Design

The Joy of Snail Mail

Have you sent any mail lately? This summer, the boys have been writing letters to the grandmas, and it brings us all so much joy. The boys love writing their funny little notes (“How are you? I am fine.”) and our relatives say they burst with happiness to get the cards in the mail.

A few years ago, we also talked about sending non-romantic love letters to people. (Think: a close friend, a helpful neighbor, a parent). I’m always looking at people and thinking how wonderful they are but don’t always tell them — and it would be great to actually put on paper. Would you do that? Who would you write to?

Here are a few cards, if you’re in the mood…

Thoughts? Would you send one of these?

P.S. Do or don’t: mailing thank you notes, and how to write a condolence note.

(Photo of dogs, just because, by Cara Dolan/Stocksy.)

  1. Em says...

    I LOVE receiving and sending notes in the mail… but in the end, I end up with a box full of lovely cards that feel almost like they’re going to waste? I guess I’m making a little plug here (hope that’s ok!), but my amazing best friend makes these cards that are reusable and I just think they are so sweet. You get to keep the message but send the beautiful card along to live a longer, more adventurous life :)
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/GreetAndRepeatCards

  2. Katie says...

    Love this! My husband gave me the “You are doing a fucking great job” one for my first Mother’s Day six weeks after our daughter was born. It was in that period where you often wonder if you are perhaps a terrible mom – in my case, breastfeeding wasn’t going well, I didn’t handle minimal sleep well, and my baby naturally wasn’t a cuddler so I secretly felt kind of rejected by her. Even the baby knew I sucked! It was exactly the right card for the moment and he wrote me the best pep talk inside.

  3. Alexis says...

    I’ve been sending random care packages to friends. Mostly tea, surprisingly! And my old coworker’s wife and I have made our sons pen pals. We do the writing but it’s nice to share pictures and “life according to kiddos” every once in a while. They are in NC on a beach with chickens. We are in Brooklyn. So it’s nice to hear about each others lives this way.

  4. Annie says...

    Love this! I’m one of those people who loves Valentine’s Day, so I always mail valentines to my family and closest friends. It brings me so much joy to prepare and send them! <3

  5. Julie Ray says...

    I’ve been making cards and sending to friends as an alternative to the constant virtual communication. I’ve received many delights in the mail!

  6. I love love love sending snail mail. I pick up postcards everywhere I go and send them to whomever pops into my head. In 2018 I wrote one postcard for every day of the year, and I did the same again this year for the month of May. Some of my notes are only a line or two long, but it’s so fun to think of the joy each card will bring to its recipient. Long live snail mail.

  7. S says...

    COVID obviously put a damper on celebrating events with friends (especially if they live hours away) and even snail mail to other countries was stalled for a while…but local businesses have really stepped up their delivery game.
    – For my birthday, a friend from out of town had local treats delivered to my door. It was such a thoughtful surprise and I love that we were able to support a small local business at the same time.
    -My friend and I usually send overseas parcels to each other. Since her post office was closed for several weeks, we started looking into shipping each other things that would at least ship from within the other person’s country. It’s been fun to zoom in on Google Maps to find neat local businesses near her home address that will deliver to her. And again, love that we are supporting small local businesses in each other’s communities.

  8. S says...

    Almost 10 years ago, I became friends with another traveller in Peru. After going back to our respective home countries, we started sporadically sending each other random postcards. He loves to doodle and sends the best postcards full of colourful doodles and super tiny script to he can catch me up on his life. They make me so happy, I keep them displayed in my kitchen. We don’t necessarily write about the big life events, but just the fun little things that have recently brightened up our days.

    Another friend who has also always lived on a different continent and I regularly send each other little packages (books, tea, chocolate, funky socks, earrings, souvenirs from our trips…whatever!). I think we originally started with the idea of sending each other birthday and Christmas presents…but affordable overseas mail delivery can be *very* unreliable so now it’s just a whenever thing. Christmas presents in April! July birthday presents in November! It’s actually more fun this way because you’re never expecting it. How fun to get a surprise parcel on a random Tuesday!

  9. Hayley B says...

    My BFF once made me a drop dead gorgeous card just to tell me how glad she was that we were besties, when we were in our late teens. Aside from the lovely lovely sentiment, she drew a picture of a super cute cartoon unicorn ? on the front and coloured its mane with glittery pink nail polish, giving it a super cool 3D effect. (Did I mention she’s like super artistic?) I will treasure that handmade card for as long as I live.

    And yes we’re still BFFs 30 years on, and we’ll still be besties when we’re old and gray and in our rocking chairs, if I have anything to say about it!

  10. I have been massively into snail mail since childhood – when our school did Japanese pen pals I had over 10 pen pals I wrote to for YEARS!

    I always have my cel phone pics printed and sent to my grandparents after family functions (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter dinner, Summer BBQs) because it’s SO cheap and easy to do. They don’t have computers or smart phones so it’s the only way they get to re-live those memories and they LOVE it so much. We have a huge family and haven’t seen them since March so I texted all of my cousins to send me pics from their summer and had a big bunch sent to the grandparents. They were overjoyed to be kept in the loop and they look at the pictures every single day, bless their hearts!!

