The Newsy Holiday Letter

Don't let your "holiday letter" be the one people dread.

Who doesn't like receiving a cheerful holiday card this time of year.  We enthusiastically open it to read the cheerful greeting--included may be a short personal note promising to keep in touch next year.

But, what happens to that giddy feeling when you sift through the pile of mail and behold the thick envelope addressed by you-know-who? It's the annual holiday update letter.

The holiday letter can be a great way to let those who care, get a glimpse of what you've been up to.

Make sure that your holiday letter is one they look forward to receiving. Here are a few timely tips to consider:

Tip #1: Send it only to people who want to know.

Tip #2: If they've never met your child(ren), they probably won't be interested in reading about the "Soccer Participation" ribbon they received.

Tip #3: List only 2-3 highlights for each family member.

Tip #4:  Make it brief; one page, two max.

Tip #5:  Do not include: financial woes, kitchen remodel horror stories...keep it uplifting.  It's supposed to be a "greeting", not true confessions.

Tip #6:  Avoid garnishing ordinary tasks or accomplishments.

Tip #7: Do not include people you see on a regular basis; they've heard it.

Tip #8: Include the letter in a card, signed by you.

For more of my timely holiday tips, go to:


Etiquette approach: Use discretion when writing a family update. Not all details need to be disclosed. Be aware of a boastful tone. If you know that someone has been out of work for several months, going on and on about your bonus, vacations, new car, and your growing 401K, may not be wise or kind.  Be sure to wish them a happy, healthy, and prosperous year.

Rosalinda Randall is an Etiquette Consultant. She has been spreading civility throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Her contact information is: http://www.yourrelationshipedge.com/

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

parent 101 December 12, 2012 at 05:54 AM
if it is a man, it is wrong. a girl, it is still wrong, but not as wrong. hope that helps.
parent 101 December 12, 2012 at 05:56 AM
that is my answer for both questions, thank you.
student of life December 12, 2012 at 05:58 AM
parent right 100%, student right 100%, school employee 100% wrong, janitor 50% wrong
Jaws 1977 December 12, 2012 at 06:11 AM
hard to say why the adult wanted to be alone with kid and why school staff permitted it, if it is hush hush, you know they are wrong and protecting themselves
Bren December 12, 2012 at 06:22 AM
Chris, I'm not sure I see what the question is here. In these hypothetical cases you've described, the adult very much appears to be behaving in a way that is inappropriate. This looks less like a question of etiquette and more like a question about protocol, legal and otherwise. That is to say, does the school have clear guidelines in place that determine when, how, and why an adult employee is allowed to be alone with a child? And has the school (or, perhaps, the child's parents) given the child any sort of instruction as to what his or her rights are in a situation like this? And has the janitor been trained or instructed on what his obligation is if he suspects something is amiss? As to your question about gender, that's a tricky one. Obviously, in the first scenario, an adult making a pass at a child is wrong and inappropriate and probably illegal regardless of what gender either of them are. Your second question, about locker rooms, might appear to open a can of worms in that we allow a female gym coach to enter the girls' locker room and a male gym coach to enter the boys' locker room because we assume the coaches in question are heterosexual, and therefore not sexually attracted to students of the same gender. However, we don't bar a lesbian gym coach from entering a girl's locker room because of her lesbianism any more than we'd allow her to enter the boys' locker room on the assumption that her being a lesbian would make it a "safe" situation...
Bren December 12, 2012 at 06:24 AM
The solution, of course, is that in your hypothetical scenario, you're talking about an adult being alone with a kid in the locker room, and I think it's a no-brainer to just say, unilaterally, that we don't want any adult to be alone with any kid, regardless of gender, in a locker room.
Make Believe December 12, 2012 at 06:30 AM
It's more than clear--it is wrong beyond belief! This isn't hypothetical, is it???
Will I Am December 12, 2012 at 06:34 AM
Bren, you're right, the parent has many gripes in both scenarios!
Teacher in Schools December 12, 2012 at 06:38 AM
We are taught to never be alone with a child, so it seems the janitor saved the child from something nefarious.
Sound of Music December 12, 2012 at 06:42 AM
The doors must be WIDE open--no exceptions! Or, there has to be another person present.
James December 12, 2012 at 03:37 PM
This isn't really a hypothetical, is it??? You want to know our opinion as the district Is saying it is ok or not talking, right???
Concerned parent December 12, 2012 at 04:40 PM
My child is at Westborough, and it's already spreading like a wildfire that something happened. We just don't know who did it and who was the victim.
Bren December 12, 2012 at 07:25 PM
So how is this still even a question? You're describing a situation that is clearly, unambiguously troubling, and the genders of the people involved are irrelevant, because some adults prey upon children of their own gender while other adults prey upon children of the opposite sex. Since we have no way of knowing whether the adult in question has a preference for one of the other (or both), the only policy that makes sense is that adult school employees should not be alone with children.
Bren December 12, 2012 at 07:59 PM
So this is something that really happened? Very troubling indeed. If I worked with kids, I personally would not want to ever be alone with one, because innocent people get accused of things all the time. That the adult in this scenario you've described wasn't conscious of that possibility shows that, at the very least, he or she has poor judgment.
JTB December 12, 2012 at 10:37 PM
What a sad state our society is in. Not too long ago I was at the San Mateo City Park with my wife. We went over to the bathrooms near the children's play area and as I was getting a drink of water from the fountain, a small child tapped me on the leg and asked me for some help so that they could get a drink. I can honestly say I never felt so uncomfortable in my entire life. I couldn't even imagine touching the child let alone lifting them up. I just pictured in my mind the helicopters swooping down on me as the mounted police and K9 patrol surrounded me. What have we become? Really...
Austin Choi December 14, 2012 at 10:28 AM
Hi Chris, In your first scenario, as a parent, I'd be more concerned than upset and would want to know what was discussed, whether the door was wide open or not, especially if my child was elementary school aged. For the locker room scenario, in general, there is no reason for a male adult to enter a girl's room just to talk to a female child, and/or female adult to enter a boy's for the same purpose. In both cases, I wouldn't panic, scream and dial 911. (btw, are we getting off-topic as this article was about cheerful Christmas letters?)
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall December 14, 2012 at 08:08 PM
Wow, Chris...in addition to what Santa brings them? :} This year I sent out Christmas/Happy Holiday cards; mailed them out today. I have to be 'feel'n' the spirit of the holiday, otherwise it can become a tedious task.
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall December 14, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I didn't want to assume (about Santa) :} Merry Christmas.
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