clock menu more-arrow no yes

Send a holiday letter about your fictional family to 5 strangers; get 5 letters in return

An envelope covered in snow with a Christmas tree ornament atop it seems as good a way to illustrate this story as any. Thanks, Shutterstock!
An envelope covered in snow with a Christmas tree ornament atop it seems as good a way to illustrate this story as any. Thanks, Shutterstock!
Shutterstock

The art of letter writing may be a dying tradition, but not the art of holiday letter writing. That's an evergreen, ultra-annoying tradition, driven by passive-aggressive sniping toward unliked family members, humble bragging about 5-year-olds, and that one relative who just says, "To hell with it!" and slips a relatively recent picture of the kids in an envelope.

But what if holiday letters could be more than that? What if they could be ... a creative writing prompt?

Christmas Letter Swap aims to do just that, inviting you to write a letter that you then mail to five different addresses you are provided. You then receive five different Christmas letters from all over the world, letters that likely have no basis in reality. (Or maybe they do. You'll never know!)

If you've always wanted people to read your post-apocalyptic tales of alien invasion — and can structure them in the form of a holiday letter — here's your chance! Or you could just invent the most boring possible family ever, and send tales of the really good deal they got on something at T.J. Maxx to random strangers. Or you could barely fictionalize your life, making all of the people who disappoint you into people you can stand. The sky's the limit, really.

If you need advice on what to write, all of last year's letters are up on the site. We liked this one, which had some fun with redaction and suggested something much, much darker underneath the surface of a typical suburban family. But you might find others you love in the archives.

One thing's for certain, however: if you sign up, make sure to write your letter. You wouldn't want to be added to the Hall of Shame.