I think there are two types of people in life: those who enjoy the thrill of sending and receiving hand-written letters, and those who…don’t. I think it takes a certain personality to squeal when an unexpected card from Grandma shows up in the mailbox, next to the junk mail and bills. Opening the envelope to see the personal handwriting is like peeling the wrapper on a cupcake. Likewise, to send a card takes a special person; there is time and thought that goes into touching base with someone via snail mail when everything these days is done instantly through computers and iPhones. You pick out nice stationary, select the right pen, craft a thoughtful message, address and seal the envelope, and stick it in the box!
If this sounds like too much work and no reward, that’s OK; no one wants you to feel bad for how you choose to communicate. But considering how writing letters has been around for centuries and is now a dying art, those who keep it alive are like little do-good fairies. If you’re somewhere in the middle, and you can’t find the time to write frequently but know the value, consider these five notes that should be hand-written and mailed.
1. Thank you cards
I just don’t understand people who never send thank you cards. What happened to the days of writing out a thank you note after birthdays or something special is done or given to you? I’m sorry, but if you think a verbal thank you is all that’s appreciated and gets you off the hook, think again. A hand-written thank you is mandatory. Don’t believe me? Look at how many websites still say hand-written thank you cards after a job interview are critical.
2. Sympathy cards
These are very hard to write, I realize, but it’s another area where a verbal message is not quite sufficient. It’s simply the right thing to do when someone you care about has lost a loved one. Take five minutes out of your day to buy a heartfelt card with a lovely message that captures how you feel, and add in a special sentence or two. Brevity is fine, as it’s truly the thought that counts and won’t go unnoticed.
3. Birthday cards
As we grow up and out of childhood, we stop having big birthday bashes with all of our friend, complete with party hats and piles of gifts. But birthdays are one of those times, as adults, that we already do think to reach out to our pals – usually a phone call or, these days, birthday messages on their social media accounts. Why don’t you be the friend who sends a hand-written birthday message in the mail on a card that speaks to your special relationship?
4. Congratulatory cards
The people you know are buying houses, retiring, having babies, and getting new jobs. These are all wonderful life accomplishments that should be acknowledged! If you ever moved into a home, for example, you know how special it was to walk by a table of beautiful “new home” cards. It was a constant visual reminder of a momentous occasion…and the friends and family who were so happy for you. Return the love and support.
5. Thinking of you cards
The most meaningful things in life are often the least expected. Make someone’s day by sending a “thinking of you card”. Sure, a text message could do the same job, but the happy feeling passes as quickly as it took you to press send. Just something to think about.