The Letter Writing Revolution

Revitalizing a Lost Art One Letter at a Time

Monday, April 4, 2011

Letters for a Birthday

I am turning 40 in a couple of days. I had thought about having a big bash but opted for an intimate dinner party with some dear friends this past weekend. In lieu of gifts, my sister suggested to the guests that they each write me a letter~ a letter that would be handwritten and that would describe our roles in one another's lives, favourite memories and birthday wishes. The morning after, I settled on the couch with a mug of coffee and opened each letter. It was such a wonderful way to start the day and probably the most special and loving gifts I have ever received.
Reading one of several letters I received for my 40th birthday!

I was asked a few years ago to write a letter to a friend who was turning 40. Her husband secretly emailed many of her friends and colleagues and asked us all to write her a letter to be opened on her big day. I participated in this and thought it to be a wonderful idea!

We do not think to share our inner most thoughts about those we care about and admire until well, they are no longer able to hear them. Heartfelt thoughts and memories are often shared to a room full of grieving friends and family members at the funeral of one we once loved. A birthday can be a perfect opportunity to give the gift of a letter to a friend or family member. Don't be shy! It will be greatly appreciated and probably one of the most unique gifts the recipient receives.


  1. What a wonderful, meaningful idea. Happy Birthday to you!
    p.s. I have been checking out your pinup girl pics ~ fabulous shots!!!

  2. Happy Birthday! What unique gifts. I imagine my grandmother enclosing a dollar bill if she'd done it for my birthday on the 25th. She called it seed money. :D

  3. What a special idea! And the dreary,dull and rainy Monday morning became bright and cheerful as you read your letters. Lovely.

  4. Oh, happy day, JK! Many happy returns. It's never too late to send a birthday letter, eh? I try and send a handwritten letter to special friends every year on their special day.

    (When's your actual Big Day? Mine was Feb 2; I opted for a week of silence and solitude at Rivendell on Bowen Island, BC.)

    Blessings on your week,

    P.S. Celebrate all month!

  5. It was a wonderful party, and a wonderful idea to give letters instead of gifts.

  6. I celebrated your Special Day right until midnight, JK. Keep celebrating for the next 40 days and 40 nights if you want to. I went out for tea in your honour and took a photo of a card I sent you today; will share it once the card arrives. The nice post office clerk even made sure to check the date on her stamp. :)

    loving my own 40s and celebrating with you, across the prairies

  7. Hope you got your birthday letter from me Jules... totally unplanned, didn't even know about the letters request. I hope you had an awesome birthday, you young thing you!

  8. an excellent idea, i am passing this along to my fiance so that when i turn thirty he can 'secretly' ask my friends and family to write me letters!

  9. Happy Birthday Julie!
    I took your suggestion to heart and started a letter to a very elderly auntie who lives in the US. At her advanced age it is doubtful if we will ever see each other again so I think the letters will be an important connection to her Canadian family. All of my 93 year old fathers siblings are in the US. I wish they would write to him - what a difference it would make! They all talk on the telephone but he's a bit deaf, and the calls are always rushed. When they come unexpectedly, things go unsaid in the rush.
    Keep up the good work promoting the writing!!

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