Letters are some of the most touching gifts you could ever receive. Whether it’s a holiday/birthday card or a letter from a pen pal, there’s something truly special about receiving a gift in writing. Writing, of course, is one of the greatest ways we express ourselves, and ever since quarantine began, I’ve used writing to stay in touch with my loved ones. After all, if I can’t send someone my love in person, why not send them my love in a letter?
When everything shut down and quarantine began last March, I became very lonely and missed everyone I used to socialize with–a feeling I’m sure most if not all of us can relate to. I’m an only child, so it was especially boring and lonely for me to be home 24/7, but then some friends and I got the idea to do a pen pal exchange with each other. Before I knew it, I’d received mail from friends and family all over, from my cousins in Chicago to my friends in Colorado and Canada, and even to my friends in the same city as me. Even though I could easily FaceTime with any one of them, the pen pal exchange I’d developed gave me something to look forward to; there’s nothing like the surprise and joy that comes with receiving another letter in the mail.
Admittedly, writing letters can become tedious and/or unexciting over time, but there are certainly ways you can have fun with the whole process. Once school came around and I had less free time for myself, I viewed writing time as self-care time–and I still do–especially because it can be very uplifting to read what someone else took the time to share with you in their own writing. I’ll usually play some music in the background to clear up my headspace from other responsibilities and stressors, which gave the act of writing letters a very therapeutic atmosphere to it as well.
To add to the spirit of writing letters, I picked out some stationery and colored pens to make my letters more interesting. When I first began writing letters, I would use lined paper from my notebooks and blank envelopes, but browsing through and purchasing stationery got me even more excited to send letters to loved ones. If you’re looking to brighten up your own letters, you can even use this as an opportunity to support local businesses like I did!
Another way you can make letters fun is by including little gifts or games to play. For example, one of my friends sent me a drawing of hers, and another friend and I made a game of tic-tac-toe, which we would play one move at a time depending on whose turn it was (spoiler alert: the game ended in a stalemate, but it was still fun to play), and a few friends even sent me cards for my birthday.
Although it can still get boring and/or lonely being home all the time due to the pandemic, my pen pal exchange has been a nice reminder that I have amazing friends and family members who take the time to send me letters. It’s made me feel appreciated and cared for, which was something I’d almost forgotten at the beginning of quarantine. Whether it’s for a special occasion or your way of staying in touch with them, I’d highly suggest you reach out to a loved one and send them a letter or card of your own. You might even find something precious in the process, like a new or greater passion for writing or a more intimate connection with friends and family!