CAMDEN – Want to write a perfect holiday newsletter? Here’s how in eight easy steps:

1. Open with a broad, exclamation-pointed statement of family pride in the year’s doings and accomplishments.

This has been a fabulous year of exotic travels and incredible accomplishments for the Evans family!

2. Begin specific boasting, balanced by a bit of self-effacement. (Continue to close each sentence with an exclamation point.)

In August, Jane and I took both children camping for a wonderful weekend in Maine’s unorganized territories! Our 5-year-old, Jack, learned how to spell “Meddybemps” and proudly recited the letters every 10 minutes or so throughout the weekend!

On the ride home, he surprised us all by reciting the letters backward! He’s smarter than his old man, that’s for sure!

3. Show pride in your spouse, but manage to bring yourself into the context, too.

Jane is in her 10th year volunteering as a pew-polisher at our church, where she also fills in on occasion as a mezzo-soprano in our award-winning choir! I accompany the choir each Sunday on an acoustic guitar I learned to play many years ago under the tutelage of the late Ralph Dobson, a close friend of Burl Ives!

4. Deliver any bad news ambiguously so as to not bring your readers to tears.

In August, I left my position as associate inspector of sinkholes and potholes for the state of Maine in order to spend more time with the children!

Jane, not wanting to cut into my time with the kids, signed on as a full-time quality-control taster for the St. Agatha Whoopie Pie Kitchen!

5. Tell readers how unique and special your pets are.

Our vertically- and horizontally-challenged horselet Sneezy, whom we rescued from a farm in Brooks where he was being teased by standard-sized horses, loves his backyard pasture on our extensive property, where he neighs on cue each time we show him a carrot!

Our indoor cat, Riptide, regales us at dinnertime by jumping up onto the hand-carved Amish table and pawing at the centerpiece of fresh-picked flowers from our gardens, while our gentle Kennel Club-registered pit bull, Trusty, looks on from his special bed under our 18th-century original-patina Hepplewhite sideboard, which you may have seen on “Antiques Roadshow”!

6. Casually mention positive family genealogy whenever the opportunity arises.

Our 10-year-old daughter, Hepzibah (or “Hepsie”), named after the fry cook on the Mayflower, an ancestor on my wife’s side, went to Antarctica in April on a humanitarian field trip with her fifth-grade classmates from the Scholar School, a highly selective independent day school with a beautiful campus just down the road from our home!

Finding no homeless people there, they cut their trip short, returned home and held free seminars on frostbite for seniors!

7. Include news about members of your extended family.

My father recently retired as executive vice president of research for the Maine Mustache Wax Company in Bangor, where he earned three patents for color-matching during his 45-year career! Mom is well-known locally for her work with Women and Men, an activist group that opposes the use of creative signage on public restroom doors!

Jane’s folks again spent the summer in their custom-built post-and-beam home, De Rerum Natura, in Greenville on Moosehead Lake, where they double-scull daily!

8. Finish with a spiritual flourish.

Our family is truly blessed to have such accomplished members in all generations! Jane and I join with Hepsie and Jack in praying that you can someday say the same thing, or at least something close to it, about your own family! In the meantime, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Charles Packard, a writer, lives in Camden.