Despite the wave of new online activities to do with friends, sometimes Zoom just doesn't cut it. Messaging, memes, and Netflix Party, are all great ways to connect. However, none of these are tangible in the physical way a letter is. It might be impossible to hug the ones you love right now, but you can send them something they can hold in their hands, something you have spent time and attention making.
There is a quiet joy in letter writing, in making art or using fun stickers to decorate the envelope. When you write a letter, you are not only having a conversation with someone, you are also creating an artefact they will likely treasure and look back on. Washi tape, calligraphy, wax seals, pressed flowers, and photos, there are so many ways to express yourself creatively with your letters and make something beautiful for your recipient. In the same way people enjoy choosing the perfect birthday present, something to surprise them with, letters are an opportunity to create something meaningful. Every time I receive a letter or postcard, it feels like a gift.
Every time I receive a letter or postcard, it feels like a gift.
The best thing about letter writing is that you can tailor it to the person you are sending it to. Lead your letter-writing style with what you share in common with the recipient. Your friend likes cows? Well then, whack out the black felt-tip pen and you'll make their day with a cow-print envelope. Even if you're not creative, or your friendship is slightly more cursed than wholesome, print out some hideous photos of you together and send them for your friend to decorate their room with. You could even use your lack of artistic talent to your advantage, and send a hilariously bad portrait of them.
Letter writing doesn't have to be romantic, either. It can be anything you want it to be, as long as it'll fit through the post. Do you spend hours debating political ideas? Post them your thoughts on something - they can send it right back annotated with theirs. You could post nothing more than a cool leaf, if you think they would enjoy it. Letter writing doesn't have to be flowery or Victorian, or even long. There are no rules!
Letter writing doesn't have to be romantic, either. It can be anything you want it to be, as long as it'll fit through the post.
Letter writing is also a way to connect on a deeper level, even without any fancy decorations. Asking deeper questions, sharing intimate thoughts, can be easier when you know they aren't going to respond within the minute. The effort that goes into writing and sending a letter can be a more genuine and clear way to say, "I'm reaching out, I care. I want to connect with you". Who wouldn't want to receive that message from a friend?
Featured Image: Julia McGee-Russell