The Written Word never goes out of style. Books. Letters. Journals.
Despite our ever increasing pace, we will always be intrigued by stories and cards. And everyone has a story to tell. A voice, all their own.
Even with technology giving us every piece of information we could ever want or need, all at the length of our fingertips, there is still a need for the written word.
The Importance of Expressing Gratitude
Last year, a very dear friend of mine, Allie Thelen of Thistle and Palm Calligraphy, wrote a piece describing the importance and intrigue of sending holiday cards via snail mail. You can read the whole of it here.
Truly, she has a way with words. Not just their eloquence, but their lettering. All the pictures in this post are example of her work, by the way. Absolutely magnificent, aren’t they?
Merry and Bright. Gather. All of it beautiful.
And I think her point was made clear in her original post, but let me say it again. Handwritten letters never go out of style. Not the writing of them, nor the receiving of them. I know I myself love getting mail. Snail mail, yes. I enjoy it worlds more than I do the reception of email, in fact.
An email, I can read, file away or delete, and it’s gone. There’s nothing special about the typed words, all of which are more than likely in 12 pt font, Times New Roman as they decreed all our papers ought to be in college.
The words may mean something, or not. But the letter is certainly nothing special. Every single uniform piece of text created on a blue screen. Typed up within minutes by a millennial who has been hacking away at a keyboard almost since birth.
But a handwritten card received in the mail, or on top of a package. Now that’s something special. It truly is special, but how do I know?
Give the Gift that Never Goes Out of Style
A handwritten card is made all the more special considering the amount of time it takes to write it. To hand letter each piece. To craft each letter and word, not just by hand but by heart. It takes time. Patience. Things we as a culture are short on stock of, but still needing.
And a handwritten note costs something. It’s not free. Not in terms of time economy or financial cost.
As the price of stamps continues to increase, the amount of snail mail sent to the original inbox, the mail box, is becoming less and less. But rather than making snail mail obsolete, it makes it more precious.
I have older relatives who own zero computers. But they do still own stacks and stacks of stationary and pretty cards.
An email may be free, sent in a second, and deleted just as quickly. But a real, paper card, one you can hold in your hand, it takes time. It holds value.
Every stamp is now at least 50 cents. I think of my six children, whom I intend to keep in touch with the rest of their lives once they leave the nest, and I think on how much a card a week for each of them would cost. $3.00
Over the course of a month, that’s $12. In the course of a year that’s over $150. Over $150 in correspondence in just a year’s time. Just to say hi and I love you.
It may seem more prudent from a financial stand point to just email them all. Send it over the waves into the cyberspace, where it could be opened and read by anyone, or lost.
But a card they can hold in their hand, it means something. It says “I love you” and it says I cared enough about you to take the time to write this and mail it… because you’re worth it.
Fewer and Fewer Christmas Cards
When my older two children were babies, we would send Christmas cards to friends and family every year. Tons of cards. With pictures of our children. And every year, I ordered “only” 50 and so only my 50 closest friends and family received them.
Fifty, by the way, is not a lot when you consider the number of friends and loved ones most of us have. And for me, it was a matter of having to narrow down the list, not once, but twice, and often a third of more time. Because I would only order 50. Because after the cost of the photo for the cards, then the cost of the card itself, added to the cost of the stamp, times 50? Wow. It was a lot.
But now? And for more and more of my friends? We’ve taken to skipping the Christmas cards. The holiday cards. Because of the financial cost. And so that annual reminder of how much that friend or family member is loved, gets skipped. Left unsent.
But it’s just not right. Because time is of the essence. You want to be able to show your loved ones that you care. And with a hand written card, you can.
A handwritten card is a physical reminder to them of how much they mean to you. And that might sound petty, or insignificant, but trust me when I say, it’s not.
I’ve had my bad days. My days where I felt lost, alone, and unloved. But something I’ve been blessed to have collected through the years are stacks and stacks and stacks of beautiful, unique letters my loved ones have sent me. Pictures of funny cats on my birthdays, notes on wide ruled notebook paper with tons of stick figure doodles from friends. And cards saying simply, I’m thinking of you, give me a call some time, and get well.
I still have them.
Emails? Not so much. Phone calls? I have memories. Texts? Who keeps texts?
What I’m trying to say is, spend the 50 cents on a stamp.
Go the extra mile and put your signature and a few kind words on paper. Then stick your handwritten note in the mail.
You don’t have to have professional photos done to make an impact. To let a loved one know how much you care. Just take a sheet of notebook paper, put your thoughts on paper, pour your heart out a little, and tell them how much they’re loved.
This holiday, and always, let your loved ones know you care. Send them a card.
You won’t regret it.
Comment below if you still have the cards your friends and family sent you through the years. Why or why not? Let me know.