We’re all missing our family, friends and loved ones right now. Staying at home has become a new kind of normal. Working in our Pjs, streaming Tiger King, zooming with our besties, contemplating spring cleaning (but let’s face it, not getting much done!) and googling how to make banana bread: we’re all in this together. We’re cooking, painting, puzzling, crafting. Here at Elūm we’re writing. Like you, we can’t see our grandparents, our moms and dads, our brothers and sisters. We can’t be with our squad so we’re writing to them—real notes with paper and ink—to let them know we’re thinking about them. We’re staying connected. Old school.

The US Post is an essential service. Thanks to the dedicated and hardworking staff at USPS we can still send and receive mail. They’re giving us the opportunity to reach out to fam and friends in a meaningful and lasting way. When everything gets back to normal, it’s the note your daughter sent to Grandma that will be remembered. The card you sent to a coworker saying, “Hang on in there, sister. We’ll get through this together” and the letter you sent to your favorite teacher saying, “I always wanted to let you know what a difference you made in my life” that will be treasured as keepsakes. There’s never been a more important time to show we care that’s why we’ve put together some of our best ideas for staying connected while staying at home.

We’re not in high-school anymore. Thank heavens! No one is going to judge our handwriting, composition or grammar. As Shakespeare said, “Tis better to have written and misspelled than never written at all.” Or something like that! If you’re worried about making mistakes when you’re handwriting a note, type the text on your phone or laptop first. That way you can switch it around, edit it, and check for spelling and grammar before putting pen to paper. If you do make a mistake, don’t abandon the note, cross out the error, bless it with a smiley emoji, and move on. Our loved ones already know we’re not perfect: we’re not fooling anyone! #ToErrIsHuman

Put yourself on the page. Write like you speak so when your recipient reads your note he or she can hear your voice in their head. We’re not saying drop the F bomb on granny, but if you’re writing to a girlfriend to let her know how much you’re missing her, it’s okay to write,

“Going cray cray here without you, babe. Happy Hour is Sad Hour without my bestie stealing my wine & fries!”

Be yourself and speak from the heart and your words will always come out right. #NoOneExactlyLikeYou

More Hobbit, less Lord of the Rings. No one likes staring at a blank page knowing they’re going to have to fill it with words. A long letter can be intimidating both to the writer and recipient which is why we like cards and mini notes so much. A greeting, a couple of sentences, a signature and the page is full and we’re done. We don’t need to write a three book trilogy to show we care. “Dan, We’re so glad to hear your father’s getting better. We met him at the bbq last summer. He told the best stories about you as a kid! Love to you and Ash.” The value of a letter doesn’t lie in its word count. It lies in the fact that someone cares enough about you to take the time to write a note. #BigIsNotAlwaysBetter

Kids Play. If you have kids running around while you’re reading this we heart you! Suddenly we’ve turned into home-schooling, daycare providing, lunch ladying, backyard coaching multi-taskers. We’re doing it all. Dinners may have been burned! Corners may have been cut, but let’s cut ourselves some slack too. One of the best things we can teach our kids is gratitude. Recognizing the things we’re thankful for is a blessing and a skill that lasts a lifetime. Fill the kitchen table with colored crayons, stickers, glitter and glue (we never promised it wouldn’t get messy!) and a box of our Old School Notes and ask the kids who they’re missing and would like to write to. Let them sign a “Miss you, Grandpa” note with a thumbprint of glitter, draw pictures of the cat on the note to their favorite teacher, and write “A Big Thank You!” to local hospital workers in an entire rainbow of colors. #KidsSpreadingSunshine

Think inside the box. If you’re sending a note to your parents, why not print out a photo of you and the kids and slip it inside the envelope? Send a homemade coupon promising the bearer, “One home-cooked meal and epic catch up sesh.” Include a packet of seeds with a note saying, “We may be apart but we’ll always grow together.” Get creative. Include a self addressed stamped envelope and write in very small letters, “Just in case you were thinking of writing back?”.  #NoExcuses

Who doesn’t love receiving a letter in the post? The stamp, the handwritten address, the matching paper and envelope? It’s magical. We have a lot to be thankful for here at Elūm. We’re grateful to first responders, healthcare workers and everyone who works in essential services. We’re grateful for teachers who are working hard to provide online schooling for our kids. We’re grateful for our families and friends and miss them very much. We have a lot of notes to write. What about you? Who are you writing to?

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