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National Letter Writing Day

National Letter Writing Day

Dear reader, it’s been so long since we wrote, but we have no excuse today because it’s National Letter Writing Day on December 7! Letter writing has been in decline because of smartphones, the Internet, and, before that, the telephone, but for hundreds of years, it was the only way for people separated by distance to get in touch with one another. Today is great to get back to basics and handwrite a letter. But isn’t the idea of sitting down for half an hour and handwriting something to somebody special? We miss it. Don’t you? Write back soon. Love, us.

National Letter Writing Day Timeline

1494
Columbus returns
On returning to Spain from America, Christopher Columbus writes to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, reflecting on his conquest in an era before airmail.

1847
First stamp
The first American stamps featured Benjamin Franklin and George Washington and were authorized by an act of Congress.

1918
First airmail
The U.S. government instituted daily airmail flights between New York and Washington D.C.

2013
Disrupting the system
US Postal Service agrees to offer Sunday delivery of Amazon packages.

National Letter Writing Day Activities

  1. Buy some nice paper
  2. Sure, you could order some online, but in keeping with the analog spirit of the day, why not find a stationary store and pick some nice paper up in person? There are all kinds of textures and weights available, and you can buy your envelope or perhaps make one. There’s a broad limit on how crafty you’re allowed to be, as long as the address label is visible to the post office and they can see where to send it!
  3. Write a letter
  4. Maybe you’d like to reconnect with old friends or pick a political figure to whom you’d like to express something. If you’re into a particular issue like saving the bees or looking out for our marine life, check out the post office for stamps that show those things. Or the recent black heritage series has important figures from black history. If the letter is formal, don’t forget to Google the appropriate salutations! (Dear Sir!)
  5. Don’t forget the wax seals
  6. If you want to make an impression on your recipient, you can buy some old-fashioned sealing wax and a seal with your initial on it so that it looks like they’re getting a letter from the Count of Monte Christo. We love how creative and expressive you can be with a little sealing wax, and it’s the perfect touch to make your letter even more special.

Why We Love National Letter Writing Day

  1. It makes you think before you write
  2. In the age of the backspace key, it’s so easy to take back a thought once you’ve expressed it, but it means we’ve lost the art of reflecting before we communicate and then expressing a thought or a sentiment in a flowing cursive hand. In Finland, for example, schools no longer teach handwriting, with students given a choice to learn to type instead.
  3. It’s an opportunity to reconnect
  4. How many of your hundreds of social networking friends have you connected with intimately over the last year? We love National Letter Writing Day because it’s a chance for you to pick a couple of those folks and send them something through the mail that will break through the noise. In the modern era, there’s almost something weird about giving someone your full attention, but that’s what’s so neat about National Letter Writing Day. It gives you an excuse to make a special connection!
  5. Stamps and letter-writing papers are awesome
  6. These days, big corporations are the biggest users of the U.S. mail system, but that means many of us are missing out on the physical pleasures inherent in writing a letter on nice stationery and sending it through the mail system with a stamp. From famous presidents to wildlife and sports and celebrating important aspects of our country’s history, stamps are a neat way of expressing your personality through the postage system.

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