One day not so long ago, we were enjoying a quiet weekday afternoon at home when, unexpectedly, a courier truck pulled up in front of our home. Could it be...? When you live clear across the country from your family, visits from couriers become more frequent, and are a cause for excitement. Alas, the driver was simply taking advantage of the available parking spot in front of our house, and another family on our street was the lucky recipient of the parcel.
This experience led us to a chat about mail, and how it has evolved in recent years. While email and social networking sites have certainly shrunk the miles and opened communications (I send Facebook birthday greetings to people I haven't seen in years, never mind knew when their birthday was), it has caused actual paper greetings to slow to a trickle. Even between people who are close, such as family members and good friends, "I wrote on her wall" has become the modern equivalent of "I sent her a card." And while any greeting is better than no greeting (don't get me wrong, I love that wall o' love on my birthday!) there is nothing like the excitement that comes with receiving actual mail. Not bills, or statements, or junk mail, but a letter or a card or (insert squeal here) a parcel!!!
My cousin Ainsley of Pattycake Manners is a wonderful correspondent. Her handmade seasonal greetings are eagerly anticipated in our family. Seeing those hand-stamped envelopes in my mailbox gave me a little lift during a sometimes lonely first year away from home. Indeed, the first pieces of mail I received in British Columbia were a BC Hydro bill, and a card from Ains. I was looking at my collection of cards the other day, and it occurred to me that I should perhaps be returning the gesture at other times of the year besides Christmas.
Well, this train of thought led to the fact that there are lots of folks out there that would enjoy a greeting, something to add a bit of excitement to checking the mailbox. It was then that I decided I was going to reclaim snail mail and spread some joy, one stamp at a time! Furthermore, I am going to share my pursuit with you! And if this little exercise inspires you to put pen to paper and spread the love, snaps to you!
First up is probably the simplest way to ease into note writing. Postcards. Postcards are nifty and retro! The real beauty of them is that they can only hold a few words. How many times have you sat down to write a letter and couldn't decide what to say? Oh, we have no problem dashing off witty comments on our friend's status updates or tweets; basically, we're good to go with 140 characters or less. A blank sheet of paper, however, leaves us floundering. If this sounds familiar, try a postcard. You'll make someone's day without the stress of writing a doctoral thesis on "how you're doing."
So, where can you find postcards? Once you start looking, you'll see them everywhere. In Canada, Canada Post sells a good line of cards with prepaid postage; I like to pick these up and keep them on hand for quick "thinking of you" notes to the folks back home. Dollar stores often sell postcards. Tourist attractions and souvenir shops are great sources; if you have a cool attraction in your area, pick up a bunch of cards featuring it and send them to friends who live far away. Anything featuring the Giant Fiddle of my hometown, Sydney NS, gets a huge response.
So have fun with it! Yes, it costs more than a digital greeting, but really, you can't put a price on happy! And a postcard is about the most cost-effective happy-maker I can think of.
Have a great week! See you on Friday!