Happy Mail: The Value Behind Personal Mail in a Digital Age



Each day that you open your mailbox and pull out the infamous random assortment of junk mail, you find the same things. You fiddle through the perfectly addressed envelopes from random businesses; bills for which you already subscribed to the paperless option, yet keep receiving; the grocery store mailers that leave ink on your fingertips; and other pre-paid postage disappointments. 

Some days, before you toss the bulk of it in the trash, you may even let out a sigh, remembering when checking the mail was actually a bit exciting. 

Perhaps that was a long time ago, but a time nonetheless. 

The majority of our personal correspondence follows the rest of the digital age and meets us in e-mail inboxes, text messages, or social media direct messages. From party invitations to birthday wishes, it’s become more and more rare to receive a physical piece of mail from family and friends. Even outside of the big celebratory gestures, how often do we see care packages shipped any more or even a simple four-line postcard dropped in the mail? The way that we keep in touch, show we care, and give life updates has simply changed over time. 

It can be so easy to forget just how special it can feel to receive a little “happy mail” from someone we care about. 

Each generation has different memories around the experience of sending and receiving personal snail mail; the time we’re living in could use a reminder of just how valuable the experience really is. 

When we send someone something personal through the mail we’re showing we went the extra mile. Taking time to send something as simple as a birthday card really stands out, when you could have just written that 30-second birthday message on Facebook covered with emojis. It shows the person on the other end that you chose a card just for them, took time to write something personal, paid that small stamp price and made sure it got all the way to greet them at their home. Simple as it is, it makes a difference. 

Think about the height of the Pandemic, when most of the United States and other countries were on a strict lockdown. Now, imagine how a handwritten letter in a grandparent’s mailbox must have felt in those moments. How opening an envelope filled with printed photos of their grandchildren could change their entire mood! We often hear the sentiment “It’s the little things that count,” and when it comes to personal mail it really rings true! 

If you’ve ever had that special feeling of opening your mailbox only to be surprised by a little happy mail yourself, then you know exactly what it can do for your day. What if each of us started making it our mission to add that same excitement to someone else’s day once in a while? Grab some interesting stationary, a book of stamps, and some fun-colored pens and get started! Maybe you write a few personal letters to old friends or decide to send a birthday card to your sibling for the first time in years. Remember, it’s the little things! You don’t have to go overboard and create enormous, fancy care packages to make it exciting for someone–doodle a fun drawing on the outside of an envelope or a sticker to make the recipient smile when they pull the card out. In our technology-centered world of correspondence the act of sending something may not feel good only to them, but to you, too. 

There is so much value in going back to the basics and sending a little sunshine to someone you love. Challenge yourself this week to think of someone who could use some of that sunshine and put a little postage on it. You won’t regret it!

 


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