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A lot has changed in 2020. And yet, remarkably, some things remain the same, surviving the test of time and resonating now more than ever — like our mail.

While we continue to navigate unusual times and feel isolated from loved ones, simple correspondence can make all the difference. A postcard, birthday wish or note of gratitude in that familiar handwriting brings a broad smile. Our mail carrier is a special part of our lives. During this national emergency, the U.S. Postal Service has been a source of constancy and reliability in communities across America, delivering supplies, packages and the important correspondence we all count on.

Every well-appointed desk should have the essentials needed to make corresponding easy and pleasurable. Add a candle, fresh flowers or a favorite photo to set the scene and create an oasis wherever you decide to set up shop. Your arsenal should include the following:

Photography by Victoria Campbell

An Address Book

A recent WSJ. Magazine article told of the discovery of Frank Sinatra’s little brown book: his address book that revealed the extent of his influence and network. Every entry was in his handwriting, with accompanying nicknames and affectionate notes. What a treasure! Our address books chronicle our most cherished connections.

Personalized Stationery

Make it enjoyable, not laborious, to pen a note of thanks, thinking of you or I thought you should know. Personalized notes are a reflection of the sender, and like other accessories, it’s great to have several from which to choose. These cards can be formal in nature or feel more modern thanks to a contemporary font. I like flat panel cards that can be used for any occasion. Look for foiling, embossing, bordering, letter pressing and lined envelopes to up the level of luxe.


I could write pages on pens. When you find one you like, buy a dozen. Consider the weight in your hand, the balance and the ink flow. It’s a personal thing, and everyone has their favorite. Pens, like people, come in all shapes, sizes and forms, from fountain to ballpoint to roller ball to felt tip. Professional correspondence should be done in black, or blue if you prefer a more casual flair. If you’re feeling especially peppy, write in green, pink or lavender.


Searches for stamps and collections has roughly doubled since March, according to Scott English, executive director of the nonprofit American Philatelic Society, which serves as a resource for collectors. He has observed more millennials taking up the pleasure of amassing and admiring these tiny works of art. Forever stamps make it easy to gather and save your favorites for a specific letter or recipient. I always use a garden or National Park stamp for my parents and something new and culturally interesting for the godchildren.

Now all that’s left to do is remind that flag on your mailbox that it has a job. Raise it with confidence and know that you’re making someone’s day. 

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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