Leaving Letters for Strangers
Hey guys, dolls, pooches and piglets,
Last year I wrote out 30 Christmas Cards (well, mini letters really) and left them for strangers in and around Sheffield city centre to find and it made my winter so special (and hopefully warmed some hearts in the process).
Each card contained a hand-written message from me about self-worth and the importance of taking care of yourself during the festive period and darker/colder months. Many of you will be aware that I lost my Mum when I was 19 and her birthday is December 27th, so I know all too well how tough this time of year can be for people. Every letter also contained an individually wrapped tea bag and most also had an encouraging quote enclosed.
I then walked around the city centre, leaving letters as I went, hoping that I could bring a moment of joy to someone who was probably out shopping for Christmas and thinking of others. It really was a fucking lovely experience.
I’m not actually sure what became of 29 of the letters (although had a tip on twitter today from someone who thinks their friend may have found one), but one of my close friends monitored the “Sheffield” location tag on instagram and, sure enough, within a couple of hours… we spotted one! A young woman had found one of these letters in a self help book in Waterstones and shared it with the internet. It was a strange and amazing feeling to know that it had reached someone, who I later found out was having a bad day when she found it.
I hope that the other 29 letters found a home too, although obviously I’ll never know.
As the nights go cold and the days grow short once more, I decided it was about time I started thinking about what I could do this year that might be similar - and I’ve settled on writing some letters, popping them in envelopes and leaving them in and around Cardiff (my new home city). I reached out on Twitter to see if anyone wanted to join me and make a couple of cities a little bit brighter this year, and the response has just been fucking amazing.
I was expecting to enlist a couple people dotted about, but it looks like this is going to be happening in a fair few places - in the UK, but also in California, Australia and New Zealand (woah!) - and ONCE AGAIN my mind has been blown by how many of you want to get involved.
So let’s do this…
You are amazing.
I hope you all know how amazing you are. You are just as worthy of hearing the message of self care and love that we’ll be spreading as anyone who’s going to find one of these envelopes and I am so bloody excited to be doing this with so many cool and caring people.
Now, my original plan was to send out some envelopes and cards to a few of you here in the UK and have you spread your joy around your city/town/village/neighbourhood/whatever. BUT seeing as I underestimated how many of you are fucking awesome and want to do this, I’m going to have to adapt a little here for cost purposes. Instead, I’ve prepared some downloadable letters and quotes for you to either draw inspiration from or to just print out and use directly. On the plus side, this means that those of you in far flung places also have easy access to them.
I recommend you get a pack of envelopes/cards from a charity shop, £1/$1 shop or similar - although it’s YOUR project too, feel free to deck the halls!
Also, feel free to leave your social media handles on the letters you leave, or some self-help resources. Last year I signed them with “have a tea on me”, but this year, I haven’t quite decided. Last year, I didn’t leave the recipients with any means of contacting me, but this year - I’ll be leaving the website URL on the letters - just in case they find themselves wanting to reach out. It’s entirely up to you how you want to create your own letters, but I think it would be awesome if you included the #CareLetters hashtag so that we can at least see where they get to.
(also, I will be including the tea again, because IMO tea can fix a myriad of problems, but the thoughts and notes you write are more than enough to remind someone that there is kindness in the world)
P.S. It’s OK
So once you’ve printed or hand written you letters (and PLEASE do post pictures of your efforts on twitter and tag me, because I’m fucking pumped about this), you get the lovely added benefit of a leisurely wander around your chosen locations, finding appropriate places to put them. Here are some suggestions:
Hide them within books at your local bookshops/libraries
Sit them on a park bench
Lean them against a window or street sign
Hand them directly to a shop keeper and ask them to give it out to a random customer (trust me, they’ll love the idea)
Leave one on a parked vehicle
Post one through a random letter box (be careful with this one though, make sure you stay safe and don’t go knocking on random doors)
Slip one inside a shopping trolley or basket
The idea here is to be creative and enjoy your wander around - trust me it can be a bunch of fun. Also, don’t be afraid if you feel a bit weird or awkward at first, I certainly felt a little silly balancing things in public with people around and I also felt a bit paranoid that people thought I was shoplifting when I was fannying about in Waterstones. The purpose isn’t to have this magical confident experience yourself (although, go for it.), but to hopefully spread some much needed love.
Please don’t worry about the content of your letters either, as long as your intention is to spread some joy - that will definitely come across in your message.
I’m going to leave these letters out and about on December 1st, as it’s a Saturday and the start of our wintry month, here in the UK. I’d love it if we all went out on the same day, but I realise that some of you have plans.
I REALLY want to hear how you get on with this - so I’m going to keep chatting about it until I see so many pictures and videos from you guys that my eyes HURT.
Don’t forget to use the hashtag #CareLetters and to tag me in your posts. Thanks, you’re a dream.
#CareLetters #CareLetters #CareLetters #CareLetters #CareLetters
Peace and love
Click here to download some pre-written notes in .pdf format that you can use :)