    Love snail mail. Big fan.

    • Kim says...

      Love this!

  11. Mollie says...

    My three closest girlfriends and I all live in different cities around the U.S. and world(!): Asheville, NYC, Denver and until recently, Moscow. We have a card-writing tradition where we each send cards to one other friend per month. We choose cute / pretty/ funny cards that we know we’d love to receive and have so much fun getting beautiful mail!

  12. Samantha Tancosh says...

    I love seeing English Setters out in the wild, they are beautiful and so sweet. More dog pics!

  13. Yes to this Jo!!! Im such a fan of snail mail that with the extra time I had during lockdown I finally took the plunge and started my own stationary business! So many people need an extra pick me up during these crazy times and cards can bring so much joy – I love being part of that :) Anyone who’s looking to stock up on fab new cards can find me over on Etsy at PaperPostDesign

  14. I wish I sent more snail mail because I know how much I love receiving it. Even on regular days, the clatter of the letterbox brings a tiny thrill.
    Right, that’s it: I’m buying some cards this weekend and sending notes.

  15. Meghan says...

    I was feeling really down about my birthday this year (July 4th) and the one thing that really, really got me through (and reignited a lot of positive feelings I’d been generally missing my my life) was getting a record number of birthday cards in the mail – 22!! Some of my favorites were a circle of group chat text message friends who used the website Postable to send me custom postcards written “from” my favorite celebrities (which is how I got birthday wishes from the Golden Girls, Anthony Bourdain, Celine Dion, and my New Zealand Prime Minister BFF (in my heart, lol) Jacinda Ardern.) One of these friends collaged a Biden campain ad into a “vote for me and also happy birthday” card. The best part was the mail all came in on a bit of a delay, so I’d open my box for the week surrounding the actual day and 3-5 cards would spill out (“OMG THERE’S MORE?!?!) I felt so, so loved when I most needed it.

    • Caitlin says...

      Meghan, that is lovely! Happy belated birthday! Sending you warm wishes!

  16. Betsie says...

    We moved to a new home early this year, so when the pandemic hit in March we hadn’t yet met all our neighbors. I left short “let us know if you need anything! Here’s our numbers!” notes for several neighbors right at the beginning of the first shut-down. Several texted me. And one, and 89 year-old woman named June, called to thank me. Since then, she and I have exchanged letters weekly (I walk mine over to her house, she mails hers). We’ve also exchanged books, small gifts, vegetables from my garden. She’s lived in her home since the late fifties, and I’ve learned so much about the neighborhood and the city’s history through her. We both can’t wait for the day when we can meet face to face – she is particularly keen to meet my 18 month old son.

    • Donna says...

      Excellent idea! I am going to start writing letters now, then print & snail mail. Hugs to you for sharing!

    • Tazza says...

      I love this so much.

  17. Jennifer S. says...

    While teaching remotely during quarantine, I sent postcards to 320 of my students, grades K-2, telling them I missed them and hoped they were enjoying their time with their families. I closed with “Stay well, and keep reading!” Huge hit!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love that! You sound like a great teacher.

  18. Mercy says...

    My elderly uncle lives alone, is very independent and keeps to himself. He also doesn’t have a phone, so my usual way of communicating with him was just by popping over to his house every now and then, which hasn’t been feasible during the pandemic. We’ve been exchanging letters, and while his handwriting is kind of hard to read haha, it’s been really nice and I treasure these letters!

  19. I am such an old soul, and have always loved sending nail mail! I think half the fun is looking for cute, new stationary, ahaha! I really tired to step up my greeting card game when quarantine started because I thought it would be a fun way to spread joy and a smile! The recipients loved them and made them happy, and thats what matters :)

    Libby

  20. Kelsey B says...

    I’ve always loved sending letters and cards, for a long time with my grandma, then with my husband when we were dating long distance, and still now with friends. My mom and I always send a postcard to the other when we’re traveling. Now that I live abroad, we send mail with handmade cards or pictures back to family.
    If anyone has an early elementary aged child who needs practice writing, my almost 7 year old daughter would love a pen pal to write to from France! Her French is great, but her English needs work.

  21. Sheree. says...

    Have you heard of Postcards to Swing States: https://postcardstoswingstates.com/
    A friend and I (and her 8 year old) are getting together to send several of these out.

  22. Jess says...

    Eek – this might be a good time to post something about how Trump is literally removing mailboxes from neighbourhoods, leaving mail in heaps unsorted for many days, and defunding the postal service on top of firing postal service workers. Your local snail mail won’t be delivered for weeks.

  23. During the first two months or so of quarantine my three kids and I tried to each send two postcards a day to different family and friends. It was so fun and such a great excuse to just sent the people we were missing so much a quick note telling them we loved them and were thinking of them. It also made for good writing practice for my elementary age kids. Over time my circle of recipients expanded and I started sending cards to old friends I had lost touch with, sparking wonderful renewed connections. We also got a lot of postcards back, which was fun for all of us to receive. Our mail lady even got into it and left us a package of new postcards to send. We’ve taken a break over the summer, but I’m looking forward to starting up again this fall.

