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The art of card and letter writing seems to have disappeared the moment we first heard that electronic voice excitedly declare, “You’ve got mail!” (Younger generations, you may need to Google that.) Meaningful words are still sent between friends and family but reading them on a screen lacks the appeal of opening the mailbox and discovering someone has taken the time to pen something on paper, address it, stamp it and send it from near or far.
As the holiday season approaches, letter writing sees a bit of an uptick. Children write what may be their first and only letters of the year to Santa. And families gather for pictures that will grace the covers of their family Christmas cards.
We live and thrive in a digital era where keeping up with people, even those across the world, is easy. But Facebook, email, and instant messaging don’t have the personal touch that comes with handwritten correspondence. Writing letters may be a lost art, but there is no time to revive the tradition like the holidays.
Digital correspondence is fast and convenient. I can type a message, and the words go to the recipient in less than a few seconds. Handwritten correspondence takes time and effort and costs money. So why is it worth it?
Family – Write to your mom who lives next door or send a letter to a cousin you haven’t seen in years. Both will be equally appreciated.
Friends – We often tell our friends how we appreciate them but writing it on a card can be even more meaningful.
Elderly – Whether living at home or in a care facility, getting older can be challenging and lonely. Some elderly are blessed to be surrounded by friends and family, but many are not. Discovering someone who would benefit from a card or note is as simple as contacting a local church, nearby nursing home or senior community and asking for a recommendation.
Veterans – Giving back to service members by sending letters or cards to veterans in local VA hospitals is a great way to spread some holiday cheer.
Sick Children – Being confined to a hospital bed is never easy for children, but the holidays can be incredibly challenging. Kids love getting letters, and a simple note can lift their spirit. Most hospitals ask that you don’t say “get well,” but other messages of encouragement are welcome. The best practice is to send several letters or cards in a large envelope so that staff can review them and deliver them where they are most needed.
Arkansas Children’s Hospital
1 Children’s Way
Little Rock, AR 72202
Arkansas Children’s Hospital offers a free digital eCard option if you know a specific patient’s name.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Arkansas – Ronald McDonald House provides a “home away from home” for families of children experiencing an extended stay in a local hospital. This time can be scary and stressful for families, and encouraging words are always needed.
1501 W. 10th Street
Little Rock, AR 72202
Homeless and Addiction Recovery Centers – Overcoming addiction can be challenging, and centers across Arkansas are helping to pave the road for a brighter future. Recovery facilities provide opportunities for men and women to form good and healthy habits, learn work and parenting skills and eventually transition into roles as productive members of society. Cards, scripture and words of encouragement are always appreciated.
John 3:17 Women’s Ministry
431 Hwy 145 South
Newport, AR 72112
John 3:16 Men’s Ministry
75 Holmes Rd.
Charlotte, AR 72522
Knowing what to write can be a challenge, especially when writing to someone you don’t know. In most cases, conversational letters are appropriate so think of it as starting a conversation with someone you met in the checkout line at your local grocery store.
Letter writing should be joyful and uplifting, so keep the message light and encouraging. In general, avoid topics you wouldn’t discuss with family over the holiday dinner table. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
The holiday season is a time of joy and celebration for many. Remember those struggling this season and send a handwritten card or letter to brighten someone’s day during a time of year that can also be incredibly lonely.
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