The Art of the Handwritten Note

In these days of emails, emojis and texts, a handwritten note is a rare commodity.  An old-fashioned message that requires a stamp for delivery is really something special in the 21stcentury.

A handwritten letter communicates to the recipient that you were willing to actually pause your life long enough to write down your thoughts, place them in an envelope, search out an actual address, purchase a stamp and get the letter to a post box.  A handwritten letter says, “you are worth the effort.”  A personal note that arrives in the mail lets a person know that you are invested in their lives.

Letters are also biblical. A good chunk of our New Testament consists of handwritten letters sent to churches to encourage and guide them in their ministry. Dollars to donuts that the writers of those letters never expected people to be reading (and even studying) them 2,000 years later, yet…here we are. Who knows what future generations a letter written today might inform?

It has come to my attention that many people from my age on down don’t really know how to go about writing a note–from how to create the content to how to correctly address an envelope.

So for those who are not practiced in the art, here is how to write a simple, handwritten, personalized letter, realizing that a note doesn’t have to the length of a Pauline Epistle to be special.

Start with a greeting:

Dear [insert Name of Recipient here] Use your own discretion over when to use a first name and when to use a title with a last name. Is this an old friend or a former professor? A cousin or a business associate? Use your judgment on this.

State why you are writing the note:

This is to thank you for…

Congratulations on…

I am so sorry…

So excited to hear that…

I wanted to let you know…

Offer up a personal detail

You always know just what to get me. 

You have always been great at _______, so I’m not surprised at this honor/promotion/etc

I know how much you treasured your time together

I knew from the first lemonade stand we put up that you would be running your own company some day. 

Close on a positive:

I look forward to seeing you soon.

I wish you all the best in this new endeavor.

I can’t wait to meet your new spouse/baby/dog in person.

Hope the year ahead is a great one.

Sign off

Just like the greeting, use your discretion. Is this a Sincerely yours? A Love? Or perhaps a Peace to you person? Regards is always a good one if you don’t want to get too personal.

Address envelope and place stamp as indicated in graphic above.

Think about sending a handwritten note today. It’s a little bit of effort for something that can make someone feel really special.

Rev. Anne Russ is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church (USA), currently based in New York City. Doubting Believer provides tools and encouragement for the rollercoaster ride of your faith journey. Follow me on Facebook , Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow on TikTok. Get emails to keep up with all that is happening.

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