Mail makes me sooooo happy. Jump for joy happy. Do a little dance happy. Who DOESN'T love mail? And I'm talkin' about REAL, handwritten, "made with love" mail. The good stuff.
Mail has the power to completely change the course of one's day. Coming home to a delicious package filled with goodies can keep me on cloud nine for a week! It makes me sad that our collective dependence on the Internet has taken away so much of this connection with others. Don't get me wrong, the Internet is a powerful way to create connection. But when you receive a real piece of mail from someone, it tells you before you even open it up, that YOU MATTER TO THEM. They stopped what they were doing in their day...and they decided to brighten yours.
I feel very blessed to have amazing friends and family who continue to send little boxes of love my way, even when firing off a FB message would be much less work. Here is a list of some of the goodies I've received from friends in the past...and a list of ideas for YOU to bless your friends with!
- Yummy soaps
- Dread beads
- Cool kitchen towels
This habit of sending love in a box didn't develop overnight...it's blossomed and grown as I've received packages from others and have taken note of their acts of kindness towards me. Here are a few pointers on how to begin this practice:
Start An Envelope
If you're at a store and see something that catches your eye, and you think, "that would be perfect for...", then you should buy it! Take it home and start an envelope for them. You don't have to mail it that day, or even that month. I always have a few padded manila envelopes going to collect items for people over time. When they get full enough, I write a little note and send it out. Don't forget to be a little crazy. Nothing is too small or inconsequential to throw into an envelope for someone. In a recent letter, my sweet friend Becky sent me a bird feather. It was just a small little thing, but my heart jumped when I opened it. The fabulous Catina Jane is also well-known for her envelopes of crazy love. It's also fun to send a "theme" package like this one ... Mermaids!
Type it Up
If typing a letter is easier for you...then type! Even if you could type the same letter by email...just the printing it out, signing it with a handwritten quote, etc. and adding one tea bag will make it 10 times more special than that email. My friend Rachel and I do this...we both know that the other one likes to type letters, and so we send letters back and forth that are several pages of typed notes from our day. I love it and always look forward to her elegant writing and funny stories.
Spread the Love Around and Around
When my mom was in high school, she had a close knit group of friends and later in life they kept in touch with something they called the "Round Robin" letter. Basically, the first person would buy a big padded envelope and put things in there that represented their life at that point. A handwritten letter, a few photographs (yes! *gasp* REAL printed out photographs! not just tags on Facebook!), a recipe, etc. She would send it to the first person on the list. The next person would read everything, and then add her own goodies to the envelope, and send it on to the next person. When it got back around to the first sender, she would take out her stuff and add new things and on and on it goes. This is a super fun way to connect with 3-4 friends. I remember how excited my mom used to get when that Round Robin letter arrived!! Oh the joy!
Create a Mail Station
Stock a "mail station" in your house. It could be a shoebox, a plastic organizer, a basket, or just a drawer in a desk. Whatever you choose, the goal is to keep all of your mailing supplies in one central, easy to find location. That way, when you are thinking about a friend, you can immediately go to your station and start writing and not have to worry about finding a stamp!
Make It Pretty
Have some pretty stationary or cards on hand at all times. You could write on plain 'ol white paper...but why would you want to when there are so many other options!? Even just cutting out some cool stuff from a magazine and gluing it onto the white paper would be better than nothing. Get creative! I did a quick search on Etsy, and there are over 6,000 items with the keyword "stationary". That should be sufficient!
Find Your Inner Artist
Decorate the OUTSIDE of the envelope/box as well! In the photo above, my friend Becky drew all kinds of goodies all over the box. You better believe everyone in the post office was jealous as it was handed over to me :) I like to put stickers and cut out magazine photos on the outside of envelopes...so much fun. Use modge podge for added effect. :)
Keep It Simple With Postcards
Postcards are a fun and easy way to send a greeting. You can even buy pre-stamped postcards at the post office. Carry them in your purse and write little notes when you're in the waiting room, etc. Let your kids decorate the front of the post card...and send it to Grandma!
Stamp It Up
I've been known to include a self-addressed stamped envelope in packages I send...with stationary included. Just to make it simple for the other person to write me back! Yes. I love getting mail that much...and it encourages the flow of communication! It's the golden rule of the mailbox:
"When you send mail, you receive mail."
Yes, it's fun to bless others with mail, but it's also fun to get some yourself! :)
I'd love to hear about some of your favorite things that have come in the mail...share them below!
And...I challenge you to send something, ANYTHING, out in the next 3 days to a friend or family member. Send a card, send a book...just send HAPPINESS!