  24. Maggie G says...

    I’ve long loved snail mail (always kept in touch with summer camp friends over long letters as a kid and teen) and have been delighting for a while in circle letters. Do you know about them? I believe it is an Amish tradition (though I’m not Amish). The first writer starts with a list of participants and addresses (anywhere from 3-8ish people seems to be great), and assign an ordered number to each. Person 1 writes to person 2, person sends on letters 1 & 2 to person 3, who adds theirs in, with each subsequent writer adding their letter, then removing their old letter when it comes back around. It was particularly striking once COVID hit, as the letters were such a time capsule of life pre- and post-COVID. It has been a fun way to stay in touch with college friends spread all over, and also fun with friends-of-friends who you don’t know personally (yet). Highly recommended, and easy to google better instructions than those I’ve given!

  25. megan says...

    speaking of snail mail… did you know there’s so many Letter Writing Societies popping up across the country?! Yes, groups of people who meet up to write letters. Obviously in-person letter writing isn’t happening at the moment, but many groups are holding meetings online.

    Check out this directory to see if there’s a group near you: lwsdirectory.com

  26. I’ve always been a fan of sending mail and from working in e-commerce, taking my trips to the post office were always greeted with becoming friends with the cashiers. We’d talk about the new stamps, their dogs and they were as much my coworkers as the ones in the office.
    As for sending actual letters (which I’ve done quite often during quarantining) I always make sure that the envelope is decorated with illustrations or stickers or just pretty handwriting. I hope and picture it bringing smiles to everyone who passes it along to be delivered to my friend.
    XX

    • Sarz says...

      YES! The envelope deserves some love too! :D

  27. Samantha says...

    I know this is not a political account, but it is worth mentioning that inexpensive, convenient snail mail isn’t going to exist that much longer if the Post Office is run into the ground. Maybe COJ could encourage its readers to buy as many stamps as possible and to call their representatives so that we can still get cute cards like this in the very-near future?

    • Betsy says...

      Amen!

    • Jennifer says...

      Yes! I had the same thought. They’ve already started removing several post office box drop offs here in Portland, OR. It’s very worrisome because Oregon conducts elections by mail.

    • Katie says...

      I heartily agree! The Post Office is important for so many reason!

    • steph says...

      I was hoping to see this in the post as well! I am SO ANGRY about this right now.

  28. Susan says...

    When my nephew in NY was learning to write and spell, I jumped on the chance to be his pen pal. I’d write him letters asking a couple of simple questions and telling him something I was up to in Chicago. He loved it and we kept it up for a year! What kid (or adult) doesn’t love getting mail (that isn’t a bill)!

  29. Janel Kauppila says...

    Quarantine has been tough for me this week. I’ve been missing the relationships that I used to be able to nourish regularly — with my church, my friends, my family, my community, my co-workers, even the cashiers at Trader Joe’s! I’ve been wanting to write letters this week to maintain these relationships.

    • Sarz says...

      I hope you do so! If you don’t have any stationary on hand, or don’t feel like it’s the right moment to purchase any, I’m a big advocate for making your own. I’m sure the recipients would be absolutely thrilled!

  30. LeighTX says...

    When my older daughter went to college, I bought a bunch of fun postcards, stamped and addressed them to her, and kept them on my desk. Every couple of days I’d write a short note about what we’d done the day before, or a funny story about the pets, and mail it off. It gave me something to do and she loves getting them–she has kept them all.

    Last weekend we moved our youngest into her dorm and I’ve started the same thing for her. Hugs to all the parents of college freshmen!

  31. Hilary says...

    I’ve been really loving snail mail during the pandemic. I’ve been using Ink Cards- it’s an app that lets you easily add photos from your phone to a postcard. You can send it to wherever and they will do the postage as well. It’s a flat rate and so easy. This sounds like an ad, but I’m just really enjoying sending photos of our daughter to friends and family!

  32. Missy says...

    My 13 yo niece was really struggling being an only child isolated in a busy city so my young kids and I started sending her fun traditional pen pal letters complete with tiny drawings and full of questions like “What’s your favourite colour?” and “What books have you read lately?”. Not only has this become something she looks forward to and a project for her to return back to us.. but we’ve also been learning so much about her that we don’t get to know during our busy family gatherings. What started as a pick-me-up has turned into such a gift for both sides!

  33. Abbe says...

    I keep cards and stamps on hand to make sending mail to people, or just paying a bill, an easy thing.

    During the pandemic, I made a point of looking up all the birthdays of my loved ones and sending them cute postcards from a box of Marimekko postcards I found online. It gave me a small productive thing to do every week or so.

    So many people told me how touched they were to receive them and how it made their day. It’s such a small thing! (And postcard stamps exist and cost less than normal stamps, FYI.)

