Do you love receiving hand written notes in the mail? Working out whose hand writing it is and wondering what's inside the envelope? Do you still have some letters or cards you were once sent kept in a special place?
I do and I used to always hand write thank you notes for presents or hospitality or to let someone know I was thinking of them. I've been a bit lacking on that front lately especially with birthday cards but have a passion for resurrecting the art of the hand written note. Part of that is driven by a love of stationery but for the main it's about spending the time thinking about someone and writing something personal to them for whatever the occasion. I know how much I love receiving hand written notes so I want to spread that love around too.
Email and text is great for every day interaction and even Facebook for that matter but it doesn't require much thought or effort, which I know is why we default to using them but the memory of the feelings that the sentiments written in that style of communication isn't really retained for any length of time and it doesn't make the recipient feel particularly special. Every now and then it's good to go back to the old fashioned way and write something heartfelt even if it's just a few lines. Don't you think?
I've put together A Box Of Guide to The Art of the Hand Written Note to help us BRING BACK THE HAND WRITTEN NOTE!
Thank You Notes
Thank you notes can show your genuine gratitude and appreciation. If someone has taken the time to choose and give you a gift, prepare a meal or invite you somewhere for example then the small amount of time it takes you to hand write a thank you note and post it can generate such a sense of appreciation in the recipient and bring joy to their day. That's nice isn't it?
I still have some of the letters I received after my Dad passed away, at such a sad time receiving heartfelt notes of sympathy and friends sharing little stories about their memories of Dad would bring a smile to my face and lift the sadness even for a moment. It's nice to touch and feel those letters sometimes too.
I found this post by Jo Goddard and her sister Lucy helpful for "How to write a condolence note". Lucy's husband was Paul Kalanithi who wrote "When Breath Became Air", Lucy shares what types of notes made a difference to her after his passing.
Don't be afraid that you don't know what to say, showing sympathy and simply saying you are thinking of the person goes a long way. Hand writing out a poem even if it's written by someone else shows that you have spent time thinking about your friend or loved one even if the words aren't your own.
Sending someone a note congratulating them on a new job, promotion, getting into a university, a team, winning something or achieving something they had been working on for a long time, getting married, pregnant, whatever the reason sending a note is a lovely way to stay connected and let the person know you are happy for them.
Having a stash of stationery to hand (shameless plug here for our ABO Stationery Subscription Club) & stamps makes sending a note easy. Just write your words, pop the letter or card into an envelope and into the mail it goes.
Just Because Notes
If you have beautiful stationery around you why not use it and send friends notes just because you liked the card and wanted to share it with them. It will brighten their day and make you feel good having done something nice for someone else. A note of encouragement is also always lovely to receive don't you think?
We chose pineapples to be on our "Hello Sunshine" friendship cards because the pineapple traditionally symbolises 'welcome" & hospitality as well as friendship, generosity, warmth and other forms of social kindness plus we like they way they look, crown on top sweet on the inside!
Now that we have moved to a new city my daughters have started writing to their friends back in Sydney, yes they Facetime too but they already understand the joy it gives and you get when there is a letter or card waiting for you & just for you, in the mail when you get home from school. Bring back Pen Pals I say! What do you think?
I now have a birthday calendar on my office wall & at the start of every month I get together cards for all the people I want to send them too. Having a stash of cards (there's that plug for the Stationery Subscription Club again) means that I can do this whenever I get a quiet moment and don't have to worry about going out and getting a card.
What I do need to get better at is writing something more meaningful than just "Happy Birthday"
I still remember being given a note from a prospective boyfriend, it was a piece of exercise paper wrapped around a screw and the words on it were "Wanna screw?" that is NOT the type of love note I was meaning (and no he did not become my boyfriend but it did make me chuckle & I still remember it!). I think Charlotte Bronte summed up the appeal of love notes much better in Villette when she wrote;
"He wrote not because he like to write; he did not abridge, because he did not care to abridge. He sat down, he took pen and paper, because he loved Lucy and he had much to say to her; because he was faithful and thoughtful, because he was tender and true."
Ahh. An email or text just isn't the same as that is it? Does it inspire you to bring back the art of the hand written note?
While I was being flippant before about our stationery subscription club if you do want to become part of it we'd love to have you, just pop in here to sign up. If you want to try before you commit long term we also offer a sample pack & you can check out the details of that here.
Lastly, on the art of the hand written note, it takes time to hand write something, use it as a time to slow down and savour the moment your thoughts and your memories. You are creating new ones while you are doing it.
Are you a letter writer? Any tips to add? Want to join us in bringing back the art of the hand written note?