Typically, I don’t place stock in random holidays. Sometimes I observe different monthly themes – Women’s History Month is a personal favorite of mine – but there aren’t many that I do observe.
But I recently learned that April is National Card and Letter Writing Month as observed by the United States Postal Service. This year, the USPS partnered with Scholastic to provide classrooms with a writing program and teaching guide for over 80,000 teachers across the country, and there’s even a special Forever stamp for the occasion.
You might have noticed, since I’ve reviewed two different months of Happy Mail, but I am a huge fan of cards and letters sent through the mail. In January and February, I stocked up a bunch of cards and letters to send my friends as they finished their thesis and capstone projects. I make dedicated stops to the mailbox every week.
It might sound ridiculously old-fashioned, and I admit that it totally is. I’m in the post office so often to get stamps that I feel reasonably certain the post office guy with the tattoos actually knows who I am. I bought both the Harry Potter and Batman limited edition Forever stamps.
What is it about writing letters – in cursive, no less – that yanks in a tech-savvy millennial such as myself?
Well, there are a number of things, really.
First, part of it actually is the tech-heavy world I live in. Aside from this blog, I run a website that publishes three times per week; in my day job, I spend 7 hours or more staring at a screen. Most of my interaction with my family members, who live more than 450 miles away, is through my computer or smartphone. My principal entertainment comes from a glowing screen.
This is largely the reason that I don’t read books digitally: I spend so much of my day glued to a screen that I need time and space to breathe and disconnect, to touch something tactile to remind me of the real world I live in.
Second, a friend of mine sent me the following text a couple weeks ago:
Hey! I forgot to tell you the other night that I got a couple more postcards from you!!! They absolutely brighten my day – thank you for continuing to think of me!
Which, if I’m honest, is how I feel when I get letters in the mail. Real mail – physical letters and cards – are always a pleasant surprise, because so much of what shows up in the mail is useless advertising and credit card applications. But when a friend or a loved one sends you something? It makes you smile just to see the return address.
I received another text, a little earlier, from my baby brother, who was excited about the little gift I included with his card. When I visited my sister in Chicago for Easter, the cards and postcards I’d been mailing her were all over her house.
We live in a digital age, one where we’re constantly connected to the internet but not necessarily in touch with the people we care about. Letters are so much more personal than a text could ever be.
There’s still time left in April to write a letter to someone you love. You can use the excuse that it’s National Card and Letter Writing Month – but I hope that you’ll continue to share your love in the mail all year round.