Are you stuck for ideas for what to send your loved ones this Valentine’s/Galentines/Palentines day? How about sending them a handwritten letter? What is it about handwritten letters that makes them so special?
When all of the world, and everything within it, has moved onto a digital plain, there is still something to be said for the pleasure of receiving a physical, handwritten letter. At a time when the only things likely to drop through your letterbox are pushy reminders or gaudy advertisements, let someone know how much they mean to you by taking the time to write them a handwritten letter or note.
Benefits of a handwritten letter
It is a truth universally acknowledged that everyone loves receiving a handwritten letter, but we are sending fewer letters than ever. While text, email and private messages may have their perks, they are generally devoid of any form of emotion, and their sheer ease of use and speedy nature have all but killed off the need for sending real, physical, snail mail letters. Yet we are missing a trick! Letter writing and sending have benefits for those sending and receiving them that go far beyond an excuse to get a shiny new pen…
Letters show that you care, in more ways than the words they contain
There’s a degree of consideration given to writing a letter by hand. The words are carefully chosen, the act of creating writing takes longer than tapping away a response. You are saying to the recipient that they are worth the effort of writing something out by hand, walking to the post office, buying a stamp and posting the letter: and that is even before you take into account the contents of the letter! It may be for this reason why handwritten letters hold much stronger clout than a card with a generic pre-printed message or an e-card that takes but a moment to compose and send.
Not only that, but you are also creating something that is worth holding on to. How will romantic movies of the future connect people to the past without the discovery of a bundle of heartfelt, long-forgotten love letters?
Memories you can keep in a drawer
The lost art of letter writing reached its peak during the first world war, with a remarkable 12 million handwritten letters making their way to lonely soldiers’ waiting hands each and every week. While we don’t expect your output to match anywhere near that, there is something to be said for the creation of something that could be kept for years to come.
Seven out of ten of us keep letters we received years ago, with no intentions of parting from them anytime soon. While WhatsApp messages are quickly forgotten, these letters could stick with them for a lifetime, providing comfort long past the time that it was first popped in a letterbox.
A pause in our busy live
Letter writing causes us to pause for a moment and drag our eyes away from one of the many screens that populate our day-to-day world. The act of writing by hand is much slower than typing, and this reduction in speed creates moments in which we can think about what it is we actually want to say. It sets aside time for you to contemplate the person you are writing to, what is happening in their lives, -and yours- and what sentiments you want to express to them. Putting pen to paper has been
proven to be good for our mental health in copious ways, when combined with making someone else feel special and allowing you to express how you feel, there can only be good things to come from stopping for a moment to get the words down on paper.
Plus, they will make you feel closer to the individual you are writing to, and in turn, they will feel closer to you, for the effort you have put into crafting and sending the letter.
They give you a chance to practise your handwriting!
Be honest, when was the last time you wrote something down with an actual pen and piece of paper? While there may be decreasing levels of legible handwriting within the general population, penmanship and the art of calligraphy are going through something of a renaissance. Letter writing allows you to keep your school-taught cursive readable (use it or lose it) or lets you practise your new found skills with an actual purpose attached.
How to write and format a handwritten letter
Remember you are not writing a business letter, so you do not need to be so strict about the layout, but you do want it to look its best. Here are our top tips for making a letter all that it can be:
- Choose a good pen to give your handwriting the best chance at looking its best.
- Let’s face it, most of us don’t do much handwriting in our everyday lives, so writer’s cramp is a very real possibility. To combat this choose a smooth writing pen that does not require too much pressure to work, and which does not jut and skip ink. Fountain pens will always be the best option for this, not just because they provide the best writing experience possible, but also because you’ll feel like an extra in a period drama while doing so. Rollerball pens also work well with writing, especially as they use a more liquid and pigmented ink, which makes for better handwriting both in the smoothness of the lines and the satisfyingly solid makeup of the letters.
- If you are prone to mistakes, Or don’t immediately know what you want to say, it can be a good idea to have a practice run on a separate piece of paper first, then writing it up neatly afterwards. Don’t be afraid of minor crossings out – they add character.
- If the letter is an important or special one, invest in good writing paper, such as our Katie Leamon writing paper, which comes in three colours and has a satisfying luxurious thickness of 135gsm weight.
- Adding the date can be a nice touch, especially if it is a letter that they will probably want to save.
What to write in a handwritten letter
At first, you may find yourself writing in a stilted voice, but try to write as you would speak to the person – it is your words in your own voice that they are wanting to read, not a formal version of it. You don’t need to be a wordsmith to get across how you feel about the other person, in fact, it is the very mundane details of your shared experiences that will make it the most meaningful addition to their keepsake box.
If, however, you are looking to write your valentine a deeply romantic letter, declaring your unending love, you could take a look at the missive that Johnny Cash wrote to his wife June Carter for inspiration.
Sometimes, a letter can feel like too big of a task, especially if it is for an occasion that calls for a small, to the point note. In this instance you could always send a handwritten note on one of our beautiful notecards, perfectly designed for any occasion and any recipient.
If you want to write more handwritten letters in general, there are many occasions that call for them: Thank you notes for gifts and invites; Christmas catch-ups; lengthy birthday correspondence; notes to sick relatives or colleagues; to share recipes or other information worth keeping (it will be loved so much more than a shared webpage).Or to repair broken relationships: Letters, due to their potential to show that you care, and their ability to make you slow down and consider its contents can be wonderful ways to repair neglected connections, be they neglected friends, long-forgotten relatives, those you have argued with, or simply to remind your partner how much you care for them.
Letter writing is definitely coming back, and we are all for it. There are many programs running that need penpals for people who are lonely, who would love to receive a letter written by you. If you want your letter to be the beginning of a regular habit, invest in the proper tools of the trade with one of our curated letter-writing gift sets. Whether you are writing to a loved one this Valentine’s day, leaving a note for your mother or simply want to rediscover the art of letter writing, we applaud you and eagerly await your (handwritten) reply.