You’ve Got Mail

Are you going stir-crazy after weeks of being shut in? Missing your friends and family but tired of Zoom happy hours? Does wearing a face mask at the grocery store make it harder to smile? We feel your pandemic pain, and we’ve got the perfect solution for digital burnout in the midst of social distancing.

Let’s rediscover the lost art of letter writing.

Just think of that feeling of happy anticipation you get when you’re sorting through your junk mail and find a hand-addressed envelope. It’s usually something wonderful like a wedding invitation or a birthday card. Sometimes there’s even money in it.

A hand-written letter is a rare and lovely thing in this day and age. There’s even talk of no longer teaching cursive writing in schools. Good penmanship is an archaic skill, a quaint memory for those of us who had to write our name dozens of times on the chalkboard till our hands cramped.

What if now is exactly the right moment to dust off your monogrammed stationery and pick up your favorite pen? Maybe it’s a stylish fountain pen with rich black or indigo-blue ink. Or a classic rollerball you’ve been using for grocery lists and post-it notes. Even if you just have printer paper and a dime-store pen, you can craft a beautiful, heartfelt note that will make the recipient of your epistle feel truly special.

Since convenience stores are considered “essential” these days, pick up a box of fold-over note cards or even postcards. Better yet, download vacation pictures from your smartphone and have them printed out on 5X7 card stock. Then use the back to jot a note on the left, leaving room for the address and a stamp on the right-hand side.

Once you’ve gathered your letter-writing materials, find a quiet nook to compose your thoughts. Perhaps you’re on the sunporch or at the kitchen table. Maybe you’re piled up on your elegant Stressless® sofa with your favorite cashmere throw and a warm, purring cat on your lap.

Here are a few letter-writing hacks to get you started:

Find a favorite quote

Whether it’s a song lyric or a funny thing your kid said, quotes can succinctly sum up a range of emotions and set the tone for your correspondence.

Do a practice letter first

If you’re worried about making mistakes in ink and messing up your pretty stationery, write your letter out in draft form on your laptop or on a legal pad in longhand. Feel free to cross things out and rewrite them. Maybe even do the draft in pencil and erase what you don’t like. Then you can copy it with confidence to craft your actual letter.

Enclose something in the envelope

Press a flower under some books or snip a recipe out of a magazine. Perhaps you’ve got an old Polaroid picture that would mean the world to the person you’re writing. Sometimes you look down and see a feather or a four-leaf clover and pick it up. It’s fun to get enclosures in your letters.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to write everyone who’s on your heart and mind. You don’t want to make it a chore like addressing Christmas cards. Think quality over quantity. If you only send one letter this week, you’ll be guaranteed to make someone’s day. As we redefine what it means to be socially connected, staying in touch via snail mail feels like a good place to start.