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Magical childhood moments: the fun of snail mail

Updated: Mar 31, 2022

In part four of my series on creating magic moments for your children, I share how handwritten letters can brighten any child's day.

Younger readers might not know that messages sent by post rather than email are colloquially known as snail mail. Older readers – like me – remember a time when email or texting didn't even exist. Back in the day, people primarily exchanged messages by phone or letter. Letters are called snail mail because of the lag-time between when a letter is sent and its receipt versus the practically immediate exchange when a message is sent via email.

With email being so convenient and easy, it's no surprise that it is used more often than snail mail: in 2020, a staggering 300.4 billion emails were sent and received per day. We don't send anywhere near as many letters a day! Perhaps because getting mail is so relatively rare these days, I become excited and curious when I receive an envelope.

The thrill of the day

My mum and I have shared an inside joke for years: whenever we receive snail mail, we call it the 'thrill of the day.' This is because there is something exciting about going to the letterbox and retrieving an envelope addressed to you in someone's handwriting. You feel it, inspect it, and wonder who's it from and what news awaits inside. Part of the thrill is knowing that someone took the time to write you a personal message; you already know that this message is bound to be more meaningful and memorable than most emails you'll receive in your life.

Snail mail is fun mail

Many years ago, I decided to add a touch of magic to my goddaughter's life on the spur of the moment. I sent my goddaughter a letter 'from Santa' just before Christmas; I made sure I included some personal details about her and promised her the gift she was hoping for (with her mum's permission, of course!). I also took the time to decorate the letter and make it colourful. Days later, my friend sent me a photo of my goddaughter holding her letter, and I could tell she was utterly thrilled.

Her excitement brought me joy, and I remember promising myself that I would do the same for any of my future children. My son is a bit too young now, so I will have to wait till he reaches elementary school, but if you have school-age children, then this is something you can do now.

There are many options for sending your children fun snail mail - you can organise a beloved relative, like an auntie, godparent or grandparent, to write a letter. This is an excellent idea because they can include a cherished family story in the letter, making it a precious heirloom for years to come.

Or you can write a letter that comes from Santa, the Easter Bunny, or a beloved fictional character (think Frozen, Toy Story, Star Wars etc.). This is also a great option because it will supercharge your child's imagination and give them a reason to continue believing.

Either way, receiving a letter from someone they love is a great way to add a touch of magic to your children's lives! The letter can be a simple card, note or an elaborate collage. It can also include little gifts or fun stationery, like stickers. The key is to make sure it's fun, colourful, and includes a beautiful, personalised message to make your child feel special.

You can also add to the memories by recording or taking photos of your children going to the letterbox, opening the envelope, and enjoying its contents!

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