    The other thing I do once in a while is put some of my kid’s artwork in an envelope and mail it off to their great-grandmother in Texas. She loves it!! We have so much random artwork being generated on our end that it’s hard to appreciate it all, but send off a piece or two to someone and it becomes a scarce, precious piece of connection to the kids.

  34. Claire says...

    this is such a lovely idea. There is nothing like a handwritten note, and finding a surprise in the mailbox. And this also reminds me that I have been wanting to purchase an old-fashioned address book, like the kind I used to have in pre-cell phone days. Think I’ll get on it- thanks for the nudge.

  35. Ro says...

    Me and my best friend started a snail mail tradition a few years ago when she moved 1,000 miles away, and it’s the best! We’ll send each other letters, postcards, envelopes with little gifts inside… I have horrible handwriting and one choice of card, while my friend writes in cursive, uses different colored inks, and even seals her letters with wax! We both get equally excited though to open the mailbox and see something fun inside :)

  36. Megan Johnson says...

    Early on in quarantine, I wrote both my grandmas and two close friends a letter each. Really short “hope you’re surviving, miss you much” type notes in a pretty card. I addressed and stamped them and sealed them with a pretty sticker–and then never sent them. They’re sitting in my car right now, waiting for me to run them to the post office, but I just don’t ever find myself in that neck of the woods (and also I feel like I’m experiencing some low level depression, which makes even small tasks like this feel insurmountable). Anywho, maybe someday I’ll send them with a note on the back that says, “I can’t remember what I wrote in this back in March, but here you go anyway!”

    (After re-reading this, I JUST realized that I could just stick them in my mailbox for the mail carrier to pick up. *Face palm*)

  37. Loren says...

    I’ve sent out quite a few handwritten cards in the five months I’ve been in quarantine, and I always send snail mail thank you notes for gifts and when people offer me hospitality. I love getting them and I love sending them. Let’s call our elected officials and ask them to make sure that the USPS is protected so that we can go on getting our mail.

  38. I’ve been sending 3 postcards a day since the pandemic started. Sometimes I’ll just say hi, sometimes I’ll write out a recipe of something we made and loved, sometimes I’ll do a little drawing. Receiving snail mail is one of the great pleasures in life. Thankfully I have a number of friends who agree, so going to the mailbox to pick up our mail is one of the highlights of every day in quarantine life.
    Plus, we have to do our part for the USPS!

  39. Daina L. says...

    My New Year’s resolution a few years ago was to send at least one piece of snail mail per week, and I have kept the goal up ever since. I have a note in my phone where I document mail sent weekly to ensure our grandmas and close family are feeling loved with frequent letters! Recently, I started creating sticker collages on the backs of all of my envelopes and it has made it even more fun to create and send!

    • Susan says...

      I love this idea!

  40. Since my nieces and nephew are still young, I send them minor holiday (Halloween, Valentine’s) cards with little gifts in them (stickers, ice cream shop gift card). I loved getting mail as a child and thought it would be exciting to receive a big colorful envelope just for them.

  41. MG says...

    I am 52 and have been sending postcards for as long as I can remember! Whenever I’m on holiday, in my country or another, I always look out for more postcards for my stash. ? During Corona lock down I sent postcards to all my uni students (144!) as well and I encourage students and lecturers to send postcards to us from their holidays (we now have a Postcard Door Of Fame in the central hall ? where those postcards have pride of place). PS I love your cards, but would never send a card with a swear word on it, but that’s just me. ?

  42. Nina says...

    Thanks to corona I discovered our post service has an app which lets you upload pictures from your phone and send them as a card (you can include a message on the back). Perhaps not as *romantic* as buying a card, looking for stamps, a mailbox…. but next time I am on holiday I am going to love sending family and friends wacky holiday pictures.

  43. Sarah says...

    I send tons of mail and people love it. If I have stayed with someone as a houseguest sometimes I print a photo from the stay and mail it along with the note. My little nephews love getting mail ?. My 92-year-old grandma sends me letters and I love this too. I moved away from where I grew up so getting a birthday card or package from someone I miss is so special.

  44. barbara geri says...

    This is so silly but I LOVE those dogs!!!

  45. We’ve been sending SO MUCH mail since the pandemic started. We were always a thank you card family but we’ve even started getting on birthday cards in addition to the just because cards. I love having an excuse to buy the cool new stamps.

  46. r says...

    Love this!! I always send postcards to friends when I go on vacation and send a birthday card if I’m not going to be seeing them for their birthdays. My roommate sends letters to incarcerated folks (through coalition for civil freedom) – everyone loves getting mail and it means something extra special for those who can’t communicate freely in other ways.

  47. Mara says...

    I love these cards! My cousin is an ER doctor in the Bay Area and could barely keep her head above water in March/April, COVID was that bad at her hospital and keeping her away from her husband and baby most of the time. I sent her the “You Are Doing A F*cking Great Job” and she was so touched. I highly suggest this card for medical and other essential care professionals in your life! These are rough times for our essential workers.

