The Decline of Handwriting

The Makeshift Gift

A Lesson for Me and Others

Do you write letters? I mean, hand write letters? I confess I do not, though I am a great acard sender, and those I hand write my message. However, I have come to the conclusion that something must be done to revive the dying art of handwriting. Once upon a time we wrote letters frequently - and in the days before computers the way we did it was with paper and pen.

I remember as a teenager that I had several pen pals - one in the Phillipines, one in the UK, and one in country Australia and I wrote to them frequently and received letters from them. As I left home during my late teens to do my nursing training, I wrote frequent letters to my parents and I think i have many of them - especially those letters that came to me in the latter part of my life.

I have also been a very frequent card writer - I make my own cards, often cards with photos these days as I am an avid photographer. I love writing words of encouragement or inspiration - and often send them anonymously. These cards I write by hand - my own hand writing often using a special coloured pen - often purple which is my special colour.

When I receive a gift, or have a meal with a friend, I love to send a few lines of thanks - of course written by my own hand. However, I notice that I seldom if ever receive one myself. People just don't do that any more.

I have four grand children - aged from 12 to 7 years - and I am getting a little miffed that despite my good example, I do not receive thank you's from my immediate family including the grandchildren. I get disappointed that their parents do not encourage them to write a note of thanks.

I did ask my children and grand children to write to my mother - who celebrated her 97th birthday in October. Sadly I don't think anyone did.

It came to me when trying to work out what to get the grandchildren (3 girls and a boy) for Christmas this year. I think like many folks trying to buy gifts, it has become a major challenge as children seem to (a) have everything and (b) be very fussy. I had decided to send money - but that is rather 'boring', so I set out to do something different.

Ah Ha! I would buy nice note paper and envelope sets - and put my name and address on one envelope (HINT! HINT!) - and include some money with each set. Now to buy a note paper and envelope set.............

Do you know I have walked in and out of countless newsagents, paper shops etc and found nothing suitable? Most do not have such products. No one writes any more I was told. One young girl 'bragged' that she'd never written a letter!!!

I came away shocked and disappointed. I have learned that if I want such products I have to buy them online, which I will do - but meanwhile Christmas is less than a week away, and I must send my gifts today!

However, I did work out what my compromise would be - I bought some simple lined note paper, some envelopes, some fancy butterfly stickers (pink for the girls and blue for the boy), and have typed a letter (, yes, typed I confess, but I would have had to do four identical explaining how handwriting was created thousands of years BC (I wonder if they understand those initials!) and how it is a gift to have the ability to write letters and notes by hand. I do wonder if they will think their grandmother has lost the plot, but within the package I have created is a huge paper clip with the cash attached.

For my part, and my plan to encourage others to maintain their writing skills, I have also written in my To Do List for 2013, which includes a promise to myself that I will hand write a note to each of my grandchildren on a monthly basis, and that I will encourage others to write - by hand.

If you are reading this, and like me, lament the decline of hand writing, could you decide to write a note to someone by hand? Maybe one note a month. Write a thank you note, words of wisdom, words of encouragement or a letter to someone you know. Older people especially that do not use computers, and now seldom receive a letter or card because so many younger people only use computes or mobile phones to communicate - leaving older people 'outside the loop.)

This is something that is low cost (paper, envelope - and they don't have to be fancy) and a postage stamp if you cannot deliver yourself. Set an example. Show how receiving a letter has far more value than an email.

Go on. Do it.

(There's more information at this website)

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Comments 4 comments

Dbro profile image

Dbro 3 years ago from Texas, USA

Very interesting hub, AussieTeacher! One of the first things I look for in the mail each day is the increasingly rare hand-written envelope! There is no doubt that something hand-written carries a lot more meaning to me, because it is obvious that the person who sent the letter cared enough to take the time to write his or her thoughts rather than dash them off on a keyboard. I will try to do as you say in your article and actually write more cards and letters in the coming year. The best way to improve the behavior of others is to set a good example! Thanks for your thoughts on this subject.


Aussieteacher profile image

Aussieteacher 3 years ago from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Author

Thank you Dbro - setting an example is great, but we can have other influences e.g. if you belong to a Writing Group, one exercise might be to spend part of your meeting hand writing letters - you can choose a topic, or theme. Challenge those who receive a hand written letter, to write two!


Cat Campbell profile image

Cat Campbell 3 years ago from United Kingdom

One of my favourite things about this time of year is that I have an excuse to hand write letters and cards! I love to write letters to friends abroad in Australia and the US and though I realise my messages would get to them much quicker if I sent them an e-mail or a message on Facebook, writing a letter is just a much more personal and thoughtful method. I certainly don't have that warm feeling I get when I receive a hand written letter in the post when I see I have an unread message n my inbox! Sentimental? Maybe, but there is a lot to be said for the art of handwriting.


Aussieteacher profile image

Aussieteacher 3 years ago from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Author

Thanks for your comment, Cat Campbell and welcome to Hub Pages.

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