SNAILMAIL TIPS #2| Packages and Parcels

1:29 PM

Hello everyone! I’m here for another week of snail mail tips! 

Today I’ll tell about packages and/or parcels.

It is very common to find snail mailers exchanging and swapping creative packages and collection things. People sometimes ask me what I send or what I like to receive when it comes to small parcels. Whenever it's not for specific items/collection swaps, I personally prefer that my pen pals find their ways to surprise me.  It is often used as way of sending for instance some 'higher' scale goodies, some contribution for a pen pal collection or a birthday gift. I often do send these as well, not only for specific swaps (especially with tea and/or stamps) but also to surprise those important pen pals that come across us and stay forever. We all love to surprise others! 

Anyways, I’m bringing to you a little list of suggestions, which may inspire you when you’re thinking to add goodies to a parcel for a dear friend. Things you can do by hand or try to make your small package an absolute special delivery.  Remember, using your imagination to decorate your package will make it even more special!  You know you don’t need an artist degree or something to achieve nice beautiful results with your mail. First of first, obviously: Handwriting + lettering are the primary device for connection, so use and abuse of it. Play with your styles and colors; make sketches and stop saying you’re not talented. Just you’re your time, watch some examples around the internet, maybe some tutorials, and you’ll be good to give it a little try. No one’s born taught already! Give some personality/character to your envelope, use collages of images you like or people you admire.

Photographs: I have to speak of photographs, because as a wannabe photographer these play a major role in my life.  Even today I still exchange picture with some closest pen pals and friends, of course. Photographs are for me, silver memories to keep. And it means the world that someone cared to send me a piece of their own memory. So yes, pictures are a good thing to send.  If you’re a photograph explorer, try and print some of your favorites for your pen pals, or experiment and take snaps of thinks you tell them about. You can also print pictures you like, but keep in mind to always refer the author’s name.

Postcards:  Sending different postcards of the place you are from is something really great from my point of view. I find it really awesome when people tell me about their whereabouts and care to show me in beautiful pictures and postcards. It’s like we could actually meet in that little card. So I always recommend people to send postcards. It’s a cheap, simple way of telling someone about somewhere. If you are regular pen pals, you’ll also see this as a nice opportunity of “chatting” in-between letters.
Local Culture: This is major in snail mail as we all know. Most of snail mailers are very curious about the whereabouts regarding their pen pals, so besides postcards local flyers from historical sites, museums, significant places, or just a local myth/story are always a good extra.

Cards/Tags: This is an easy way of giving some love forward. It matches for holiday greetings, birthday wishes, or as a décor/craft supply. By making your own, or buying some, cards and tags are always useful for snail mailers, and you can always personalize those by for example writing an inspirational quote or doodling a bit. You can also print some, from the several websites and blogs around the internet. (I’ll make you some more, as wellJ). Doing cards and tags yourself, also solves the question “Where will I find the right card?” since you can do it as you like. Also, you can make themed tags with questions, a game or curiosities.

Literature: Of course you can send books, but not only. You can share with your pen pals your favorite literature examples and personalities into your letter, but also by printing some excerpts or something. I know I love to receive those.  In fact, I have two prints in my living room wall sent by fellow letter writers: one is a poem written by Florbela Espanca and another one is a picture of José Régio.  It was great to know we had that in common, and they were so nice I couldn’t resist hanging both.  Bookmarks are also an idea!

Add Video/Audio: This one is kind of rare, I think… but I actually got to receive 2 examples and it was a warm felling. Take a little time and make a video or a recording to your letter. It’s not like you’re not writing one, is just something extra. I once made one of these to a dear friend, who was living abroad. I attached a DVD with a video clip I’ve made, filming me drinking tea in her favorite locations, in Porto (my hometown). Sure it gave me some work but it was totally worth it to see how happy she was when she got it!

Recipes: One way of getting to know a different place is indeed to try their gastronomic heavens. Why not share some delicious treats or traditional plates from your own country? Share your favorite drink, dessert or meal with your pen pals.

Entertainment & News: If you think about it, your pen pals may actually have no access or acknowledgement of the same entertainment you have.  For example, when music it’s a major common interest, you can make your pen pal a personal playlist. Or a dvd with trailers of your favorite films, when it comes to cinema.  I know some pen pals, for example, like to keep pages of foreign magazines or newpapers. This is also an option.  I once made an archieve of feminist Portuguese new for a pen pal who lived in Asia.

Craft supplies: If you pen pal is one of those crafty snail mailers, I’m sure s/he’ll be happy to receive some things from you. Handmade or bought, just choose some you like and some you think it’s their face. You can add some samples of different washi-tapes, dried flowers some papers, envelopes, stickers or sticky notes. Even images from magazines or newspapers, the options are almost infinite.  

Something Personal: This is of –course – mostly  for those absolute special pen pals, or friends you have abroad. But for example, examples of your favorite teas, chocolate or cookies (taking the food quality deadline in consideration, obviously), samples of your favorite perfumes, some seeds of your favorite flowers. Once, a looong time ago, I entered a swap event which purpose was to make a swap parcel containing things that we loved and kind of told who we are to each other, without a letter. I ended up clicking quite well the assigned secret swap pal, and we ended up becoming regular pen pals after that.  It was a great experience not only to tell about me, but to show as well. J

And last, but not least…. Confetti! Just because every incoming mail day is a happy day, and happy days always deserve confetti! Don’t spend money buying it, just grab some funny shaped punchers and make it yourself. Your pen pal will surely love the surprise and will be able to reutilize your handmade confetti as they like!

Hope this may be useful for if you think you were out of ideas. Just breathe, and explore your imagination! 

With Love, M. 

Related Posts


  1. The confetti surprised me, but they are a great idea!