ROB JENKINS: Create your own holiday newsletter with handy template

If you're like me, you haven't yet started working on your family's holiday newsletter. Actually, if you're like me, you won't start until March, but that's beside the point.The point is, it's never too late to create a fascinating, informative letter or email portraying immediate family members in ways that are both flattering and largely fictional. Imagine the excitement as friends and relatives compare your life to their own pathetic existence. Isn't that what Christmas is all about?

If you find the task daunting, perhaps because you've never written a newsletter, feel free to use the following template. Just insert your own information, which might even be true, in the parentheses where indicated.

Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings one and all! Hard to believe it's the holiday season once again. Seems like it was only last month that (spouse's name) and I were in (Caribbean island) on our annual (family vacation/mission trip/adventure holiday). Oh, wait. It WAS just last month! Ho, ho, ho!

Our family is doing fine. (Oldest child) is now a (year in school) at (prestigious university), where (he/she) is studying (biochemistry/classics/aeronautical engineering/social work) and plans to become a (doctor/lawyer/rocket scientist/day-care teacher for underprivileged children). (He/she) also plays (position) on the (sport) team and was recently named (significant honor). Go (mascot)!!!!

(Second child) is now (age) and a (year in school) at (suburban mega-high school). (He/she) carries a (grade) average in (gifted/honors/AP) classes and recently made a (number >1500])on the SAT. (He/she) also enjoys playing (sport), (sport), and (sport), and well as participating in (Latin club/chess team/Future Developers of Georgia). This summer, (he/she) will be traveling to (foreign country) with (his/her) (church youth group/sports team/fellow affluent and disaffected teenagers).

(Third child), our baby, is (age) and in (grade) at (elementary school), where (he/she) (speaks five languages/is president of the student council/made a record high score on the CRCT). Can you believe it? Seems like only yesterday (he/she) (spoke only four languages/was student council secretary/had never heard of the CRCT). (He/she) also enjoys playing (sport), (sport), and (sport) and taking (dance/violin/piano/monetary policy) lessons.

It's been a big year for (spouse), too. (He/she) was recently promoted to (regional manager/vice president/Speaker of the House) after brokering a major deal with (Coca-Cola/Delta Airlines/Georgia Association of Educators). Yet somehow (he/she) still finds time to coach (third child's) (sport) team and (teach Sunday School/serve as president of the neighborhood association/work with unwed mothers).

This year, we're hoping to take the whole family to (decadent theme park) and visit (spouse's) (relative) in (resort city). (Spouse) and I are also planning another trip to (European nation), which we enjoyed visiting so much in (recent year).

Well, that's about all the news from the (last name) family. We hope to see you sometime, and if not, please write and let us know how you're doing! Until then,

Happy (religious holiday)!

Rob Jenkins is a local freelance writer and college professor. Email him at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com.