Life has become so busy that we have all but forgotten the joy of opening a physical envelope containing a letter or card from a loved one. Remember how much fun it was to run to the mailbox when you were knee-high to a grasshopper? Remember how exciting it was to open that birthday card from your grandma or to unfold the crisp pages of the letter (all written in perfect cursive) from that great-great-aunt that you had never actually met in person? Of course, when bills entered your life, some of that joy was translated into “oh no, not another one” – but the pleasure that came from opening and reading a personal, handwritten note could never be entirely erased by the bill collector. Then the bills stopped coming? Did you notice that? Your mailbox became a collection point for glossy print junk mail as e-mail and text messages threatened to make snail mail and voice calls (with real people – not the automated message systems) a thing of the past.
Tired of finding only adverts and other meaningless scraps of paper in your mailbox? Be part of the change. The tide is turning, as people are rediscovering the value of a handwritten note. Communication is about connecting with people, but modern communication takes the personal element out of the connection. Each of us has the power to reintroduce that personal element and add some sunshine to someone’s life. We can choose to invest in our relationships – and no, it doesn’t take nearly as long as you think it does. Pick up the phone and actually call your friend. Instead of sending an emoticon and half a sentence to sum up your state of mind, tell them (with your voice) how you feel. Take the time to ask how they are feeling, and then wait on the line to listen for their response. Or better still, pick up a pen and a piece of paper and invest a few minutes in putting your thoughts down on paper. You don’t have to be a wordsmith to send a love letter, some encouragement, a birthday card, or a simple line or two to let someone know you are thinking of them. If you can send a text message, you are more than qualified to send snail mail. And you are likely to make someone’s day if you take that step and actually drop a mail piece in the mail, push a note (no complaints, please) under your neighbor’s door, or place a cheerful card on someone’s desk when they least expect it. Before you mention it, let me say that having chicken scratch for handwriting does not excuse you. I have received letters in the past that were… how shall I say this… rather difficult to decipher. But I appreciated that it gave my mind a small workout to figure out what was written between the punctuation marks. Chicken scratched notes provide ample opportunity to chuckle at the possibilities as you try to guess the totally illegible words – and everyone knows laughter is good for you. So, if you have ambiguous handwriting, remember that by putting it down on paper and sending it to a loved one, you are actually giving them a double sized gift: a good laugh and a nifty puzzle all wrapped into one.
In celebration of the return to handwritten notes and cards, I am working on a creative project that shares the joy of sending and receiving physical mail. The images in this post include examples of some of my one-of-a-kind, illustrated cards and envelopes that are available in my craft store. These original art pieces can be hand-delivered or mailed (check with the postal system in your country to ensure they comply with your local postal restrictions). These are ORIGINAL artworks (not reproductions), so when you add your own words, you will have something to share that is entirely unique.
I still have family members and friends that make the time to send me snail mail. It remains a delight to find their piece of mail in my mailbox. I do the same for others, so I appreciate that it takes effort and the cost of a stamp to send a handwritten note. Most – perhaps all – people I know are worth the effort (and a stamp). You don’t outgrow this small pleasure – not only of receiving snail mail, but also of sending it. So make this week the week you buy a stamp and write to that person you haven’t written to in many years. Go on – just do it!
Need stationery? Try the family-friendly DIY card kits from Zisubu Artique.