Holidays can be a fun topic to share about in letters. It’s likely that the child you sponsor celebrates many of the holidays you do. Every child in the program even receives a gift at Christmas. So sharing about holiday celebrations is totally fine (and encouraged), but here are a few quick guidelines to keep in mind:
- Gifts. It’s OK to share about a gift you received or plan to give for a particular celebration. But avoid pictures of Christmas trees laden with gifts or a pile of gifts as tall as your daughter at her birthday party. Don’t include photos or descriptions of particularly expensive gifts such as jewelry, airline tickets, vehicles or designer bags.
- Food. Sharing about food is a way for your sponsored child and you to share culture, memories, daily life and traditions with each other. However, avoid pictures of excess food. This can include a spread on a Thanksgiving table, a barbecue or a buffet.
Try this: Share whom you celebrate holidays with, what your favorite holiday tradition is, a memory of your aunt teaching you how to cook turkey for Thanksgiving, etc.
Ask: What is your favorite holiday? Why is it your favorite? Do you celebrate [approaching holiday]?
It’s OK to write about trips in your letters. You can share new memories, updated pictures of you family and beautiful pictures of local nature or wildlife you experienced on your trip. Just be cautious about some details.
- Frequent trips. Perhaps you travel a lot for your job or for fun. If you are a frequent traveler, consider leaving some trips out of your letters to your sponsored child. They may become discouraged that they do not get to travel like you do.
- Luxury locations or items from a vacation. Anniversary trips, graduation trips, etc. It’s OK to mention that you’re going on these trips, but just be careful not to send photos of anything that might otherwise call attention to the contrast of the situation compared with your sponsored child’s life.
Try this: Share about whether you prefer the country or city. Describe a funny story about your kids from vacation without mentioning where you were when it happened. Share about your delight in God’s creation and how you love to see the beach or rock formations — without going into too much detail about your recent vacation to see them.
Ask: Have you always lived where you do now? Do you prefer to spend time indoors or outdoors? What is your favorite part of nature where you live?
I know it’s easy to get bogged down by the don’ts. Reading a giant list of what not to include can feel paralyzing and lead you to hesitate to even start that next letter.
Please don’t be discouraged, though. Never underestimate the impact your letters could have on the child you sponsor. Letters are a way to make sure they feel noticed and loved. Letters remind them that they are valuable, thought of and interesting. For more inspiration and ideas on what to write, check out these resources: Sponsors Share Their Best Letter Writing Tips and 12 Ideas for Writing to the Child You Sponsor.
Write to the child you sponsor today!