Christmas News Navigation:
Three short examples
01 A practical joke
02 My grandparents die
03 English Tour
04 Barn swallows
05 Buying hubcaps
06 Group photos
07 Mr. Science
08 Backpacking, Middle English
10 Comfort Clothes
11 Marmots and Texas
12 Eagle, Turkey and Emu
12 Accident and Hike
From Alert Readers:
01 In the Foothills
03 Things unsaid
04 11 Kids
05 Multiple Choice
06 . . . bit my ear
07 Facts and Stats
08 Neiheisel Review
09 Family and Horses
10 Sing a Song
11 The Professional
Erma Bombeck & Martha Stewart
Around the World
Coping with DUI
The 12 McQ's
Other sections on my web site:
These are short examples - a paragraph or two - taken from my own Christmas news letters over the years. They illustrate imitating good writers, acceptable bragging, and cute things the kids say.
Example 1 - imitate good writers. Guess who was reading Dave Barry just before he sat down to compose this paragraph? Intentional exaggeration is known as hyperbole in the writing trade.
Our son will turn 12 soon. His age and shoe size will be the same. People say "6th grade? Size 12?" Yup. We made the requisite jokes about black lab puppies with large paws, having a wide base in case of high winds and going to the poorhouse to pay for a spare set of tennis shoes. He took them in good humor. The current style in manly footwear, at least in grade school, tends toward beefy uppers and thick, wide soles. Given his size and the current style, what he wears looks like a pair of bumper cars with laces.
Example 2 - Acceptable bragging. You can get away with bragging if you work at it; note that I poke fun of myself at least twice here.
In other news, I was insufferable for about a month in August. Our family HMO sent all of its subscribers some sort of official notice. The five of us each got a two-ounce letter, at first class rates. I wrote to the CEO, telling him I was a computer programmer by trade (true), that I consulted on the side for $100 an hour (also true, although no one has ever taken me up on that particular offer) and I could save him thousands of dollars. (Very true, it turned out.)
I suggested they change the mailing program to send out one letter per household, instead of one per person. Sorting on fields and comparing the current record to the previous one is the kind of work programmers do when there isn't anything fun to do; we do it as easily as automobile mechanics replace carburetors. I added that if my suggestion saved them money, a suitable reward might be 10% of the savings from the first mailing, split between two of my favorite charities.
Ten months later, I got a letter from the CEO telling me they had implemented my suggestion. They had just mailed 100,000 letters instead of 166,000. It saved them $32,340. 10% of that was $3,234, so they were sending checks for $1,617 each to the Muir Trail Girl Scout Council and the Leukemia Society.
My kids tend to roll their eyes and groan when I give them advice. (Yours may nod appreciatively and take notes; kids differ.) Now, for the rest of their lives, when mine ignore me I'll be able to tell them "Laugh if you will. Sutter Health liked my advice to the tune of three big ones". Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I realized $3,234 is a very easy number to remember, so when I do mention it (back then it was two to three times a day, but it has tapered down some) I can use the exact amount.
Example 3 - Cute things the kids say.
Last Sunday after church my daughters, two of their friends and I went to
four Chinese restaurants in a row, looking for one that was open and would take
either a credit card or a check. At the fourth one I left them in the car,
dashed in, saw a sign that said "NO CHECKS ACCEPTED", asked if they would take
a credit card. The man behind the counter said he'd take my check if I showed
him my credit card. I went back out, got the kids, and we sat down at a table.
This is one page of over four dozen devoted to Christmas news letters. The main Christmas News Letters page has links to more examples, plus some general guidelines and specific suggestions for writing Christmas news letters. If you have an example, either good or bad, that you'd like to share with the rest of the world, send it to me and I'll add it to these pages.