Yellow school bus mailbox.

Bringing Back the Handwritten Letter

Updated June 1, 2020 . AmFam Team

Looking for some inspiration on how to write a letter? We’ve got some ideas to help you get started!

With all the forms of communication that technology offers — from texting, calling, video chat and more — a handwritten letter is a rarity these days. But there’s something especially meaningful about snail mail that deserves a comeback. Taking the time to hand write a letter for a friend or family member brings a personal touch that a text full of emojis just doesn’t compare to.

So, let’s set down our phones and pick up a pen! Here are 8 tips for sending a handwritten letter.

8 Tips for Writing Letters

Looking for some inspiration on how to write a letter? We’ve got some ideas to help you get started!

1. Have fun with stationery. Maybe you have monogrammed stationery or love writing with different colored ink. Whatever you have a knack for, add it to your letter-writing routine. Put together a selection of fun paper, colorful pens and other writing utensils so you can add your own personal flair.

2. Get creative with the envelope. A standard white envelope will do just fine, but why not take it a step further and have a little fun with it? Add some stickers or draw something by hand. A super colorful envelope makes it irresistible to open right away! Just make sure the address is legible.

3. Send a postcard. Whether you picked up a postcard while on a past vacation or grabbed one from the store, a postcard is a creatively simple way to send a quick note to someone you care about. And, with limited space on a postcard, a short hello and I’m thinking of you is all you’ll need to say!

4. Get into detail. If writing a longer letter, go beyond the basic “How are you?” and “What’s new?” with deeper questions that spark real conversations. Ask questions about their future goals, the best parts of their week and recent events in their family. Asking specific questions to your recipient is also a great way to get them to write back! Don’t forget to fill them in on how you’re doing — talk about your goals, share what you’re learning or fill them in on something exciting going on in your life.

5. Send a photo. Sure, you might be able to send a photo through your phone in seconds. But taking the time to print out a photo to send along with your letter is a whole lot more fun! Send a photo of you on your most recent adventure, a photo of your kiddos or a picture of your whole family — whatever you decide, it’s bound to put a smile on your recipient’s face.

6. Make it a family event. If you have children in the house, make writing letters a fun activity for the whole family. Help them practice their writing and penmanship skills, or if they’re too young to write, have them draw a picture. Make it a weekly or monthly event by scheduling time to sit at the table as a family to write your letters.

7. The return of pen pals. Your pal doesn’t have to live around the world or even across the state. Instead, make a pact with a friend, family member or an entire family to begin a letter-writing relationship that deepens your bond and livens up the mailbox from time to time.

You could even write a letter to your roommate or child. It’s a different way to express your gratitude for them that can have a lasting impact and bring you closer to each other. Leave letters on their pillow or hidden in their coat pocket for a lovely surprise.

8. Stock up on fun stamps. It may seem obvious, but those letters aren’t going anywhere unless you have some stamps on standby! Head to the store or post office and pick up a packet of stamps so when your letter is ready to be mailed, you’re prepared. Many stamps now have eye-catching graphics, upbeat sayings or beautiful photos, so have a little fun when you’re picking out a design — it’s another great way to add flair to your envelope!

Remember, while the recipient of your letter will be delighted to receive it, you’ll enjoy writing it too! It’s a great way to reflect on your life and happy memories with that person. You’ll feel your bond with that person strengthen and feel good about yourself for doing something kind for them. Plus, you’ll improve on your writing skills, which is pretty cool too!

With a pen and stationery in one hand and stamps and an envelope in the other, you’re ready to get writing! All you have to do is decide who is the first lucky person to receive a letter from you.

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