Do you remember the last time something came through the letterbox that wasn’t a bill, a takeaway menu or an ASOS purchase that your bank account wasn’t too pleased about?
I can. It was my birthday, and it was lovely. Envelopes in every colour with my name and address scrawled across them in familiar handwriting. Some of them bumpy with the weight of a badge, for old time’s sake.
I’ll hedge my bets and say that was the last time you received something remotely interesting in the post too. Your own birthday that is, not mine. Well wishes from friends and family, those who had taken time from their busy schedules to write you many happy returns with a pen in hand, instead of joining the anonymous mass of greetings on your Facebook wall.
A Letter A Day
Interesting post hasn’t always been a once-a-year treat. Back in the 1920s, 117 letters (or items of post) were sent per person per year – that’s a letter or card every few days. This is down, of course, to the fact that post was the primary means of communication pre-Internet. It was the quickest way people knew to pass along a message, plain and simple.
It was also a time of many more postal deliveries. In 2015, we only get the post once a day. In the 1960s, two deliveries a day were absolutely expected and in early 20th century London, up to 12 deliveries per day were the norm, the first at 7:15am.
Image credit: Postal Heritage
Wouldn’t it be nice to get that going again? There are a few groups of people across the country who think so – and they’re reinvigorating the “snail mail” trend with each other.
A project by the name of Post Circle was started in February 2013. It really is one of the most adorable things I’ve ever heard of, one of those lovely faith-in-humanity-restoring tidbits that make ones day. Post circle hosts and organises pen-pal groups across the entire world, facilitating traditional communication in the sweetest of ways.
If you follow the #PostCircle tag on Twitter and Instagram, you see heartwarming pictures of strangers becoming friends through letters and cards dotted with anecdotes, warm words and cutesy stickers.
I asked Annee, one of the “Post Circle angels” why she thought this had taken off in such a big way:
“In the fast paced world that we live, it’s a welcome breath of fresh air to receive a handwritten note – we’re surrounded by amazing technology but sometimes a letter just feels right”.
I think feels is the optimal word there. It’s the feeling that this basic level of communication between two human beings gives us that would be a great shame to lose. Engagements, birthdays, anniversary congratulations, even births, they’re all such special moments in time that can be marked physically with the sending of something handwritten and cherished forever.
This proves, of course, that it’s not just lovely to receive nice post, but to send it too. It can’t just be me who feels the ultimate joy when it’s finally time to get the address book out and send Christmas cards off.
I love to write, it’s my job, but it’s so rare now that I get the therapeutic pleasure of writing by hand with my favourite pen. From here on out I’m going to write to my friends, near and far, more often – and I think it just might be a good idea for you to do the same, don’t you?
Start with this beautiful card, my absolute favourite from Love Olli’s collection. You can thank me later.
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