Writing to someone who has cancer over the festive period can seem very daunting. How do they feel about perhaps being in hospital? Not feeling they want to celebrate. Aren't our holiday wishes going to seem insensitive?

We've teamed up with the wonderful charity Live Better With to put together 5 tips for writing what may be a more than usual difficult letter because the last thing you want to do is say nothing at all.

  • #1 Don’t ignore the holiday season. Christmas, as they say, is coming. And it’s best to acknowledge this up-front rather than awkwardly dodge the obvious. Alison and Brian recommend that you “enquire sensitively about plans for the holidays.” This is a nice way to acknowledge that you understand the festive period might be different than usual for your reader.

  • #2 Don’t boast. It’s best not to frame your own holiday preparations boastfully. Instead, try detailing the highs and lows in all their humorous glory! A mishap with your meal prep? Trouble finding the perfect gift for strange Uncle Boris? A cute story about your daughter’s Christmas-tree-shopping experience? All these make for perfect holiday chat.

  • #3 Think about little festive anecdotes to include. Write about decorating the tree (your favourite ornaments, perhaps?) or your favourite holiday films. Chat about your gift plans, or what games you want to play with friends.

  • #4 Share your thoughts about winter. You don’t have to write about holidays as a rule. Instead, consider reflecting on winter, the weather, the usual heating woes, or the pleasant time spent in front of a warm fire.

  • #5 Send a personalised note. “Don’t send the round-robin letter you may be sending to other friends,” write Alison and Brian. Instead, write something more personal. Although it can be tempting to include your loved one with the rest of your holiday mailing list, their circumstances require a bit more consideration. A hand-written note is the perfect way to convey your concern and care at a time when emotions – and stress – may be running high.

Read the full article on the Live Better With website with lots more writing tips here

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