I have a friend (who’s witty comments can even be found on this blog) who’s been a postcard aficionado ever since I’ve known her. In one of my “binder of important things” I have a postcard she sent me from Singapore complete with a Tuk Tuk illustration she drew on the back. When my life first started falling apart, my friend would send me the most perfect postcards in the mail. She had this uncanny ability to send a simple 4″x6″ piece of paper that had the right message or smile I needed at the time.
I know I’ve written in the past on here, but it took a wave of grief for me to fully realize how important snail mail can be. After Tim died, my mailbox was flooded with terrifying bills that I couldn’t pay but it was also full of cards and notes from friends. Mail makes people happy, and I wanted to send more of it.
Armed with an Amazon gift card, I started perusing boxes of postcard sets on Amazon. As with most things Amazon related, there are tons to choose from. I picked up a few boxes, and then started collecting addresses from folks. About every other week I’ll look through my list of addresses and see if someone needs a postcard. Maybe they’ve helped me out with something, and deserve a thank you. Maybe they had a hard week, and need a smile. Or maybe they’re going through a personal struggle like one I’ve been dealing with, and a little postcard can say “Hey, I’m thinking of you” like others have for me.
I also put a little star by every person’s name who acknowledges they received the postcard, because even if I’m trying to spread goodwill and cheer… I do like a little validation!
Aside from sending postcards to people I know, my friend turned me to a site that hosts a formalized postcard exchange – Postcrossing. The premise is pretty simple.
- Sign up with your postal address (a lot of people use PO Boxes for this)
- Ask to send a postcard, and the system randomly spits out an address from around the world to you
- Write a tracking code on your postcard, and send
- When the other person gets the postcard you sent, they enter the tracking code in the site
- Once it’s been verified that you sent a postcard, a random one will be sent to you
Since I joined Postcrossing four months ago, I’ve sent 17 postcards and gotten 15 back. They are always a bright spot in my mailbox, and I love seeing the different images and places from around the world. I tend to get lots of pandas from China/asia, and who doesn’t love pandas?
If you’re a fan of mail or postcards, I’d suggest Postcrossing as a pretty fun hobby. Every address is anonymously spit out, which means you can’t go to that site and say “Hey I’d like to murder Lauren – let me ask these postcard people where she lives!” Alternatively, if you want to be added to my list “people I send postcards to when I feel like it” list, you can email me your mailing address. I promise to only send postcards and no creepy stalking. 😉