Recently, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been under threat by the current administration. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, since his appointment in June, has made changes to the postal service which include cutting overtime and limiting post office hours resulting in significant delays.
Social media was saddened to see the removal of the signature blue mailboxes, which a USPS spokesperson said is due to the decline in mail volume. The role of the USPS is at its most salient, given the looming presidential election and pandemic, with many citizens preferring to vote by mail over in-person.
This raised concerns as President Donald J. Trump publicly decried mail-in ballots and falsely claimed they will succumb to voter fraud. Studies show there is little to no evidence that supports his conviction.
Eager voters rallied on social media to “Save the USPS,” urging people to purchase stamps and/or merch and contact their representatives to advocate for better support and funding for the USPS. Another way to support postal mail is writing letters, a tradition people are reacquainting themselves with.
The action of writing letters to your friends or loved ones has become largely redundant when a simple text, phone call or social media love will do the job. But, the notion of putting pen to paper, formulating your thoughts and adorning it with drawings and stamps is much more intimate. Since the message isn’t received instantaneously, you are essentially putting more thought and effort into it.
Over the past six months in isolation, people have labored to connect over long distances and many resorted to such old-fashioned methods, which in turn supports the fabric of our nation’s efficiency, the USPS.
Personally, the early days of quarantine gave me and my friends the opportunity to take the time to check up on each other in the form of handwritten letters. In the crazy and fast-paced world we live in, it’s easy to disconnect yourself from people you care about.
There are many ways in which writing letters can be enjoyable, even if you’re not artistically inclined. You can buy a card from the store or make your own using a piece of paper or nice stationery.
Regarding the contents of the letter, you can detail a funny story that recently happened, something that reminded you of your recipient or a message of appreciation for their friendship, as cheesy as that sounds. Then, you can design the letter with drawings, stickers or ink stamps, which add a nice touch.
When it comes to inspiration, my friends are an excellent source. One sent me cat stickers and an excerpt from a poem along with their letter, while another used watercolors to depict flowers on the front of the card.
If you want to get extra creative, you can seal your letter with a wax seal, another old-time custom. They can be found at your local Michaels, if you have one, and are a great way to further personalize your letter and add a mark of elegance, or even a keepsake.
One of the best parts about writing and receiving letters is the element of mystery, as the arrival of the letter can be estimated but not predetermined. Checking your mail and seeing a letter from your friend or partner among the pile is always a pleasant surprise and can be the highlight of an ordinary day.
Writing letters is a way to break how mundane communication has become. While iMessage and Facetime provide the utter form of convenience, they have long been ingrained in our day-to-day routines.
Current times have taught us to slow down and reconsider how we connect with others, receding back to pre-digital methods by sending out letters and supporting our national postal service simultaneously.