  48. Lora says...

    I’ve been sending post cards for the last several months. The space for writing is relatively small so I feel like there’s less pressure to come up with more than a few sentences. I’m regularly sending post cards to my son’s best friend (who started at West Point last month), my teacher coworkers (to offer encouragement during these trying remote learning times), and one of my son’s former teachers who recently started a new job in a new city. Who doesn’t like getting real mail?

  49. joy says...

    My sister makes the most beautiful, funny handmade cards. They are great for just-because notes and keeping in touch.
    https://www.queenfayzel.com

  50. Erin says...

    The best part of having your kids send letters is having them sent back to you when your kids are older! My parents saved the letters my children wrote them and it’s so fun to see them years later – the handwriting, the content . . . We recently got one back from 2013, when my son was 8 (he’s now 15) that said “Guess what? I found a used card store that sells Pokemon cards for 10 cents!” A treasure and so fun to revisit an age that seems so far away now.

  51. I’ve had a close friend since college who has always been the best at snail mail! She always send the most thoughtful cards and we even maintained our penpal friendship during my year abroad in Greece. To me it’s one of the marks of true friendship and compatibility if you can just write someone a card saying “hey, what’s up?”

    Also, if you’re like me and bad about not keeping cards on hand, Trader Joe’s always has a great selection, including blank and thinking of you cards, and I always grab a few while I’m waiting in line to check out. :)

  52. Eileen says...

    We had our 5 year old copy jokes to send to grandparents, aunts/uncles, his baby cousin, etc. That was it. Sometimes he remembered to write to/from. Family got a kick out of the little kid jokes, and he would beam when they would thank him via FaceTime later. I am amazed that the post office could figure out where to send them. Must have a lot of practice from North Pole letters!

  53. Rachel says...

    I sent real, snail-mail letters to celebrate my quarantine birthday this year! I couldn’t celebrate in-person with friends near or far, so instead I bought beautiful cards and wrote letters to all of them over the course of my birthday month. It was so celebratory for me to be reminded of all the wonderful people in my life and to spend the time writing notes to them – just little cards saying how happy I’ve been to have them in my life for another year. I’ve heard from so many people who loved receiving them and a few friends even wrote letters back. It was also a low-key way to reconnect with people who I’m not good at keeping up with regularly. I think I might make friend-love-letters a birthday tradition!!!

  54. hallie says...

    love this but please add a plug for USPS if you are posting about snail mail!!! <3

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes I felt like it was implied! but I can add something for sure xo

    • Abesha1 says...

      Yes! USPS provides an amazing service!
      And nice post, on a day when that person in the White House is actually honest enough (oh, the irony!) to state in an interview that he wants the defund the Post Office so citizens can’t vote…

  55. Louisa says...

    I’m here for the setters! (also an avid letter-writer, but … setters! on Cup of Jo!)

    • Andrea P says...

      “Photo of dogs… just because” – made me giggle!

  56. Devin says...

    My aunt and I send each other goofy postcards that we come across! It’s so fun and spontaneous. Also, it feels amazing to get mail :) It’s so special!

  57. Our favorite mail to send…cards to nursing home residents. Making creative cards is fun for kids and grown-ups too. My friend started this project if anyone wants to join:

    https://caringbycard.com/

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this is beautiful, Brittney!

    • Sara P says...

      My son got his scout troop to do something similar to this for nursing homes in our area. They made a postcard with a picture of them on a recent hike and wrote a note saying that they look forward to visiting them soon. They all loved this project.

  58. Jessica Brown says...

    My daughters paint a bunch of cards at the beginning of the year and then we send them to cousins and grandparents on their birthdays with notes from all of us. When we go visit I see our cards stuck on the fridge, tucked in a window sill…

  59. Cecília says...

    For many years now, whenever I travel, I write old-fashioned postcard to a few friends and relatives. Within that group, a few children (now teenagers) which have grown up with these little tokens from around the world and many little stories.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love that!

    • Cecília says...

      In recent years have started to add myself to this list :), and send myself also a postcard mentioning how it feels to be travelling.

  60. nicole says...

    PSA: Trader Joe’s has the cutest cards for any occasion, and lots of fun blank ones as well and they’re 99 cents. I always grab a few when I go.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oooh good tip!

    • Priscilla says...

      Second this! Trader Joe’s card section has become one of my “simple pleasures!” And sending a card ALWAYS feels good!

    • Heidi says...

      I think someone told me that the art on those cards is by TJ’s employees! I love them so much.

  61. Kristiana says...

    I absolutely adore the $1 cards at Trader Joe’s. I have a stack of them on my desk always, and usually have a goal to send at least one per week or two. Just because. People love it and I know I love getting snail mail:)

  62. Kelly says...

    I love sending and receiving snail mail.

    Kind of like sending flowers to yourself… I send myself postcards when I’m on vacation with notes like “Remember this.” or “You’re so adventurous!”. Then when they arrive in the mail after my trip is over it brings a huge smile to my face. :)

    And yes, a Cup of Jo penpal program would be amazing!

  63. ms13 says...

