8 alternatives to the holiday newsletter

Is your annual family update feeling as stale as old fruitcake? Reinvigorate it with these innovative storytelling tools.

We look forward to many holiday traditions every year, but the holiday newsletter -- long, tedious, and full of humblebrags -- is not one of them. Update your friends and family with a more entertaining missive. These eight storytelling tools can help you create a more dynamic photo or video journal that your loved ones will love.

Snapchat (iOS, Android)

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If you're not concerned with creating a permanent holiday keepsake, then a Snapchat story may be your best bet. Snap as usual, tap the Send button, and then check My Story under Stories to add it to your daily record. Now your social circle can see what's new -- but only for 24 hours.

Chime (iOS)

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Instead of writing what your family is up to, why not let them do the talking? With Chime you record a video, add groups of people who can then add their own videos, and suddenly you have a video conversation with each participant showing and telling what they're most excited about this year. The new masks feature lets you add sunglasses, scuba gear, Viking horns, and more.

ListaPost (iOS, Android)

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ListaPost, which integrates with your Instagram account, lets you create lists and save photos that you like to them. Just tap the plus sign under a photo to add it, and the app will ask you to name your list. Then tap any list and the share symbol to share to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or email. Or create a URL to send your list any way you want.

Timebox Photo Organizer (iOS)

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Timebox Photo Organizer automatically turns your photos, videos, and Live Photos taken on a single date into a video diary, complete with titles and captions, for easy sharing with friends and family via messaging, email, and social apps. You can also save these journals as PDFs, if you still like sending greetings out over snail mail.

Bonjournal (iOS, Chrome)

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Bonjournal was designed for creating travel diaries, but there's no reason you can't use it to document your family's journey through the year. Add a bunch of photos that sum up your year, compose a brief note, and share the journal over social media or email. You can also print it as a PDF and send via snail mail.

Memory Box Stories (iOS, Android)

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Memory Box Stories helps you create a time capsule of your year. Choose up to 10 photos and back them with up to 5 minutes of recorded audio. Share with family and friends over text, email, or social media.

Flipagram (iOS, Android)

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Flipagram enables you to shoot music videos or set photos to music. Narrate your presentation, add text, or add music clips from Flipagram's free collection. Apply one of 15 filters and then share with friends and family.

Be Forever Me (iOS, Mac, Windows)

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Be Forever Me helps you preserve important video and audio in the cloud. Shoot a new video or upload an existing one. Or, if you're camera shy, tap Questions on the bottom rail to see dozens of topics. We tapped Accomplishments and answered "What was your toughest accomplishment?" for our holiday newsletter. Be Forever Me automatically catalogs your media, analyzing the audio and video elements of your story. Upload to the Be Forever Me cloud for safekeeping, or share with loved ones via text, email, or social media.

About Joshua Rotter

Joshua Rotter is a copy editor for Download.com and covers iOS.