I have loved to write letters since I learned how to read circa 1995! One of my aunts was kind enough to be my penpal (she lived two hours away, which required long distance calls … letters were cheaper). I still remember that feeling of excitement when my parents would arrive home from the post office with one of her letters! Those letters absolutely made my week. I’ve carried a strong enthusiasm for snail mail into adulthood, and today, I’d like to share the seven reasons that I continue to write letters.
1. You Can Enjoy a Digital Detox
Communication these days is incredibly easy. At this point in history, in particular, we rely on our devices to stay in touch. Facetime, phone calls, emails, and texts are keeping us connected during a time where we’re mostly staying at home. While I’m grateful that quick communication options exist, all that screen time starts to grate on my nerves after a couple of hours! If you also like to indulge in digital detoxes, you’ll love how writing a letter helps you to keep in touch without technological devices.
2. It’s Easy to Reconnect in a Considerate Way
Throughout the COVID-19 quarantine, I’ve been reconnecting with friends who I haven’t spoken to in years. The best way to reignite some of those relationships has been through letters. That’s because a text, phone call, or an email might be a little bit out of place. Our modern modes of communication tend to encourage an expedient response, which puts a bit of pressure on the recipient. A letter is a considerate and gentle way to reach out, especially if you’re coming out of the woodwork after a long time.
3. Write Letters for Tangible Memories
At the risk of making myself sound like a luddite, the problem with electronic messages is eventually they disappear. I mean, electronic messages are searchable, but they can be tedious to sift through if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for. And there are compatibility questions … half a century from now, will we still be able to read today’s texts? Letters are one thing that you can count on for lasting memories! I have a box of letters dating back two decades, and I love to get it out every once in a while and reminisce.
4. You Can Personalize Letters in a Unique Way
When you communicate via text, you’re limited in ways to say what you want to say. Sure, you can make text bold or add an emoji, but there’s nothing like a hand-written letter to convey emotion! When you write a letter, you can switch up your writing style to emphasize things, make a little illustration of something you want to describe, or use your handwriting to (perhaps unintentionally) convey an emotional state in general. You can also curate the materials that you write on and customize your writing utensils!
5. Letters Make an Impression
I already mentioned that I remember letters fondly as a special part of my childhood! But, honestly, I don’t think that you have to be a certain age to love receiving letters. Now that I’m in my early 30’s, I still love getting snail mail! I’ve carried on my aunt’s tradition of sending the occasional letter to my little nieces in Kansas. They really enjoy the experience of receiving my letters, especially since I take care to include pretty little trinkets (like stickers and washi tape), and I write in short words that they can sound out.
6. You Can Send Little Gifts
One thing I love about snail mail is you don’t have to just send a letter! Your snail mail can include little goodies that will delight the recipient. For example, take a look at the photo below of everything that I included in my latest letter to a dear friend. The packet included a calligraphy ampersand, some magnets, a couple of recipes, a three-page letter, and a lovely envelope.
7. Writing Letters is Therapeutic
No matter what your situation, a quiet time-out is never out of place! At my house, I have a favorite letter-writing spot and time: in the corner of our basement couch, always in the evening before bed. With a rambunctious toddler keeping me on my toes, writing letters provides a welcome, relaxing retreat — one that my child lets me indulge in without protesting. (Now, if I’m on my laptop, that’s another story!) Once I finish a letter, I always get the contented feeling that I’ve had a conversation with a good friend.
If you’re confused about what to write in a letter, check out Elegant and Effective Letter Writing Tips article! The Art of Snail Mail article is pretty old, so its photos aren’t the best, but it’s also inspirational. Of course, The Letter Writer’s Complete Resource is fabulous for those who are excited to launch into writing organized, eye-catching letters to friends and family!
If you have input on sending snail mail, I’d love to hear from you in the comments! Some people absolutely love it, while others would prefer to stay in touch via text and emails. What do you think? I’m curious!