Would you feel more comfortable crafting a handwritten letter or sending a quick text? Most likely you answered “text” because it’s fast and autocorrect finishes some of your words! Meanwhile, where is that stationery when you need it?
Sadly, our writing skills (by hand or keyboard) have declined each generation! A perfect example of this is the tradition of writing letters to Santa Claus at this time of year.
Good kids (well, all kids) are still writing their wish list to Santa at the North Pole. But over time, people haven’t been handwriting as often as they used to. When was the last time you picked up a pen and wrote a complete letter to someone, such as a love letter or note of thanks after an interview?
If you’re feeling a bit shaky about your handwriting skills, you aren’t alone. But before we get into the educational and creative benefits of writing by hand, let’s take a quick look at how technology got us to our writing skills today.
Writing Skills and the Impact of Technology
These days, our writing skills are at the point where we may need help to write our letters. Blame technology for the decline in our writing. (And then thank technology for saving us, ironically.)
Why write a note when you can send a text or voice message? Technology is so convenient and easy to access by phone or tablet. Back when we had to write pages of sentences by hand, you could get callouses on your fingers just from holding your pen for hours. You could also buy rubber pen grips to ease the pain on your fingers, but I haven’t seen one of those things in years.
When writing was a grammar skills challenge, you double-checked your spelling, and you could identify verbs and nouns. Now we spend more time rapid firing messages with abbreviated words on our apps, LOL. (LOL is laugh out loud, if you still like to handwrite things.)
Despite this trend toward technology, people still value handwritten notes. How much do you treasure a hand-scrawled message on a birthday card? Or a quickly jotted note from a loved one, signed with a happy face or heart? There is something about handwriting that technology just can’t replace.
The Skills Behind Writing a Handwritten Letter
Consider how wonderful it would be to receive a handwritten note. Years ago, people cherished handwritten letters a lot more. It was a way to communicate messages that you could keep someplace safe and look back at them time and time again. The early letters to Santa are one example of this way to pass on advice.
That’s right – pass on advice, not send Santa a list of toys. The tradition of writing letters to Santa has a long history that has evolved over time. At first, the letters weren’t about getting toys. Over a century ago, Santa was writing letters of advice to children. He would comment on their past behaviour over the year and how they could improve for the coming year! Santa (well, the parents) would leave these letters near the fireplace.
As it became more common to buy stamps in the 1860s, American children sent letters to Santa at the North Pole, where they believed he lived and worked. The tradition evolved to what it is today: children ask for toys they would like to see under the tree at Christmas.
Technology has also evolved. If you don’t know how to write a letter – or struggle with letter writing in general – you can still be a competent writer.
Websites such as emailsanta.com make the writing process easy for those who want to write a letter to Santa. You choose a stamp, go to a webpage with the skeletal structure of a letter, and fill in all the blanks. And just like that, presto, your letter to Santa is complete! You will also instantly get an answer back.
You could say that letter writing programs such as this one is contributing to the decline in writing skills because the process has become so automated. But you could also say that technology can help with teaching writing skills.
I don’t remember writing to Santa as a child, but I’m sure I would have been impressed that he took the time to write to me, one kid out of millions. I was already content that he could spare a few seconds on Christmas Eve to drop into my home and fill my stockings with gifts.
As technology continues to advance, what will happen to letter writing in the future? Will children be sending video messages or holograms to Santa in a couple centuries?
Handwriting as a Marketable Service?
Chances are, written messages will still be around for a while. Entrepreneurs are constantly devising new ways to answer our desires for personalized content and bridge the writing skills gap.
If your handwriting looks like a chicken scratched some random ink on the page, digital handwriting services are here to rescue you. Marketing research has found that customers are more likely to read a handwritten message. Just think of the last time you held a pile of mail in your hand and you saw handwritten words on an envelope. Weren’t you assuming a friend or family member had written to you?
I was surprised when one such envelope with handwriting on it turned out to be a marketing campaign from some company I hadn’t even heard of. However, I’ll give them credit for piquing my interest for a good minute while I opened the envelope to see what was inside.
Thanks to technology, we don’t need to hire a human to handwrite letters to a potential customer. We’ve got automated bulk mail machines to send the same letter to hundreds of people simultaneously. The handwritten text just adds that extra personal touch.
With these services, it is even possible to get these digital handwriting services to “handwrite” your annual Christmas letter to your family.
I wonder what people from two centuries ago would say about our writing skills. Would parents have preferred to use technology to handwrite their Santa letters to their children?
Handwritten letters seem to be a lost art. Nowadays, writing skills aren’t as good as they used to be.
However, entrepreneurs and businesses have found a way to solve the writing skills gap. A letter to Santa could be composed using technology you find online. At the office, you can employ the services of a website to write your copy for you. Despite these changes, one thing remains the same.
People still value receiving a handwritten note. It takes creativity, effort, and time. Perhaps you could handwrite a short letter to a loved one this Christmas and see what happens.
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