page to include in your cards. Coloring isn’t just for kids—the stress of the holidays, not to mention stress in general, make coloring and drawing a perfect activity for teens, adults, and even senior citizens.
Coloring has been shown to reduce tension and anxiety and promote relaxation and mindfulness. Putting something to color in your greeting card—or even making the card itself colorable—can be a great gift for your recipients.
If you want to make a coloring page, but don’t want to draw your own, Canva (the free and paid version) has multiple templates for designing them.
Include a Recipe
Feasting and food are huge parts of the holidays and all families have their own culinary traditions. Without Christmas morning breakfast at my in-laws, prime rib dinner with my parents, and the assortment of cookies and goodies that our friends make this time of year, the holidays just wouldn’t be the same.
Print off a favorite recipe and add it to your Christmas card. Better yet, write the origin story of the recipe, including any details about what has made it special over the years.
Add a Tea Bag
C.S. Lewis famously said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” Chances are, you and a lot of your literary friends feel the same way.
Hot beverages and books go together. They just do. In Iceland, they even have a tradition where people gift each other books and they spend the whole night reading and drinking hot chocolate.
Tape a tea bag to the inside of your card, along with a list of the best books you read in the previous year.
Your bookish friends and family will thank you later.
Share the Gift of Writing
Got a friend who loves writing, but needs some help getting a project started?
If so, Inkling Creative Strategies’ Ultimate Writing Project Workbook is for them.
It contains dozens of writing prompts, exercises, templates, and tools to help you get your next book off the ground.
Click here to grab a copy for yourself or share the link with a friend.
We’ve even got a poetry edition if that’s more your thing.
What about you? What's your favorite way to make Christmas cards unique? Drop your ideas in the comments section!