Hello beautiful reader! The next few days of our Holiday Self-Care Guide focus on the precious art of the handwritten letter.

John Steinbeck sent letters back and forth his entire life between friends and family. A friend of mine gave me his book, A Life in Letters, which is a nontraditional biography constructed through a collection of correspondence that traces his life. I highly recommend this book to those interested in writing–it’s an in-depth look at the author’s life and relationships, and includes his tips on writing.

In an age of emails, texts, Facebook, Twitter, [insert other digital forms here], there is nothing like being handed a handwritten card, finding one in a special place, or receiving one in the mail.



A letter in your own hand writing offers a gesture that will be deeply felt and touching. You only need to write a few sentences—yes, do more than just sign the card!—and even offer an inspirational quote.

This practice of letter writing will also give you a chance to recognize those people on your journey who you are grateful for, and experience your past year through those that played a role in it. Below are four sets of people to write letters for, grouped by the next four days:

December 9: Acquaintances Choose five people who have made a difference on your life’s journey this year. Choose people who are not family or close friends, but instead those that you crossed paths with and have added some joy or taught you something—they could be a yoga teacher, the barista who you see often for your coffee fix, a doctor whose care helped you—and write each one a handwritten thank you note, acknowledging what their presence in your life has done.

December 10: Friends – Choose five friends who have played an important role in your journey and whose support has helped you during the past year. Write each of them a note expressing this gratitude.

December 11: Family Choose at least five family members to write letters to. These could be those who you wish to rekindle a relationship with, reach out to, or simply wish them well. Make these letters different from the traditional Christmas card in which you recap your entire year and instead focus on what joy they have brought your life throughout the year(s)—even if it’s many years ago—and send them this memory of joy and wish for joy in their New Year.

December 12: Someone Special Express gratitude for someone special in your life—this could be a spouse, partner, sibling—who you would not normally write a card of your appreciation to. Thank them for the things, no matter how simple or mundane, that they have done for you or helped you with throughout the year that have made a big difference.

Giving joy to others and letting them know that they impacted our lives needs no response—bask in the feeling that you get in actually writing the letters and sending them out in the universe for their receipt, and not in the hope of the lovely responses you might receive.

To pens, pencils, feather pens, and ink pots,




Courtney Amber

If you are enjoying this Holiday Guide to Self-Care, I’d love to hear from you in the comments, and feel free to share with others you feel these posts would resonate with. To receive posts in your inbox, Subscribe at the upper right. So thankful for your visit and presence at Om & Ink!