Bring it Back: Handwritten Letters

From a note passed to your junior high school BFF to the annual holiday update from far-flung relatives to correspondence between long distance lovers, there’s something special about handwritten letters.

It takes time to compose a heartfelt message, and that in and of itself is meaningful. Not only are the words important, there are lots of avenues for being creative with how you present your letter. A spritz of perfume, a pressed flower or wallet sized photograph, your choice of stationary, and your unique handwriting make each letter you send special. So, if you haven’t sent a letter in a while, now’s a great time to reach out and connect with someone you care about.

Be Candid

Let’s assume you’re writing to someone you really miss – no passive aggressive letters here – that’s another topic!

The key to a great letter is being specific as to what you love about the person you’re writing to – the more detailed the better! Jot down a list on scratch paper if you need to jog your emotional memory. And keep in mind, your letter doesn’t have to be lengthy to be poignant. As long as it comes from the heart, it’s a success!

Feeling shy? When in doubt, use humor! If you need help expressing your feelings, think of the last time you laughed together with the person you’re writing to, and begin your letter by recalling that. You may surprise yourself when your funny story turns into a genuinely touching recollection. If you’re still stuck, imagine you are the one receiving a letter from them. What would make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

It’s a good idea to type your first draft then transcribe it by hand once you’re satisfied with it. Here are some ideas for getting started. These can apply to romantic letters or messages to friends and family:

  1. Write about how you met or choose a funny anecdote from the last time you hung out.
  2. Say what you’re looking forward to next time you see this person.
  3. Write about how they’ve influenced you or how you’ve changed since meeting them, or knowing them.
  4. Jot down a favorite quote from a movie that you watched together and both loved.
  5. Remember that the letter should be about them more than it is about you!

Be Creative

Of course writing is only half the fun! Here are some ideas for prettying up your handwritten letters:

This one is ideal for a letter to a new flame. Concise and utterly heartfelt…wouldn’t this make you swoon?


Handmade stationary with pressed daisies…sweet!


Make your letter a work of art with this DIY stationary from Crafty Stylish.

When’s the last time you wrote a letter? Share your letter-writing tips in the comments below!

Related Stories:
A Love Letter to My Soul Mate
Bring It Back: Old-Fashioned Cocktails
Bring it Back: Jell-O Molds
Food-ista Series: Bringing Back the Wedge


Photo Credit: Poppies at Play; Etsy; Tigerprint

  • Amy Dowell

    When I was growing up my sister and I wrote each other notes. Sometimes it was as simple as what was going on that week, other times it was to say how much we loved each other. When I moved away from home, I took all of the notes, pictures and letters I’d saved over the years and put them in a book. I sent the book to my sister and she added the letters I’d given her. Now we save every little memory that we share in the book.

  • Tina Allen

    Love this post! I also like to have beautiful stationery on hand for notes. One of my favorite stationers is Fancy Designs. Love her designs!

  • Ashley Berthelot

    My passion for handwritten notes and invitations lead me to open my own paper goods shop. With all the technology we have now, things like taking the time to send out a letter seem like a waste to a lot of people, what with Twitter and Facebook at their disposal. Writing a letter to a friend, client, or family member is so much more human and personal than sending out a mass email to your 500+ Facebook friends. I think anyone who receives a letter in the mail experiences a little excitement because it reminds them of a much simpler time! We could all use a little simplicity in our lives sometimes!

  • Elissa Lerma

    I love letter writing. My husbands Grandmother lived for many years in Florida and during that time I wrote her 4 times a year. I had never met her and she had never met the kids but through my letter she was able to watch the kids grow up and feel connected to her Grandson. I love letter writing and I have been trying to find a penpal for my 6 year old so that she can learn to love letter writing too!

  • Kimberly Gnerre

    I’ve been writing to pen pals since 1985, when I was 15. I still write to pen pals. I also send real birthday cards & thinking of you cards, not e cards.

  • Malinda Ann Hill

    My 9 year old daughter just started to learn to write in cursive and loves to handwrite letters thanks to “Handwriting Without Tears”

  • susan murphy

    Loved reading all the posts, tnx to all xx

  • Jeanne Tutt

    I absolutely <3 written letters! I write them all the time. I wish more people would.

