The world is hyperconnected; with text messaging, FaceTiming, tweeting and emailing, the thrill of running to the mailbox to collect the postcard from your friend halfway around the world has nearly evaporated. In fact, a recent study conducted by the U.S. Postal Service revealed that nearly two months will pass before the typical American household receives a personal letter. However, sending a letter is considered the next best thing to standing in the vestibule of your loved one's apartment – words traveling across the digital highway never seem to echo the same way words on paper do.
"There's no denying the wonders of electronic messages, but nothing captures a moment like putting pen to paper," Philip Hensher wrote for The Wall Street Journal.
With seeing that familiar penmanship on an envelope that was sealed with a kiss, comes that small burst of pleasure as you anxiously open the letter, Hensher added.
The sensation of a written letter
A sense of realness and closeness is created through a handwritten letter – from your fingerprints on the card, to the ink from your pen and to the final seal of the envelope.
While electronic communications are fast, efficient and essentially costless, there is something special that resonates with the Christmas photo cards you might receive from the kids you babysit for.
Handwritten cards are unique – they are thoughtfully drafted, as each word is chosen carefully with no "delete" button or "autocorrect" to rely on. Writing a letter is a thoughtful investment: You take time out of your hectic day to select the perfect stationery, pay for a stamp and wander around the city to find the nearest mailbox.
In addition to – or instead of – the expected birthday post on Facebook, show your family and friends some love this year by sending them birthday cards. Boost office morale and surprise your co-workers by placing "thinking of you" cards on their desk one morning.
Through every misspelled word, watermark and doodle, the emotion and time you put into drafting the letter is expressed. Handwritten letters have permanence, whereas electronic messages are automatically deleted after a certain amount of time and vanish into the Internet cloud. There is something warm, something comfortable, about opening that dusty shoebox under your bed only to find the "good luck" letter grandma sent you on your first day out in the real world.
So, the next time you're thinking about shooting a "thinking of you" email to your college roommate, remember: A handwritten letter can be cherished forever.