Each year, January 23rd is celebrated as National Handwriting Day.
Being a fan of handwritten notes, cards and letters, especially in this era of digital everything and instant communication, I had to share this little-known holiday.
Declared by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association in 1977 “to acknowledge the history and influence of penmanship,” January 23rd was chosen as it’s John Hancock’s birthday. Hancock, of course, is famous not only as the U.S. Declaration of Independence’s first signer, but also for making his signature so large and bold that the British king wouldn’t need glasses to read it.
I grew up writing letters to my grandparents, aunt and cousins who lived in Europe — phone calls were expensive and reserved for holidays and birthdays — and still remember the joy of seeing a blue “par avion” (thin paper to keep the weight down for sending via airmail) envelope in the mailbox knowing that Nan had sent another letter catching me up on everything.
To this day, I still prefer handwriting as there’s just something about the transfer of energy from me to pen to paper knowing that energy will be received by the recipient — no email can do that! And who doesn’t love finding an unexpected letter, card or note in the mailbox?!?!
Simple steps to sending handwritten notes
To keep it simple for me to send notes, I keep a stack of notecards, birthday and other cards, next to my desk with pre-stamped envelopes. When something comes up, I grab the appropriate card and jot a note.
And, for birthdays, they’re in my calendar a week before the day with the person’s name and address so it’s easy peasy to write a card and have it received on time.
I also love to read paper magazines and keep a stack of stamped envelopes on my coffee table so I can easily rip out and article, jot a “thought of you” or whatever’s appropriate and off it goes.
I mail at least one handwritten card/note each day. No agenda, simply to connect and, ideally, make someone smile.
Who will you send a note to today?