Dec 22, 2009 David Lang

Sprucing up the Family Christmas Letter

Every holiday season, I write not one, but two (and occasionally even three) family Christmas letters. First, there's my own family's Christmas letter. Rather than writing a laundry list of the previous year's accomplishments and activities, I try to write something with a little devotional value. When I'm finished with that, my mother-in-law gives me her Christmas letter to edit (read: "ghostwrite") and format. Some years, I've even been asked to edit a third letter for my sister-in-law.

With so many Christmas letters sent to many of the same people, I have to work hard to make them look both distinctive and distinct from each other. Thankfully, I have Accordance as a resource to mine.

First, I use Accordance as you might expect: as a biblical resource. I'll often begin these letters with a Bible verse, and as you might imagine, after a decade or so of Christmas letters I've already used most of the obvious Christmas story verses. A few simple word searches in a Search window or Search All window can help me find appropriate verses to use.

I also use Accordance as a visual resource. To dress up these letters, I'll include images of some kind: either family photographs or artistic depictions of the Christmas story. For the latter, I usually turn to the Bible Art module included in every level of the Library collection. This year I used an image showing an adolescent Mary cradling the baby Jesus for my own family's Christmas letter.

My mother-in-law's letter was a little tougher. Because much of her time has been occupied with sorting through her late husband's many tools and inventions, she wanted me to write something revolving around tools. How, I wondered, would I write a Christmas letter with a tool theme?

Carpenter's Tools in PhotoGuide

Then I remembered that the Bible Lands PhotoGuide includes some photos of a reconstructed first-century carpenter's workshop. A search of the English Content field for "carpenters" turned up an image of carpenter's tools which would work perfectly in my mother-in-law's letter. Inspired by that image, I drew parallels between Joseph and my late father-in-law to give my mother-in-law the unified theme she was looking for.

Whether you're writing Christmas letters or creating more elaborate kinds of documents, Accordance is a tremendous resource for finding just the right passage, quote, or image.

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Archived Comments

Rick Mansfield

December 22, 2009 6:47 PM

What I enjoyed even more than your Christmas letter, David, was looking at all your past Christmas letters. It was fun to start at the bottom and watch your hair get grayer and grayer.

One way that I made Accordance part of our Christmas this year was to take advantage of the holiday specials and buy a family member the Accordance Library Introductory package. I've certainly introduced lots of people to Accordance before, but this year, I took a greater step and personally paid for their introductory package.

Maybe this is something new that I can start doing every year.

To borrow from another slogan:

Accordance: when you care enough to give the very best :-)