Send a Smile!

When I was growing up, computers and digital devices were mostly still a thing of the future. Emails really didn’t start taking off until I was in high school and around the time that I was graduating high school. I think my first email address was set up through hotmail my senior year. To be honest, spending my formative teenage years growing up in a rural area, I looked forward to going to the mailbox or sifting through the mail to find a letter addressed to me! I had pen pals in other states and even in Italy! I had gotten involved with chain letters where the person at the top was supposed to send the person at the bottom a sheet of stickers and then send on to six more of their friends or pen pals. Nothing made my day more than getting home from school to find that some random stranger sent me a sheet of weird stickers or stationary for me to use.

What’s more is that when my grandmother passed away in the early 1990’s, she left a full-sized tote of unused stationary and cards…I was set, as no one else in the family saw a need for a thousand, bazillion cards and stationary items. After more than twenty+ years, I am still using the remnants of these cards and stationary items. They make me think of her every time I send something out on them.

Once a month, I send out birthday and anniversary cards to close loved ones. Every couple of months, I will send out random “thinking of you” cards to those that I don’t find the time to connect on the phone or in person with, but who come to my mind and I longingly miss. I realize that everyone is SOOOO distracted and busy with life (family, jobs, errands, cleaning, cooking, and responsibilities) that it is hard to intimately connect frequently with those that one wishes to stay connected to. Having a toddler and being 100% committed to that job is often even more challenging staying connected to those that I miss and love.

That is where sending a card or a quick note in the mail comes in! Sending something “snail mail” doesn’t take too long, but communicates to the recipient that someone is out there thinking of them and loves them very much. “Snail mail” is more intimate than a text, an email or a Facebook message.

You may be thinking that you don’t have stamps, awesome cards, people’s addresses, or stationary to send out. Well hold on, I have simple solutions so that you aren’t spending too much time or too much money to get back to an archaic, but intimate way of connecting with those you love across the miles.

  1. When you get stamps, buy a book of 20. You can purchase these anytime from the post-office (even when its not during normal business hours…thank you technology). You can order them online. You can pick them up from the cashier at a pharmacy like Walgreens and CVS or the Service Desk/Counter at the local grocery store.
  2. Most people don’t care if you send them something in a plain white envelope with a notebook piece of paper. They will love the thought!
  3. If you live in a suburban area that has garage sales throughout the summer, you can find unopened stationary and blank “thinking of you” cards like they are going out of style for about 25 or 50 cents for an entire packet. Of course, you can start out by buying a pack and then keeping an eye out at your next garage sale.
  4. You can even ask your grandmother, your sister, or your mother if they have any extras that they aren’t using. I bet you will always be pleasantly surprised how much people have laying around that never get any action!
  5. Designate a place where you keep and store these needed items, like an unused shoe box or small tote. The next time you are watching brainless television, you can get your box out and send a couple cards out to make someone’s day!
  6. Last but not least…addresses! If you aren’t prone to keeping folks’ addresses, now is the time to start. You can buy an old-school personal phone book at a Walmart or Hallmark. Or even better and cheaper, you can store this information online. If you have an email account, there is usually always a place where individual profiles can save address information. Your computer or your smart phone also has places to collect this data; just make sure that you are backing the device up so that if your device crashes and burns, you can always revive your address book. Start collecting that data in an organized spot now…this will be the most time-consuming to start out, but luckily you only have to do it once!

*Alert! Soapbox Moment Coming*

Just for those that may be confused. If you are planning on hosting a large, formal event, like a a wedding or baby/bridal shower, remember to send an invitation and follow-up thank you card in the mail. It is classier and more ceremonial. Also, if you invite people to a party and they give you (or your spouse or child) a gift, either monetary or actual, remember to send a thank you card in the mail. If you cannot afford to do that, please remember to at least give the person a call, text, or social networking message to acknowledge their generosity (sending something in the mail is more appropriate, though).

I leave you with this….think of others and share your thoughts. The world doesn’t revolve around you. Remember how you feel when you get something in the mail from a loved one. Share that feeling. Tell a friend or family member you haven’t stayed connected to, but think of often, that you love them, you care about them and you are concerned about what is going on in their lives. Send someone a letter or card today! You may find yourself eager to go to the mailbox from now on as there won’t just be bills and fliers to look forward to 🙂

And to my dear friend, Miss Ashleybaby. If you ever read this, please know that I always have appreciated your thoughtful cards and comments. You are a selfless person and I am thankful to be counted among your friends!

 

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