The lost art of the letter


Call me old-fashioned but I do love a letter. There’s nothing more ‘ooh-a-letter’ than a letter on your doormat when you get home from work. A cutesy card. Some fancy penmanship. It’s the treasure you look for as you sift through the rest of the rubbish that’s come through the letter box.

You can normally tell who has written to you by the handwriting, so there’s no surprise. But hand-written letters and notes are only ever nice – no fear of a depressing mortgage statement or car tax reminder here. An email pinging into your inbox, or a red light flashing on your phone just isn’t the same. There’s something romantic about a tangible letter or a card. Plus they look pretty on your mantle piece. Win win.

I can vividly remember my mum nagging me to write thank you letters when I was little. Who am I kidding, she actually asked my 29-year-old sister last week if she’d done her Christmas thank you’s. She always helped me with that awkward small talk that you have to endure between the first ‘thank you for the x’ and the last ‘thanks again’ bit. But it seems to be an old-fashioned habit that’s, well, fallen out of fashion.

I don’t give to receive, but it’s sad when I think how few thank you cards or letters actually land on our doormat. I’m not even fussed about a letter. It could be a text, a phone call, a picture – heck, even a thank you tweet would be nice. But there aren’t many. Certainly not as many as the number of presents that go out.

I know times are tough and we’re all juggling more and more. But honestly, a little note takes no more than 5 minutes to write, address and stamp. I’m not expecting War and Peace – but am I wrong to expect a little effort by way of thank you notelet?

I have a handful of friends that are in my club. The club that has a stack of pretty notepaper and a favourite pen. The gang who has a drawer-full of notelets and cards ready for any occasion. The society who hunt out new stationery at every opportunity. Eek.

So, as a 30-something proud letter writer I appeal to you. Don’t faff. Put pen to paper and get writing. Christmases and birthdays have a two-week deadline. Do it. Do it now. (Two weeks have well and truly passed – any longer and it’ll be embarrassing).

But don’t wait for a present to write to someone. Thank a friend for making you laugh. Remind someone you love why you love them. Or brighten up someone’s day by letting them know you saw a squirrel fall off a fence (or something along these lines. It’d make me smile). Come on – join the gang.

Are you a letter-writer or a no-noter? Be honest, have you done your thank you cards from Christmas yet? Or can you not think of a way to tell Aunty Sharon that you didn’t like the hideous gift she gave you for your birthday?


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