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Certified Health Coach, Award Winning Author, Motivational Muse

Why The Power of the Pen Matters in the Age of Technology

 Opening an envelope to a hand-written card or letter is a gift in the time of texting and eblasts. #fearlessfabulousyou

This time of year, digital holiday greeting cards start flooding my inbox. They begin arriving just after the barrage of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday announcements. One morning, I opened my emails and all I had were notices and offers. Most were from companies or professional coaches and consultants I did not know who wanted me to spend money or sign up for something they offered. Who are all these people and how did they find me?

My caption: Three wise canines wish you “Happy Howlidays!” Card:  www.cardfool.com

Our first real Christmas card arrived in the mail after Thanksgiving. It’s always the same person sending funny pictures of himself with a printed greeting. Then came days of “mail silence” other than coupons, bills and solicitations. The next round of holiday cards came from vendors with a generic greeting, such as Chewy.com (with a discount coupon for pet food), Staples (with a coupon for office supplies) and our trash collection service.

My caption: Three wise women say “Skip the Schlep; Ship the Gifts.” Card: www.cardfool.com

I long for the days of receiving colorful holiday cards from real people with real signatures. In the coming weeks I know cards will arrive, but it seems like more are clogging my inbox instead of filling my mailbox. It feels empty.

Remember the days of the long handwritten “family update?” I used to do the eye roll at those syrupy letters. Now in the time of texting, I feel nostalgic. Do people write longhand anymore? When people say they send e-cards to save trees, I want to ask, “Do you still use wrapping paper on your gifts?”

Because we all need a a healthy dose of humor in our lives these days. Card: www.cardfool.com

Here are three reasons why you should consider picking up a pen and writing a card or letter rather than sending a mass email, text blast or pre-written chain letter to pass along to others:

Your own words matter. Writing is a beautiful form of expression. It shows you took the time think about what to say. Several friends have lost parents this year. I sent each a card with a hand-written note because I remember how moved I was reading all the condolence notes my mother and I received when my father died. Many people shared touching recollections about my father, a CPA, wine educator and author. My favorite was from the Tennessee Internal Revenue Service who wrote, “Even though we did not always see eye-to-eye, we always appreciated his sense of humor.”

Emojis and GIFs do not replace words. A friend who lost a loved one this year confided to me that she’ll always remember the people who took the time write rather than just post images on her Facebook thread which felt impersonal. If you can take a few seconds to post a crying face or praying hands, take a few minutes to write the individual instead. Fake emojis should not substitute for expressing real emotions.

Sending this holiday card will help provide meals for NYC’s homebound elderly. Learn more: www.citymeals.org

Letters can be therapeutic for both the writer and the recipient. A hand-written card or letter could deliver a well-timed message to someone who feels alone or is facing a difficult time. Letters can be sensitive and caring, humorous and light, and chatty or to-the-point. It’s about expressing yourself. Sometimes when you are at a loss for words, writing them down may help you find your voice. Letter writing is also a wonderful way to help others. Citymeals on Wheels has a program where volunteers can write cards and letters to elderly residents who may be living alone and feeling isolated. The human connection matters to one’s health.

Finally, think about what you are about to put down. Choose your words well and deliver them tastefully. It’s a powerful statement that can make a meaningful impact. It also conveys a lot about you.

Writing is a form of expression many are losing and we need to work harder to retain, © Svetlana Cherruty | Dreamstime.com

Putting together my own mailing list for my New Year’s greeting (we do at the start of the year rather than the end), I realized how few snail mail addresses we have. Thanks to a friend, Erin Hunt, I was introduced to Postable, a secure way to collect mailing addresses. Check it out! Click the mailbox for more information. Happy writing!

 

 

 

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