In this electronic age, it is easier than ever to create and maintain a family newsletter. Your family will love having a way to stay in touch. You can build a website for your newsletter if you are technologically savvy or you can use one of the many websites already online that are designed just for this purpose, such as My Family.com. You can even create a print version, if you wish.
Set up your website. Try and make your family newsletter look as much like a newspaper or magazine as possible. Don’t add a zillion links that are confusing. Keep it simple and keep it small. If you are creating a print newsletter, choose how you will lay it out. You can use MS Word or you resort to the traditional cut-and-paste method.
Send a monthly submission sheet to your family members. Ask them to tell you any news they have – births, weddings, graduations, awards, etc. Most family members will be happy to participate. You can send the submission via email or snail mail. Include next month’s birthdays, anniversaries, events, etc. in a monthly calendar. Be sure to have a happy birthday column for the current issue!
Play games! A favorite with my family are brainteasers. You can find lots of different games of this sort online or at your local bookstore. Another favorite was asking a question each month that each family member had to answer. One question I asked once was: What is your favorite rag? Family wrote in with bizarre answers about their favorite piece of clothing they would never wear outside of home (‘rag’).
Get the kids involved! Ask the young people for their artwork, stores and poems. Kids love having their work showcased in this manner. So do most adults!
Each month showcase one family member by adding a Person of the Month page. Have other family members write in with remembrances of the Person of the Month – funny stories, favorite things, etc. My family really got a kick out of this section of the newsletter.
Your family newsletter is a wonderful place to have family members record their memoirs (personal stories). Preserve history! Don’t lose this precious history! Save digital and/or print copies of each month’s newsletters. At the end of the year you can compile the whole years newsletters into a book for all family members!