“Of all letters, the love-letter should be the most carefully prepared. Among the written missives, they are the most thoroughly read and re-read, the longest preserved, and the most likely to be regretted in after life.”
So states Hill’s Manual of Social and Business Forms, published in 1878. While the social customs around love letters have changed over time—in most cases, we don’t feel that correspondence need be “conducted only with the assent and approval of the parents” these days—the essential charm and potency of love letters has endured over the course of centuries.
Valentine’s Day is coming up, and it’s got us thinking about love letters. We know that this can be a divisive holiday; while it is loved and embraced by many, others scoff at it for being an arbitrary, consumer-oriented holiday, for ignoring people who are single, and for the social pressure it creates to display romantic gestures. But imperfect though it may be, Valentine’s Day gives us a reason to express our love, something which is challenging for many of us and often forgotten in day-to-day life.
This is where love letters come in. While flowers, chocolates, and other romantic gestures may feel out of character for some, a love letter exists to be personal and say exactly what you feel. And a love letter doesn’t have to be written only to a partner or love interest! We don’t often get a chance to tell our friends and family how much we love them. The beauty of Valentine’s Day is that, being a little mushy, it provides an excuse for us to get a little mushy ourselves without feeling too embarrassed about it.
So what to put in a love letter? Well, as a personal matter, that’s entirely up to you! But in general, the more specific you are, the better. If you’re not sure where to start, try listing out some things you love about the person you are writing to. Write down funny memories you share, little quirks that make you smile, or things you miss if you haven’t seen them in a while. Then use your list as a jumping-off point for your letter. Start by explaining why you are writing, and use language that feels comfortable for you. A love letter is a reflection of your unique relationship and your own way of thinking about it. If you don’t enjoy poetry, then don’t feel obliged to quote poetry in the name of romance! As Hill’s Manual tells us, “The love-letter should be honest. It should say what the writer means, and no more.”
Want to try your hand at writing a love letter? Our Letter Writing collection is well-stocked with stationery supplies!
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Are you a flowers-and-chocolates type? Hey, we still love a romantic gesture! Check out our Valentine’s Day collection for cards, treats, and more.
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