I love to receive happy mail.
There is nothing quite like looking down at the tiles on the inside doorstep to see a (perhaps coloured) envelope with a beautiful stamp in the corner and my name and address hand written on the front.
Something special in the post! What could it be? Who is it from? A card hand picked because this friend knew I would just love it. Something they saw and thought of me so just had to get an pop in the post.
A hand written letter is such a lovely gift in and of itself. I still have letters friends wrote to me when I was a teenager, and keep the most meaningful birthday cards I receive every year. From time to time, I’ll open the box of lovely things and read over what people have sent me.
If you’re wanting to send something a little extra special to a friend, here are some ideas I have come up with to pop in an envelope, keeping your post the cost of a stamp (so less than 100g and 5mm thick here in the U.K.! #postgeek)
1. A bookmark
It could be something you’ve made yourself, embroidered or cross stitched yourself or it could be bought specially for the occasion. There are some lovely bookmarks made by small businesses, which is even better than finding one on Amazon!
2. Your favourite recipe
Every so often, I find a recipe I just cannot help but share far and wide. Proof is the granola recipe I recently blogged and others I have planned in the works. It can be so nice to have a recipe written in someone else’s handwriting and will be special for the recipient to make. Senses are so important to memories and you will be especially remembered as they make this recipe they will now associate with you.
3. A photo of both of you
Most people these days have piles of photos stored on their phones. But there is something so special about printing photos. You see them more often. You can open a drawer and have them staring up at you. You can pop them up on a cork board above your desk. You can use them as bookmarks (this would be killing two birds with one stone - see idea 1!)
4. An origami butterfly
I have plans to make a YouTube video showing you how to make one of these, but you can google it. All you’ll need is a square piece of paper, bonus if it’s patterned, extra bonus if it’s pattered on both sides. Origami butterflies are great to pop in the post with a card because they are beautiful, simple and quick to make and most importantly in this case, they are pretty much flat. Give it a go!
5. A beautiful piece of paper
On the back of number 4, you could put a beautiful piece of paper inside your card. A friend once included a gorgeous floral A6 piece of paper inside a card she wrote to me (from Nepal, no less!!) and I have yet to use it for anything because it is so beautiful, I don’t want to waste it. It is just pinned on my notice board above my desk. Like the candles I have collected and now begun to use (because there’s really no point in having them if you’re not going to use them) I will find something to use it for and enjoy the pattern in its new form soon.
6. A Bible verse written out
Christians will love having a visual reminder of the truth of God’s word, especially if it’s hand written in someone else’s writing. A verse you think will be of special encouragement to them, or if you feel led by the Spirit to give them a certain verse, do it. Don’t be shy. If you can write in calligraphy or hand letter it, all the better. But if you can’t, written in a friend’s best hand writing is perfect.
7. A small painting, drawing or illustration
Why not get your pens, pencils or paints out and make a little piece of unique and special art. It could be a doodle or it could be something that takes a little longer and is frame worthy. Something that will make them feel like you’ve taken a bit of extra time and given them a small piece of your creativity and self.
8. A great quote for them to hang up
If you come across a great quote, why not type it out on a piece of A6 card or if you’re artistically inclined, hand letter it and maybe even illustrate it in some way. Something to inspire for the wall, a book mark or for them to pop in their journal. I love looking through my journals as I add in notes, postcards, metro tickets, cinema ticket snubs and other little bits and bobs as mementos.
9. A book review
You will often find me looking through GoodReads if I have a little spare time. I also love reading the mini reviews some bookshops have on shelves written by one of the people who work there. You know the ones I mean? I love hearing what a trusted friend thought of a specific book, particularly one they loved. I read through friend’s reviews on goodreads and often end up adding more and more books to my To Read list. Why not write a book review of one of your favourite recent reads as a personal recommendation?
10. A sheet of stickers
You can find some great stickers, for all occasions. Many are available on a A6 sheet, and a lot of small businesses make really awesome individual stickers you can use on a water bottle or a laptop. Why not look for something your friend will love? Etsy is good place to browse to find local small businesses you weren’t aware of selling all sorts of stickers.
11. An extra postcard
There are so many great postcards available - they are no longer just for sending when you’re on holiday somewhere scenic. I must have been 16 or 17 when a friend sent me a bunch of free postcards she collected around coffee shops that stocked them by a company called a Boomerang. I don’t know if they’re still going, but I still have 4 or 5 Ben & Jerry’s ones with things like “granny like generosity is corporate policy” and “a big dollop of this, a big dollop of that” on them, and some of iconic Friends things like the frame around the peep hole in the girls flat and Joey and Chandler’s chick and duck. Anyway, that’s a long story about how cool postcards can be.
I sell a few in my shop if you’re after something floral or a reminder of who God is - there are 6 in this particular pack and I’m sure you’ll find one your friend could do with hearing. You don’t even have to write anything on the back.
My friend all those years ago just included a few postcards in with a letter. No explanation, nothing written on them. I still remember it now! That’s the kind of happy mail you’re aiming for - something unexpected, thoughtful and fun they’ll remember for a long time.
12. A cut out from a magazine or newspaper
There are many an article my husband has photographed and sent to me. He does the same with a lot of his friends. I would tend to cut out an article or a page from a magazine, especially my new favourite (to which I am now a subscriber) The Simple Things. You could send over inspiration, encouragement, an article that spoke to you, a picture that reminded you of them or that you think they’ll like for whatever reason.
13. A bucket list or seasonal to do list
Why not send a list of ideas of things to occupy the kids during the summer holidays, a list of great places near where they live, a list of fun things to do around Christmas or a list of the flowers you have planted in your garden this year and loved, a list of reason you love them, or a list of your favourite go to meals when you don’t know what to make for dinner. Send an inspiring list, a list that will give them something to look to when they aren’t feeling it. Something useful and a little whimsical.
14. A printed out blog post
There is so much encouragement in a lot of their posts, and I think these particularly would give a little hope and help many women I know, the first two especially for (new) mums. Lore Ferguson Wilbert has a way with words that I always find so comforting as well.
You could be all ironic and print out this blog post to send! 😆 More seriously, I’d love to have your input on your favourite blogs - I love reading a good blog.
15. A comic or funny tweet you saw
Or really, anything to make them giggle! It can be topical or something that made you think of them, to do with an in-joke or just something you think they’d enjoy. My personal favourite comic to read is Calvin and Hobbes. One of my brothers was so similar to a Calvin when we were growing up, and even made himself a Spaceman Spiff mask to wear. If you’re not familiar with it, you should be - it’s so good! Most are in black and white so are great to print off and send.
16. A colouring page
Colouring is very therapeutic. There’s a reason adult colouring books became so popular a few years ago, and it’s the same reason they’re still popular. Colouring is good to relax, do something repetitive and end up with a beautiful sheet of paper. I’d recommend sending something that is a repeat pattern, or a picture of somewhere you love and have in common. I have an Edinburgh colouring book by Helen C. Stark which I love and come back to often, and a couple of random pattern ones which I enjoy if I need to do something mindless.
So that’s my list!
I’d love to hear what you enjoy receiving with post! Any other great ideas of flat items to include with a letter or a card?