When was the last time you wrote a letter? Not a text message or an email, but an actual physical letter? I know, handwritten letters can, quite literally, be a pain to draft. “Old ways are hard,” writes Wesley Baines. “They’re time-consuming. And how we spend our time is a language unto itself—a letter written by hand creates a much different set of feelings than a simple email … Writing to someone, taking the time to craft each letter, to buy a stamp, to select an envelope, to travel to the post office—none of this goes unnoticed. A letter, before the content is even read, has already said, ‘I care about you. You’re someone special.’”
This Saturday, October 9th, is World Post Day. So named by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) Congress in 1969, it marks the anniversary of the establishment of the UPU in the Swiss Capital of Bern in 1874. More than 150 countries around the world celebrate World Post Day in various ways, including an International Letter-Writing Competition for students aged 9-15.
We think World Post Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the value of letters in our own roles as family historians. So, to that end, we have combed through the Shoppe for kits, cards, and templates you can use to create scrapbook layouts about and including letters.
Looking for ways to include a letter in your next layout? We’ve got some suggestions:
- Scan or photograph a handwritten letter from someone and make it the centerpiece of your layout. This website has detailed information on archival methods for digitally preserving old letters.
- Having a tough time with journaling? Compose a short letter to the subject of your layout. You can tell them what they were doing when the photo was taken, your thoughts and feelings about the photo, or your hopes and dreams for their future.
- Give your kids homework – make them write a letter! Assign them a topic and give them a sheet of paper. You want to capture their thoughts in their words and their handwriting – it’s all a precious snapshot of who they are at this moment in time – then scan or photograph it and include it on your layout. Have them write to themselves in 10 years, their favorite sports hero or pop star, or that all-important letter to Santa Claus.
“Long after they are written and sent (and even after their senders and receivers are gone), letters and postcards remain to be read, appreciated, and preserved,” writes Alena Hall. “Whether displayed on museum shelves honoring famous historical figures or saved in a scrapbook between two old friends, letters protect the memories of lives lived in a way that technological communication cannot.” So consider incorporating a handwritten letter in your next layout, and happy World Post Day!