As another calendar year comes to an end, it’s not unusual to be filled with nostalgia, sentimentalism, and a bit of the blues; but putting the memories of the year in the rear view doesn’t mean letting go of them.
With an end of year letter, you can preserve and celebrate the memories of the year with new strength and meaning. This project aims to combine memories, harbored thoughts, and words of wisdom in a final piece that captures emotions you might not have believed could be put onto paper. Like most of our favorite projects, an end of year letter is perfectly malleable, giving you the opportunity to make it yours; choose who you write your letter to, how you structure your letter, what photos you include in your envelope, and how you deliver it.
Curious what we mean? Keep reading to see all the ways you can make the most of an end of year letter.
What is an end of year letter?
In simplest terms, an end of year letter is a letter you write at the end of a calendar year with the intention of addressing a person, relationship, lesson or memory from that year. An end of year letter is set apart from just any old letter by including two-dimensional mementos in your final envelope – photographs, receipts, concert tickets; plus, an end of year letter is created with a particular intention, while a regular letter can be written just to say hello.
Who is an end of year letter for?
You can write an end of year letter to anybody. The only person who knows the best person to write your end of year letter to is you – but that won’t stop us from helping you out with some ideas!
You can write a letter to your future self, sharing the goals and aspirations you have for the year. Include photos from a vision board, or surprise future you with a $20 bill in the envelope. Schedule an email to yourself that reminds you of the location of your letter come the end of 2023.
You can also write a letter to your past self. Share all the fears you overcame this year. Include photos of all the friends your past self had never even dreamed of meeting, and all the places you never imagined you’d get to see. It’s a cathartic exercise that serves as a meaningful reminder that we can never truly grasp just how good things can get!
Write a letter to your significant other, giving a glimpse into the thoughts and feelings they might not have known you had at certain parts of the year. This might include sharing how they helped you through a difficult time, that a specific piece of their advice stuck with you, that a simple moment with them was your favorite memory of the year, and so on. Giving them a deeper look into the way they influence your life is the greatest gift of all, and will send you both happily into the new year.
Write a letter to a friend that shaped their year, a new person you were introduced to, or someone who’s completely unaware of the way they touched your life (a random barista who treated you with kindness on a day you needed it, an old family friend you look up to, an acquaintance who inspired you with a social media post). Think of how lovely it would be to hear that you unknowingly played a huge role in somebody’s year – then do that for somebody who played a role in yours!
What should I include in my end of year letter?
In our opinion, the more you can include in an end of year letter, the better it will be. Rummage up receipts, concert tickets, pay stubs, venue wristbands, stickers, and any other small tokens you’ve shoved in your pocket over the year. Then scroll through your camera roll, snapchat memories, and text messages for any photographs or screenshots that strengthen the memories or feelings you mentioned in your letter.
Collecting the things you’ll include in your end of year letter is the best part of this entire project, so have fun with it! With time and effort, you’re sure to collect tangible mementos that have your recipient saying, “Oh my gosh, you still have this!?” Spoiler alert: it’s the best feeling ever.
How do I start my end of year letter?
To begin your end of year letter, decide who you’ll be directing your letter to. Once you have a recipient in mind, whether it be yourself or your loved one, make a list of everything you want to say in your letter: the memories you want to include, the message you want to get across, or the story you want to tell. Then, with these goals in mind, start writing your letter! Take your time and include all of the details and stories you wish.
Once your letter is written, read through it and list out any of the mementos your words inspire. Look for photos you took during each memory, try to remember whether you had tickets or receipts from that day, or screenshot text messages that add details or humor to your stories. Once you’ve prepped all the photographs you want to include, order your photo prints here! They’ll arrive in just a few days – and just like that, your letter is ready to deliver!