From Newsy Notes to Thank Yous – Hand-Written Letters Score High Marks

Hand-written letters become keepsakes
Hand-written letters become lovely keepsakes, Photo: Mypurgatoryyears/iStock/Thinkstock

With all the forms of communication available to us these days, the hand-written letter is a personal and enduring method that scores high marks for elegance, sophistication and thoughtfulness. While an email or text will get the message out quickly, a note received by courier or the postal service imparts sincerity and a formality that makes one take notice.

That hand-written letter shows that you cared enough to slow down and carefully consider the message as you put pen to paper. In our digital age, we risk losing letters completely, and with it will go an important window into our collective past.

These days, everything is shared online, and not always with a comment or an email to go with it. Digitalization is convenient, and often instantaneous, and that is why we risk it all. If our digital devices crash without leaving our messages backed-up somewhere, they will be lost forever. Think about the photos and emails you may have lost when your smartphone dies. It’s possible to lose years of memories if you cannot retrieve those files.

Now consider the letters archived from our favorite authors and historical figures of long-ago generations. While certainly, those documents may need protection from the elements, and must be handled very carefully, they are a direct link to their author—be it Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence or the love letters between F. Scott Fitzgerald and his beloved Zelda—and they reveal so much of the writer, if we choose to look closely.

Your letter does not need to be long or fancy—but it would be extra special if it were. Start small. This time of year is a great launching point to test and refine your letter writing technique. Stacks of holiday cards will travel through the mail to loved ones near and far. It’s quick and convenient to get everything preprinted and sent on its way, but consider adding a personal, hand-written note to a few cards that are intended for those extra-special people in your life.

Chances are those are the ones that will become a keepsake.

After the gifts are exchanged, remember the thank you notes. Help the youngsters get in the habit early by helping them send simple notes of thanks that are easy and fun to do. Then get yourself on track by sending your own out to the people who remembered you during the season. We suggest a simple note mentioning the gift and a comment about how it will be or was enjoyed. Remember, even that ugly sweater or re-gifted scented candle has redeeming value. Acknowledge the sentiment if you cannot find something nice to say about the actual gift.

And you know what? This mini letter-writing exercise over the holidays will get you ready for the wedding and engagement gifts that will all require an acknowledgement, and at such a special occasion, you will want to be comfortable creating a personal message that can truly express your appreciation.

Now, what about the paper stock? That message becomes even more intimate and special when it is written on a custom set of stationery. There are so many choices in paper’s weight, color, size and style—enough for a separate article, actually—but we can direct you to stationers and designers who can help you find something just right for your style and budget now.

Consider Christina D’Asaro for elegant and contemporary paper suites or Ipanema Press for posh, lush styles. So, gather your favorite pens and stationery, sit down at your favorite desk, collect your thoughts and get ready to become part of the letter-writing revival.

Learn more about fabulous stationary and other letter-writing needs at

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