We LOVE mail. We love getting it, and we love SENDING it. (duh.)
There is nothing certain these days, but one thing that will come and go without fail is THE HOLIDAYS. No matter what you celebrate – or even IF you decide to celebrate this year or not – it’s important that you stay attuned to what matters most. Through the oddest and most unexpected situations, it’s PEOPLE who get you through– from your dearest loved ones to heroic strangers. Traditional gatherings and concerts may be canceled, but the TRUE essence of what the holidays are about will live on… through US.
Some say the year 2020 — and all its chaos — is really a year of introspection. After all, that is what hindsight is, is it not?
Let’s explore that for a moment. (Go with us on this…)
One of the greatest things about the entire world experiencing a critical point or upheaval is that it brings out the best in people. Have you noticed? The bravest of heroes have risen to the surface. You know who we mean: The postal workers, the grocery clerks and stockers, the food deliverers, the medical providers, your kids’ teachers and so many more. You may even be lucky enough to know some of these people personally or have them in your family. These are the people who put themselves on the front line EVERY DAY, risking their own lives to save ours.
How can we even begin to thank them? The holidays are always a good opportunity to start reflecting on those who have made a difference in your life as well as the lives of others, and you can easily start by using the convenience of the United Stated Postal Service.
Send your EXPRESSION through the mail.
When COVID took over our lives and the whole world went into hiding, Emily was awestruck by the attentiveness and dedication of the medical workers in her community. The same as everyone else, they are HUMAN and VULNERABLE, yet they sure acted fearless- and their bravery had not gone unnoticed.
Emily wanted to do something significant for all the nurses in her community, but she didn’t know what she could possibly give them that would come close to the gratitude she felt, nor did she have a large budget.
Sometimes, just the thought is ENOUGH.
There is no greater feeling than learning that someone has thought of you, or was positively affected by you. Showing your gratitude for a complete stranger brings new meaning to “random acts of kindness” because even though they may SEEM random, they are actually very well thought out and there is no other kind of value that can match THAT.
Emily didn’t want her small budget to reflect in her appreciation so she decided to start a postcard writing campaign– a great use of the USPS, which just about everyone can afford. Simply using social media, she put out a request for the names of the nurses or medical workers that had made a positive impact in her friends’ lives, gathering the information through private messages. If she couldn’t track down their home addresses, she looked up the addresses of the hospitals where they worked. Then, together with her 6 year old son, they hand wrote and decorated more than 200 postcards.
Simple… yet, SINCERE.
This can be done with many of the heroic people in your community. Firemen also love getting personally written postcards from a stranger who appreciated them, or even a child who watched them in action and admires them greatly. These are the mailable gifts that mean so much to a person– that they end up on bulletin boards year ‘round so that they never forget the day someone made them feel noteworthy.
People who have positively affected us are EVERYWHERE.
Maybe you were listening to a podcast that really resonated with you, and it felt like the host was speaking DIRECTLY TO YOU. Remember how lifted up you felt? Maybe you were inspired by an article or blog – so much that you were encouraged to take inspired action in YOUR OWN LIFE. Go ahead and surprise them with a letter of gratitude and a bumper sticker… or four. THEY DESERVE TO KNOW THEY MATTERED.
Validation goes a loooong way when it is given, and no one will dispute the incredible sacrifices our heroes have made for our safety (and our sanity!) but all too often we take it for granted the positive impact someone has had on us, and there is no bigger shame than leaving our champions uninformed. A simple letter and easy to mail gift is a lovely surprise that will make anyone’s day.
Let’s all take a moment to praise our Postal Workers
Although, what you may have already discovered is that finding a gift to express your gratitude to your mail carrier might be more challenging than you think. According to the Code of Federal Regulations Standards of Ethical Conduct for USPS employees, postal workers are unable to accept gifts that exceed a $20 value, and no more than $50 for the year.
Does this mean they don’t deserve your gratitude? Not even close.
We all know what the USPS has had to endure this year, with just the sheer volume of online ordering alone. There are plenty of ways to work around these regulations without putting your favorite mail carrier in an awkward position.
Acceptable gifts include gift cards (that cannot be exchanged for cash) in the amount of $20 or less, homemade refreshments such as cookies or brownies (make sure you make enough for them to share with their colleagues!) presentational gifts such as a personalized picture frame or plaque…
…and of course— never underestimate the power of a thoughtful letter.
If you’ve made note of all the times your mail carrier went out of their way to bring your mail to your door, or track down a missing package, now would be an excellent time to recall it. Putting down in ink all the times they went above and beyond their call of duty will go into their personnel file, which is always a nice gesture, and is sure to be appreciated.
Inexpensive Mailable Gifts
Use Snail mail to your advantage! Don’t let expensive shipping rates deter you from sending gifts to your long-distance loved ones this holiday season. If you are looking for some holiday mailable gift inspiration, look no further! We’ve made a list of fun and easy gifts that you can send in the mail– in an envelope no bigger than a skinny mail slot.
Personalized Gift Certificates
Sure, you can be like everyone else and just send a gift card, but if you are looking for something more personable, MAKE YOUR OWN! Make sure to include an experience that can only be enjoyed by THEM. It may be awhile before we go back to enjoying certain pastimes, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait to start planning! People are finding creative ways of enjoying their favorite things even while staying socially distant.
What are you MOST missing these days?
Get creative and colorful and make as many certificates that will easily fit into a holiday card. For instance:
Dinner and a Movie – Check out the drive-in movies that are opening up in your area. Send along the menu with your certificate and ask them what they would like you to pre-order for your meal that evening.
Picnic and a Hike or A Day at the Beach – Keep those masks on until it’s time to eat. Bring plenty of hand sanitizer and enjoy the view!
Backyard BBQ – Socially distance yourself with pre-set lawn chairs around a fire pit and gobble up those dogs and S’mores!
Maps and Keys
ADVENTURE IS OUT THERE!! …and it all starts with a little imagination. Send your buddy a map and a few clues that will lead them into a thrilling experience. Throw in a single key to a footlocker, or the code to a lock hidden somewhere in the forest. Before they know it, they’ll be on a personalized escapade – an experience they are likely never to forget. MAKE IT A COMPETITION and send multiple maps to a small group of people to begin a scavenger hunt.
Now we know what you are thinking… books are a whole different shipping category…but not when they are AUDIOBOOKS or eBOOKS! Just make the purchase in advance, print out the claim code, and add it to the envelope. For added fun, include a homemade bookmark.
…because sometimes your pen-pals deserve a little something extra. If you are looking for those mailable gifts that cost next to nothing, consider making an origami, or a few sheets of origami paper and the instructions to make their own. Stickers- especially bumper stickers or laptop stickers – are always a big hit, just as are temporary tattoos.
We once heard about a girl who had moved to a year-round warmer climate, and missed the changing seasons, so her friend sent her yellow leaves in the fall. In exchange, she sent back pressed flowers from her garden. It was a tradition that went on season after season.
Of course, no one could have predicted that face-masks would be fashionable in the year 2020, but here we are sporting our expressions on our face and doing our part to keep the world from getting sick. If you happen to be good on the sewing machine, make a customized one for your pal, fold it up and stick it in a card.