Once upon a time, if you wanted to get in touch with someone, you sent a letter.
It’s no big secret that postal services are hurting. The advent of the internet and email gave us e-cards and online banking. Recessions gave us less money in our pockets for mailing and shipping. Environmental issues have us curbing the amount of paper we use. Technology is making us flat-out less personal with one another. We’re lucky if we even send out real Christmas cards anymore. Facebook, Twitter, and every other social media outlet has us convinced that we can still connect with our fellow man by just skimming our way through their life story.
Letters still exist. Letters say you care. A good chunk of the younger population out there has probably never even received an honest-to-goodness letter from someone. Sure, they take time out of our supposed busy schedules, but remember how it felt when you opened a letter knowing someone was thinking about YOU? And ONLY you? While you still have the chance, pick up a pen and a piece of paper. Sit down and write a letter to someone. SEND IT. No email, tweet, or status post will mean as much to a person as the time they know you took to focus on just them. They can hold your letter in their hand… see the emotion in your writing… have a little piece of you arrive at their door. A little piece of happiness.
Don’t we all still want that?
Here are some small ways you can keep the nostalgia alive and your mailbox happy:
- Leafcutter Designs — Teeny, tiny, personalized mail that you can actually send to someone for everyday correspondence or special occasions. This is what you get with the World’s Smallest Post Service, or WSPS for short. Each letter comes with a tiny magnifying glass so your eyes don’t go all buggy trying to make out the message. Bonus: WSPS is just one of many creative ideas spawned from the noggin of Lea Richmond at Leafcutter Designs.
- Postcrossing— The idea of a pen pal is fading right along with snail mail, but you can still make a connection abroad with the handwritten word. Postcrossing allows you to send and receive postcards to and from countries around the world with their automated address list. I joined a little while ago and was excited to send my first cards off to Russia, Finland, China, Ukraine, and the Netherlands. Bonus: Take your communication further by participating in forums or opt in to receive mail directly.
- Telegram Stop— When telegrams were a main method of communication, punctuation cost extra when composing your message. The word “stop” was inserted at the end of a sentence instead. Revive this classic piece of history with Telegram Stop. Based in Australia, Telegram Stop sends an authentic-looking message, complete with stops, to anywhere in the world. Bonus: One rate covers anywhere on the globe!
- Postcarden— If you live inside the European Union, you have the good fortune of being able to send someone there a PostCarden. As a recipient, you can get one of five postcard-styled boxes that open up in 3-D form, allowing you to plant the enclosed seeds and grow your own miniature garden. Bonus: You can eat it, too. The greenery. Not the paper, crazy.
- bARTer Sauce— Brought to you by Rosalie Gale of Unanimous Craft and Ugly Baby Shower Art, bARTer Sauce is an experiment in trading for art and odd objects with a story behind them that you provide… real or not. Sign up now and you could be a foster home for goods like a house hat, transvestite robot, or a paint-by-number sailing ship!
- The Post Culture— A celebration of the art of snail mail. “Lovers of fine paper, good penmanship, beautiful stamp design, and the hint of perfume on an envelope from another time and place.” Follow along on Twitter (@PostCulture) and postculture.posterous.com
Beside bills, what kind of snail mail do you still send?