The Perfect Gift for Anyone — Write a Meaningful Letter
November is a month that makes me think of Gratitude and Connection. And also Family, as I often get to see extended family at this time of year. All wonderful things.
And having said that, I also struggle in November with the overwhelm of the holiday busyness. I feel bombarded by all of the options for gifts and long to give the perfect gift to each person, to show that I care. I do love giving gifts, especially if they say, “I know you” “I love you” and “I care about you.”
For the last several years, I’ve written letters as gifts. And I’ve discovered (having also received letters) that a meaningful letter makes an amazing gift.
It doesn’t have to be corny, overly sweet, or precious. The best letters are real. They sound like you. They can include humor, adventure, amazement … along with love and admiration and gratitude.
I’ve written these letters and writing brought back so many memories and made me feel more connected to the person I was writing to. And I’ve also received them, and the letters have touched my heart deeply. Getting letters like these made me feel deeply seen, appreciated, and loved.
Get At Your Feelings
Think about somebody you want to write a letter to: a child, a parent, a sibling, a friend, a mentor …
Make a list of memorable moments with that person. They don’t have to be big events. They can be everyday kind of moments that you’ve held on to.
The way your big sister made you laugh when you were broken down on the highway.
How your best friend showed up with warm cookies after you texted that you were having a crappy day.
The time you saw your kid standing up for a kid who was getting picked on.
Put yourself in that moment. Think about where you were, what you both were wearing, what you could hear and smell … Gather the sensory details. And notice the feeling. Maybe you’re smiling just thinking about it or can feel the sunshiny warmth of knowing you are cared for.
Those are the feelings you want to convey in your letter. Try these journaling prompts to gather ideas:
- Make a list of memories about the person you are writing to.
- Journal about one or two memories, including sensory details and how you felt.
- Identify what those stories tell you about the person.
Once you have the feelings and the details, put it all together. Whatever you write in your heartfelt letter will be a gift, to your recipient and you.
Heartfelt Letter Writing 101
Here are four parts to include in a heartfelt letter:
- Why you are writing to them
- What they did for you, with examples
- How it made you feel when they cared for, or listened to or saw you, or made you smile or even laugh out loud
- Your thanks, gratitude and love
Don’t worry about saying everything perfectly. This is about being real with somebody you care about.
Sometimes things get stilted or too formal when we try to put words on the page. Try telling the story aloud. You can record it and then transcribe the words. Or simply imagine that you are telling a story to a friend and write it the way you would speak it, even if the thoughts run deeper than you would usually share over coffee.
The beauty of a letter is that people can come back to your words again and again … and they will. I’ve done it, and I’ve seen people I’ve written to do it. Letters and the love contained within them last.
Want some help writing your letter? Get the Deepening Connections with Letters ebook where I walk you through the whole process step by step with examples.
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Hi, I’m Melanie!
I’m a Journaling and Joy Coach and I believe your story is the key to the life you want.
I guide my clients through intentional processes to find the answers waiting for you in your stories, bringing compassion, deep listening — and fun — to the process.
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