Holiday letter notes

My “write something” resolution for the past couple of days has been subsumed into the task of producing and mailing our holiday letter.

We haven’t done such a letter in many years. Somehow there were always more pressing tasks, and the steps to get a letter mailed didn’t all get done.

But it’s been a peculiar year and one thing I actually have this year is time. So, we made a letter.

Writing the letter text is just the first step. Then I had to choose appropriate photos, trim and arrange them nicely around the text, put together an address list, order stamps and envelopes and paper that would support printing photos on both sides… so this post is to note down how I did that, so I can just do the work and skip the research next year.

Letter composition: I prepped most of the photos in photoshop, but used word for the actual letter. You can do a ton with overlapping photos, uploading png files with irregular shaped edges and wrapping the text right around the image, etc. Word also supports producing a PDF version to send out electronically, and seemed to print up nicely. Maybe if I knew how to use indesign I would prefer that, but I didn’t need to be learning a complex new program for this project.

Paper – have discovered that 28-weight bright white paper works to print decent looking photos on both sides of the page.

Addresses: I knew in the past I stalled at the stage where I needed to actually address and mail the things. So I wanted to just do address labels that I could peel and stick quickly. I discovered you can do an export of addresses from either outlook or Google contacts into a csv file, edit them as needed, then there is a template from the company (Avery) to set up the label printing. Their online tool is pretty neat, allowing you to design label art and configure your fonts, positioning, etc just right before generating a merge document from your address list.

So that’s the things I don’t want to forget next year. Hope people like their letters.

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