December is fast approaching, and if you are the organized kind you have probably already started writing a list of the holiday cards you’ll send out. This year in particular, when we are all longing for social interaction, a thoughtful card in the mail will be even more special. The tangible alternative to yet another zoom call can, in some small way, provide solace for many, especially those struggling with isolation.
We understand the convenience of an email and the swiftness of a text message, but the extra effort spent on the old-fashioned gesture of a handwritten note is never overlooked and always appreciated. It shows that we care.
Not Just Any Card
Find that special card. The more careful thought you put into finding something special the more treasured the note will be, whether it’s buying that one-of-a-kind work by a local artist, diving through vintage postcard bins at your local thrift shop or – better yet – letting your creativity run free and making your own cards. Make it an art challenge! Last week, Uppercase Magazine and Lilla Rogers Studio launched a #stayhomefortheholidays art challenge inviting people to create art and beautifully illustrated or hand-lettered designs, posters and letters to spread a message of health, kindness and togetherness (from a distance) while encouraging people to stay home over the holidays to help reduce the chances of Covid-19 exposure.
Go Beyond Friends and Family
A handwritten note is a thoughtful way to show your love to friends and family, old colleagues and prospective clients, but have you ever thought about the impact this seemingly small gesture can have on a stranger’s life? It could be significant, especially for those going through hard times. There are many organizations that forward handwritten notes to people who might need a little cheer. Here are three that caught our eye:
- 18 Million Thanks was created to show gratitude to the 18 million healthcare workers in the US during the Covid-19 crisis. The organization can forward your handwritten thank-you notes to participating hospitals.
- Send a Smile Today can provide hope, love and support by forwarding your cards to cancer patients who have signed up for the program. Their website also provides ideas of what to write.
- More Love Letters update their website every month with nominees who could use some cheer in their lives. You read their stories and select someone to write to, and at the end of the month the organization forwards a bundle of letters to each nominee.
Make It a Year-Round Practice
While season’s greeting cards this year will be more appreciated than ever, consider sending handwritten letters year round. It doesn’t need to be an official special occasion – novelty holidays like “National High Five Day” (April 18) and “National Best Friend’s Day” (June 8) are twice the fun because they are unexpected. If someone you know has experienced a loss, consider sending a sympathy card again a few months after their loved one’s passing. Those cards can be even more welcomed by the recipient who is still feeling the loss. Send cards just because, as a way to let the other person know you are thinking of them. Or even make it a month-long project! Mixed media artist and designer Lucie Duclos has made it her mission to spread cheer this month. “A card a day keeps the blues away,” she says. “November is a hard month for a lot of people so I have decided to send one thing in the mail every day to somebody: a friend, a family member, one of my students.”
The possibilities are endless! What other special mail ideas can you think of or have you experienced? We’d love to hear about them.