    You should follow the instagram handle @sanitythroughsnailmail. The account brings so much joy – lovely handlettered envelopes getting sent through snail mail. And run by a good friend of mine :)

  64. Thuy says...

    This post made me sad with everything that is going on with USPS. PSA: Because of the massive delays and sabotage of the administration, I have heard that you should avoid mailing your ballots in and rather drop off at your board of elections, or your City Clerk’s Office to be safe. What’s happening is scary.

  65. Amanda says...

    Oh how I love mail. I have friends from a summer program that I’ve kept in touch with through letters since we were 14 — 25 years! I was in one of their weddings and they are some of my oldest friends. Also, I am terrible at calling people. If it weren’t for working from home, I could easily go days not even looking at my phone. So when I moved across the country 15 years ago, I started sending my grandparents weekly postcards. We feel connected, it’s quick and easy, and no issues with the time difference. And finally, several months ago, I got some pen pals through an exchange coordinated by and for fans of a podcast I like (Buffering the Vampire Slayer.) It has been so lovely (especially since March) to connect with smart, kind women with whom I have some things in common. There’s something about mail that is thrilling and intimate and I love the slow mindfulness of it.

  66. Ann says...

    I love getting mail. My best friend and I have been pen pals for over 30 years. Those letters are like a present when they arrive. I love all those cards You featured too! My fav is the snow hiking one. That always makes me laugh.

  67. Lauren Lyons says...

    What a coincidence that this is your post today: My hubby and I live on Eastern Long Island during the summer months + when we left our home in Philadelphia in May, one of our sweet, older neighbors (who raises chickens right in the city of Philadelphia— how cool is that?), said to me “What’s your address out there, I’ll send you a letter.” I nearly burst from the excitement! And, we’ve written to each other several times this summer and I JUST received one of his letters today! Such joy!

  68. Anne says...

    I’ve been having a Pride and Prejudice type of relationship with a dear friend who grew up three houses away from me. We haven’t seen each other since before college when we said goodbye and agreed to come back together after graduation and get married. That never happened, but we did manage to stay in touch by mail. All of these years later, I’m widowed; he’s no longer partnered; and we live on opposite coasts. Sometimes we talk on the phone, very rarely do we text, but always, always we send letters. It’s nice to have this wholesomeness in an over complicated world cluttered with instant gratification. Slow and steady wins the race.

  69. It’s a good time to support the US Postal Service too.

  70. Sarz says...

    Those are all lovely cards, but the sardine one is my favorite! I’m tickled to see that snail mail has increased in popularity this year. 34 year old here, and I’ve been an avid letter-writer since about the fourth grade. With the ample free time that came with childhood, I’d write to anyone and everyone. Now? I stick to my parents mostly. Sometimes I feel a little guilty seeing the towering stack of letters upon visits to my ultra-minimalist father’s house, but as he tells me, “that’s just one of those things that makes you who you are”. I rescue most of my stationary from thrift shops, but however you source it, I think everyone should give it a try.

  71. alison says...

    Shamelessly promoting a dear college friend who owns Ladyfingers Letterpress with her wife. Everyone should buy everything from them as they raise their 3 kids in the midst of trying to own a storefront too. <3

    http://www.ladyfingersletterpress.com

    • A fellow Alison (with One L) says...

      Thanks for sharing! Just placed an order- such a nice selection of cards.

    • Julie says...

      Ladyfingers is one of my FAVORITE shops. Queer owned bad a$$ gals with an awesome selection. I second this!

    • Alison says...

      @other alison – fantastic (on all levels!)
      @julie – hooray! I think they are bad ass too.

    • Andrea says...

      Thanks for the recommendation! Such cute stuff, just placed an order!

  72. sara says...

    this post is so timely! buying stamps and sending mail will help the usps to stay afloat and we desperately need their service to have a safe and fair election in fall. send mail for fun and for our right to vote! i love snail mail.

  73. Margaret says...

    This past year I sent birthday cards in the mail to a handful of close friends and they were all so surprised! I’ve always enjoyed giving people cards with a nice thoughtful message for birthdays but also occasions of personal achievement in their lives (promotion! new city!) and sending by mail really helps show someone you’re thinking of them.

  74. Sherrie says...

    I love beautiful paper and pretty stationary. I appreciate the love in a card chosen for me. I find a lot of joy in sending cards to those I know will appreciate the gesture. I have an entire box of notepads I find I love – I buy them wherever I am. I use them – but the supply never seems to be reduced.

  75. Jane says...

    This is lovely, and also a great way to support the postal service (as I see others have commented). I recently asked my very nice mail carrier, Dan, about how we could best support USPS. He said that buying stamps and sending more letters is great — and they also have swag! My little nephews are soon to be proud owners of a very cute toy mail truck, and my pup may or may not be a mail carrier for Halloween. ;)

  76. SP says...

    You know what would be lovely? A Cup of Jo penpal program. :)

    • Rachael says...

      This is a lovely idea!

  77. Daniela says...

    I write cards to my grandma and my best friend and I, who live a few states apart, send each other letters back and forth. Love having a pen pal!

