Encouraging Good Holiday Letters

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The Minnesota Historical Society’s Local History Services helps Minnesotans preserve and share their history. This blog is a resource of best practices on the wide variety of museum, preservation, conservation, funding, and non-profit management topics. We’re here to help.

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Encouraging Good Holiday Letters

By: grabitsdm | November 24, 2010

Praest Hus at Gammelgarden near Scandia, Minnesota

Last year this blog posed a question on Collecting Christmas Letters, for which there was a solid response. To expand on this question, are there any historical organizations offering training on how to write good annual summary letters?

One reason that a historical organization might offer such classes is that such an activity might be seen as relevant and useful to the public. How often have historical organizations been accused of not being relevant or even an "optional extra"? By offering something that people can immediately use, historical organizations can further dispel doubts about relevancy.

There are other far more practical reasons, perhaps, than just plain relevancy.

Since everything should start with mission, and missions of local historical organizations are usually to collect, interpret and preserve, training the public to write solid letters would go a long way towards that mission.

Articulate and insightful letters that evaluate a person or family's experience in the past twelve months are better additions to a research library than letters that lack such clarity.

By providing such classes a historical organization may attract a new audience that it has not previously served. Those people for whom the organization is new may never have thought much about history, their own legacy, or the good work being done by the organization.

By attracting new people, the organization may find new friends willing not only to donate a copy of their annual holiday summary, but also willing to contribute money and time.

Here are a few useful sites for learning how to write solid holiday letters:
How to Write Family Christmas Letters
Seven Tips for Sparkling Christmas Letters
Christmas News Letters - Suggestions and Examples
Christmas Letter Tips.com