Do you remember the days when your mailbox would be filled with holiday cards—real, actual, hand-written cards? I loved receiving them, and still do. Only these days, more often than not, they are sent with nary a scribble upon them. While these cards might include pre-printed messages like "best wishes" or even "with love," they somehow feel like a letdown, devoid of anything personal.
Imagine receiving two holiday cards, one that includes a handwritten message or sign-off, and one that was merely stuffed, stamped, and delivered. Which one makes you feel more connected to—and appreciative of—the sender? Which card are you more likely to keep? The former takes maybe an extra minute or two, tops, but somehow this correspondence takes on far greater meaning and value.
The simple act of putting pen to paper goes a long way, especially across the miles. Something you touched is now being held by the receiver, and there's something magical about this tactile connection.
I just unearthed a small scrap of paper written by my paternal grandmother, found inside a velvet jewelry box. On a torn-off piece of yellow legal paper she wrote, “Love, Grandma Leane.” My grandmother has been gone for many years, and yet this ragged fragment instantly brings her back to life—the way she wrote, the way she spoke, laughed, smiled... I visualize her as I write this, in fact, all because she took the time to stick a hand-scribed message inside a gift box. Therein lies the transformative power of putting pen to paper—a tiny scrap rekindling vivid memories. How amazing is that?
Give it a try in the coming weeks. Unplug for just a few minutes, and sign those holiday cards, write a word or two to let friends, family, and workmates know you’re thinking of them, appreciate them, or hope the New Year is a happy and healthy one. Notice how uplifting it is to give in this simple way. Expressing gratitude or well wishes doesn't cost a thing, yet adds immeasurable and lasting value, especially for those you hold dear.