    • C says...

      that’s lovely! I sent my grandma so many letters and postcards over the years. And when she passed away last year I found a box. She had saved them all!!

    • Daniela says...

      That’s amazing, C!

  78. Megan says...

    This is by far our favorite way to engage our 2.5 year old’s art projects — he paints or draws or colors, then we fold it into a card and he narrates a message to someone he loves (a friend of his, friends of ours, family members, teachers) and then we mail it. Hard to tell which is his favorite part: making the card, narrating the message, putting on the stamp, dropping it in the mailbox, or getting a return letter/package!

  79. Julia says...

    Rachel Syme – a fashion writer for the New Yorker and a very good Twitter follow – started a pen pal matching program for quarantine and you can still sign up! (Check her Twitter for the info.) It’s been the best thing to come out of this isolated time.

  80. Rachel says...

    I’ve been sending a handful of cards out every few weeks—in this weird world of constant connection (via our phones) but so little physical connection (thanks, covid), it feels like such a nice way to let people know you’re actually thinking about them vs. just responding to whatever they last posted on Instagram. Plus everyone loves getting mail that isn’t junk or yet another bill!

  81. Hattie says...

    Two other friends and I are sending cards once a week to the elderly mother of another good friend; this lady lives in assisted living and the only time she can leave her apartment is to go to the mailbox. (Even her meals are delivered to her door.) I write every Monday and just sent another Rifle card,
    so I would certainly send the Garden Party one. It’s such a simple thing to do, but our friend says her mother is touched by our thoughtfulness and she displays our cards all over her apartment.

  82. Holly says...

    My four year old loves crafting and writing notes to her friends and family during her quiet time Every day she colors, stickers, and stamps elaborate cards and asks me to mail them to someone specific That she made the card for. She often gets a reply note and now eagerly waits for the mail each day. It’s been so sweet to see how she is adapting to this different world. I’m grateful for a slower pace that has highlighted new strengths and talents in each of us.

  83. Rachel S says...

    Since the pandemic started I have been writing a bunch of cards to friends and family on the weekends. It’s a great way to feel a connection, even though we are far apart. Additionally, buying stamps consistently helps me feel like I am supporting the post office (there are so many good choices too!).

    I will say, if you receive a card from someone, take a minute and text them a thank you! It means so much to know the recipient got my note and appreciated it.

  84. Constance says...

    I have two close friends that I met while living abroad as a child. We have stayed in touch by snail mail since elementary school, and still do in our late 20s. Even when we all got access to email, facebook, etc., we have an unspoken rule to only share news in letters. Some years, we are so busy and only exchange one or two letters, and those end up being very long letters detailing the beginning, middle, and end of a relationship or summarizing the whole process of writing a masters thesis. I save all of the letters I’ve received.

    I have a few other penpals from random parts of my life, and send and receive notes randomly with some friends. My younger sister once asked me why I get so many letters, and I loved having such a simple answer: If you want letters, write letters.

  85. Savannah says...

    I read at some point (on here?) about being enthusiastic for other people to help alleviate the anxiety of new interactions and so in 2020 that was my goal. I try to compliment one person every time I go out and I keep a basket with a pen, cards, and stamps so I can send cards easily as soon as I think of it. I send them to anyone and everyone! Mary Louise Kelly for how she handled that Mike Pompeo interview, Scott Snyder for writing a truly lovely comic about parenthood Wytches, my favorite tea company for bringing back Decaf Coconut Thai Chai, my best friend for being creative when she plays with her son. And on and on. Little things, but most of my life is little things!

    My four year old wanted to participate so yesterday she dictated a letter to: All the animals that don’t swim in water at the zoo. Haha!

    • Sarz says...

      Lovely! The world needs more cheerleaders. You and your daughter are doing noble work. :)

    • April says...

      This is so great Savannah. Thanks for the inspiration to celebrate people’s everyday achievements going forward and not just the “big” stuff. Also, I’ve really been on a tea kick lately and Coconut Thai Chai sounds delicious.

  86. Kay says...

    I love post!!!! When I was younger I had pen pals and letters from them made my day. I think everyone gets excited about post, it is lovely to know that someone is thinking about you, a great way to catch up on news, and receiving a card or letter in the post just makes people smile. Early on in lockdown I started sending cards to friends and some even wrote back. I am still sending a few each week. Also I teach a class of six and seven year old children at church and since church has been closed for months I send them a card each week with a little lesson written inside as well as some stickers. I also LOVE to have a section of notecards and writing paper in my bureau. Whenever I go to a gift shop, a museum, a stately home, a garden centre etc the notelets are what I buy myself as a treat, in fact I have a bit of an addiction to pretty cards. A handwritten card is simply a thing of love and happiness. x

  87. Agnès says...

    During the lockdown (in France), I just totally failed at homeschooling (I was the French teacher, my husband did the maths and was the best), but so I gave “points” to my son anytime he would write a card to a grand-parent so he could practise his writing (he’s 6) or whoever he wanted (a total of 20 points would get him a new scooter), and it turned into amazing art projects: we made the cards together, then the writing, then the envelope (a lot of toothbrush painting); people at the post office were very excited about the little boy with his oversized artistic envelopes. And so were the people who received the cards. Snail mail is amazing.

