Consider the difference between receiving a text message and opening your mailbox to an envelope addressed to you. In an age when technology is the go-to communication method, a letter just feels more thoughtful and nostalgic.
During the holiday season, there’s no better way to show someone you’re thinking of them than with a heartfelt letter.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
If you think one letter fits all, think again. There are various types of stationery (paper and envelopes) and pens to consider before beginning your letter-writing journey.
The paper you write on should embody your personality. For a sleek yet simple design, Smythson is a great option. For the outdoors fan or maximalist homeowner, Rifle Paper Co. never disappoints. Or, if you want options galore, Papier has designs to satiate any stationery need. Plus, there are always a few designer-and-artist collaborations to peruse for a limited-edition touch. Regardless of where you choose to shop for stationery, you’ll be met with a variety of customizable options.
The most affordable option is a flat print design, which means your monogram and any images will be laser-printed onto the paper. A more elevated look requires embossing or engraving, which offers a 3D, raised finish. Although pricier, either option will be sure to impress the person on the receiving end of your note.
Stationery sets also come with corresponding envelopes that can make the experience of opening the letter all the more special.
When it comes to writing tools, you can easily spend a fortune, so it’s important to know what exactly you’re spending your money on. A.T. Cross Company is one of the most luxurious pen brands—their high-end products will make you feel like you’re writing something of the utmost importance (which you are), but they have more accessible options as well. A ballpoint pen is one of the most common types, and it will produce a thicker line of ink because of its oil base. A rollerball pen is similar, but it’s water-based, so you can expect to refill this type a bit more frequently. The upsides to a rollerball pen are that there are more color options and that the ink dries on the paper faster.
For a true nostalgic feel, go for a fountain pen. There are options to suit any individual want or need. So you can spend upwards of $400 on a gold-plated fountain pen, but you can also purchase a beginner version that can still help you achieve an elegant look. The benefits of a fountain pen are that little to no pressure is required and the writing simply looks smoother and more sophisticated.
THE WHO AND THE WHAT
When you actually sit down and begin writing, you might feel stumped. With the ability to text, email, or call someone within seconds, it often leaves the question “What even is left to write about?” But that can be half the fun of letter writing—remembering that you don’t need a special announcement or even distance as a reason for putting pen to paper.
Writing is a great way to remember who you’re grateful for in your life and to let those people know you’re thinking of them. Reminisce on fond memories, share a recipe you think they’ll like, or set up a future virtual or in-person get-together. Doing so via letter will make the upcoming occasion even more personal.
Upgrade your family’s annual holiday card to a handwritten note. Sure, it will take longer, but the result will be well worth it. If you truly don’t have the time to send a personalized note to everyone in your address book, choose friends or family members who you know could really use a thoughtful pick-me-up. Ask how they’re doing, remind them of how special the holidays can be, and reiterate the joy that comes with a new year on the horizon.
Those Who Have Served
Show appreciation for the veteran or serviceperson in your life—or one you don’t know—and send a letter thanking them for their service. Register with Operation Gratitude to write a letter to someone who needs it this time of year.