  • Bananamoo Etsy

    I love hand written litters, I will have to sit down and write a few. With email and texting its ok easy to forget about the little things.

    I still have all my hand written love notes from my hubby of 13yrs.

  • victoria silva

    I write hand written letters…and send out thank you cards always… and will continue to do so… it is so much more personal…and shows others you care and appreciate them.

    I love using sealing wax and a seal on my envelopes… for that old-fashioned look and feel… and even designed my own cards… as a product on my on-line shop

    I am a huge believer in keeping traditions alive…and letter writing…is a tradition worth honoring and continuing… thank you for posting this Tori.

    Letters always,

    Victoria Silva

  • allison Davis

    Tori, I love the quote you posted “I want to… every single day” I was watching your wedding show it was the wedding you officiated and I was moved by the writing you composed for the wedding and the vows Dean had written you. The quote you posted today has inspried me to begin my vows for my May wedding, thank you! blog on

    xo allison

    p.s. Hand written thank you notes seem to be a dying thing but I still send them, I know people apprieciate themsmiley-smile.gif

  • Suzanne Brown

    I always write thank you notes so I wrote many hand written notes at Christmas time. My children did also. My BEST christmas card this year however was from my Grandmother she is 86. She always leaves a sweet handwritten note for my children and I in a beautiful cursive. It is always something I look forward to. I LOVE handwritten notes!

  • Melissa G.

    I KNOW right?! I’m sorry…but if I get ONE MORE E-Vite..I’m gonna hurl‘! …OK…maybe not hurl…BUT You are gonna get one HELL of an eye roll buddy!smiley-wink.gif

  • air greenwood

    snail mail is where its at. There is absolutely nothing better than a beautiful handwritten note, right from the heart really letting you know the person cares. I exchanged letters with my great grandmother until she passed several years ago & it was an amazing bond and I am so glad my children embrace the tradition and know nothing about email & facebook.

  • Lemon Meringue

    Totally agree with Air Greenwood: snail mail is everlasting! Although there is a time and a place for texting, e-mail, etc. a handwritten letter or card can make you feel so special and I believe it’s a gift in itself, even more nowadays than before. To think that a person took time to sit down and made a fysical and emotional action to tell you something, wow.

    This is a surprisingly memorable post Tori!

  • Channing Baylard

    I love today’s topic on hand-written letters! I still have saved all my old love notes, or notes I recieved from my brother when he was at war! We are also losing the value of printed photographs; these days its mobile uploads but I want to cherish these memories forever not post them momentarily.

  • Nicole Taylor

    Thank you so much for these great ideas! Hand written letters are a wonderful way to express love and affection that can’t be expressed in any other way.

  • Julie Goodwin

    I love hand written letters or notes. The art of dropping someone a note or a letter is a thing of the past, so sad! I always save anything anyone hand writes me, it is more personal and from the heart.

  • susan murphy

    i read on twitter a year ago…Handwriting is the new black. When Hattie was born i went to Inventori and wrote a card. xx

  • GabiGirl

    LOL!!! I am all about calling my bestest girl friends and doing an impromtu poem or song. Trust me, they make no sense, I sing off key, but I always get the response I am looking for, they tell me how crazy I am and they love getting those messages. One of my friends saves the voice mail for when she has a bad day.

  • Angela Litterio

    I so agree! Handwritten notes are still the best way to espress your feelings. It’s all about the personal touch. This will never go out of style or get old. I’ll have a post on notes later this month. Hope you like! Happy Mother’s Day, TORI! Angela xo

  • PackersTX

    I have a friend that I met when I lived in France nearly twenty years ago. Even though we email and Facebook now, we still write to each other at least once a month. I am thinking of doing a collage of some of the pretty envelopes that she’s sent me and framing them.

  • Angela Litterio

    What a great idea to make a collage from the envelopes! I would love to see it! Maybe you can post here or “like” me on FB and share! Hope you become a fan!

  • Mistymars

    My husband is not great with words, but for each occasion, he takes the time to find just the right card that says what he is feeling. I have started doing the same, and now we have all of these cards to bring out and look at from our years together!