  88. Hani says...

    Thinking about this a lot lately!
    I love picking out collectible stamps. It’s a delightful and simply joy.

    Joanna, this post is also hugely relevant to the moment. We must show solidarity for the essential service of the USPS.
    Could we have a CoJ letter exchange?!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      A CoJ letter exchange is such a fun idea! Curious if others would be interested in that?

    • alison says...

      I have no idea how that would work logistically — but would 100% sign on for this! I loved having a pen pal growing up (she was from wales, and now we’re friends on facebook and insta!!)

    • Jamie says...

      Love the idea of a CoJ letter exchange!

    • Savannah says...

      This. Is. My. Dream!

    • Caitlin says...

      I’m interested!

    • Sarz says...

      *raises hand* I’m in!

    • Lea says...

      YES!!!

    • Natalie says...

      I would love this!

    • Kristiana says...

      Uhm 100% yes

    • Rebecca says...

      Peachy please, lemon squeeze can we have a COJ letter exchange??!!??

    • Colleen S says...

      I need to get more stamps, but it sounds fun.

    • Alison says...

      Yes absolutely!!

    • Agnès says...

      Yes (from France)!

    • Maire Gurevitz says...

      Letter exchange, yes please!

    • Ange says...

      We can create one using Elfster (typically used for Secret Santa set up, but would work for this!)

  89. Rebecca P. says...

    Snail mail is life-giving! I’ve always loved writing cards to people and could spend all the $ in a card shop. Now I have the joy of sharing the fun with my three children. A few weeks ago my 3 year old wanted to mail a card to his 4 year old brother (yes, we all alive in the same apartment), so we did! It was so exciting when the card came back to our mailbox!!

    • Jes says...

      Oh I LOVE this!

    • K says...

      Spending all the € in a card shop – I hear you.
      May I recommend postcrossing (www.postcrossing.com) to you and your kids? It brought a lot of fun into our mailbox.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      beautiful, Anna!

  90. Lauren says...

    When the pandemic started, I joined postcrossings, which allows you to send postcards to, and receive postcards from, people all over the world. It’s been a great way to create some connections to people elsewhere in the world in such an isolated time, and the postcards and stamps from around the world are so fun to see!

    • K says...

      I was just reading the comments before writing my own to see if someone already mentioned postcrossing ;)
      http://www.postcrossing.com
      I joined a few years ago. Receiving postcards from all over the world has been great. But I enjoy choosing and writing them even more.

  91. Calla says...

    I love writing cards to friends! I recently got a sweet one from a friend who has been having a hard year thanking me for supporting her. It totally made my day! I also sometimes find it easier to put kind words in writing than to say them. And I like that it allows the other person to fully take in the compliment rather than feeling like they need to respond to it like you do in person.

    • Savannah says...

      Totally. It’s so hard to say thank you for a compliment and leave it at that in person!

    • K says...

      Yes, I can relate to that. Just what you said…

  92. Saba says...

    Love this! We have encouraged our daughter to write family during this pandemic, which is very much appreciated. It is such a wonderful habit. I have a friend that is sending homemade watercolored notes in the most gorgeous hand-lettered envelopes. It made my day!

    As for cards, if you do not know Sapling Press already, I highly recommend you check them out immediately! They are brilliant and so funny they make me laugh out loud (and then I keep chuckling about them all day).

  93. maria says...

    LOVE to send the random, out-of-the-blue card to someone special “just because” … it’s the best feeling to send, and of course to receive! i’ve always been a big letter writer, though sure nowadays do so more via email – but i still send those rare postcards or blank cards now and again, so fun and special. i have quite a stash of blank cards. right now in fact i have a few special postcards to send out to a few special folk!

    • K says...

      Yes to that! So said it so nicely: “out-of-the-blue card to someone special “just because” … it’s the best feeling to send, and of course to receive!”

  94. Sarah says...

    We’ve sent a few “Hello!” type cards to family and friends during quarantine. We also recently used snail mail to send out “Hello” cards with a surprise pregnancy announcement inside! The reaction from people was so sweet; no one expected us to announce the pregnancy through snail-mail, but we don’t actively use social media, so it was right for us.

  95. Lauren E. says...

    I had 3 penpals when I was a kid (I don’t remember exactly where I got their information from?) but I lived for those letters! There’s nothing like getting mail when you’re a kid.

  96. Maryn says...

    Yaaaas, let’s all save USPS together!!! Thanks for this—I’ve been meaning to go buy some stamps and send some letters to my nephews. Also, the dog picture is everything.

    • Clarisa says...

      As an English Setter owner, it’s so exciting to see pictures of them! They’re such a sweet breed!

    • Malky says...

      I just mailed out a mini card I found saying “Here’s a hedge-hug, just because”, to two of my best friends, along with a face mask and it made me so happy to connect with them personally even when I can’t currently see them face to face.