Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Fine Art of Letter Writing

Do you remember the thrill you used to get when you're mother would let you play with the junk mail?  Those special treasures of pre-approved credit cards, grocery ads, and flyers advertising for "free with purchase" items were all new exciting.  There were catalogues to be poured over for hours as fantasies of items danced in your head.
I see that same look of excitement when I had Big Boy the ads from Safeway, Raley's, and the local meat store.  It's as if he's dreaming about what we'll have for dinner some evening.  A strange mix of corn dogs, pizza, and that chocolate cake on sale.  
There's something exciting about mail.  Especially the personal kind.  It doesn't matter how fancy the envelope or stationary, plain or pretty pastels, as long as it has a handwritten address, just to you.  So why is it that we so often put off writing that card or letter?
We say we don't have the time.  There's children to be bathed, laundry to be folded, and a life to be had.  But how much time did you spend sitting in front of the TV this week?  With the Olympics coming up, I can bet that ours will be on nearly non-stop for the next several weeks. Certainly we can squeeze in a few moments to let someone know that we're thinking about them.
We say that there's always email.  But how much more personal it is to receive a personally written letter in your mail box?  Remember that thrill of excitement that we described before?
So here are just a few ideas to get you started:
  1. Remember that a postcard is still just as nice to receive as a card or letter.  They're quick, easy, and you don't have to feel like you need to write a lot.  The recipient won't think about how much is said as much as the fact that you took the time to think of them.
  2. Pre-stamp and address envelopes ahead of time.  Half the battle is finding that elusive stamp that you know you bought way back when you actually paid bills through the mail.
  3. Dedicate just 5 -10 minutes to write.  Say what you can in what little time you have.  Wish them well, remind them that you miss them, and encourage further correspondence when they have time.
  4. Include a recent family photo or pictures of the kids.  Everyone likes to see your smile face and with the invention of photo printers, digital cameras, and photos services like snap fish, it's easy and convenient.
  5. Smile, knowing that you've just brightened someone's day.

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