People have been writing and posting letters since the 1600’s, but it’s been rather over-shadowed by this digital obsession we’ve got all side-tracked by. I don’t know about you, but my heart skips more than a beat when an envelope plops through the front door with my address written in familiar handwriting. (A WhatsApp ‘ping’ doesn’t quite have the same effect). Whether it’s from a far-afield friend or a sibling down the road, there are few things that can make you feel more loved. And boy, don’t we all need that by the bucket-load at the moment…
Throughout the COVID years, people were sending sentiments more than ever, and with the current doomy, gloomy outlook of recession, war and recent political moronery, I think this need for human bonding and goodwill has been bumped up even more.
During the first lockdown in March 2020, a friend and fellow parent of young kids hand-delivered some funny, sweary but ultimately incredibly thoughtful cards to a small group of us, cheering us on, and telling us we’ll be able to have a drink or two in the pub together soon. It honestly kept me going for a week, and I still have it up in my kitchen now. (You know who you are, you peach).
A couple of months ago, I sent a card with two monkeys on the front to an old school friend who I rarely see, with words inside to remind her that I’m always here. The monkeys have a similar hair colour to hers, so I made a joke that one of them was her with bed hair. I also told her how much I love her. She’s been over some bumps in the road, and a quick text or phone call to check-in just doesn’t have the same effect.
In the title up there, I refer to writing a card as an art. But really, it doesn’t matter if you’re dyslexic, or you can never find the right place for a comma. It’s about the thought, right? And the thought; the empathetic view as well as the extra care, consideration and time taken IS the art. If there is ever a moment for people to be thoughtful towards each other, surely it’s now.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT GREETINGS CARD
Browsing for the right card greetings can be fun, like choosing a gift for someone. Relish it. Consider what will make them smile, or compliment how they might be feeling.
I usually choose blank ones because, to me, it’s the hand-written sentiment that means so much more than a generic, mass-printed poem or standardised ‘thoughtful’ wish, printed by the million. I only and always buy cards that are plastic-free. (Obvz.)
A FEW TIPS FOR CARD OR LETTER-WRITING
Sometimes a blank page can sometimes feel daunting, so if you need help getting started, here are some pointers:
- If someone likes you, they WANT to hear your news! What amused you today? What’s been happening? How is work going?
- People get a huge boost from being told why they’re special. Don’t be afraid to tell them! You’ll fill them with love and give them confidence.
- What prompted you to send the card? The old postcard phrase: ‘I saw this and thought of you’ is still good to use.
- Be silly! Doodle something. Tell a joke.
- If you’re really stuck then gaze out the window and tell the person what you see and how it makes you feel.
- Do you have a running joke with the person? I often sign off as ’57 shits’ to one of my oldest buddies. (It’s a long story.)
Please join me in bringing back letter-sending! Let’s not always wait for birthdays or Christmas, let’s send thoughtful wishes and silly messages whenever it’s relevant. I think life can be so busy that we sometimes neglect friendships. This is one, cheap and easy way to make sure that doesn’t happen. Who’s with me?
You can find out more about the history of our postal service on the 500 years of Royal Mail website.