By Kari Jenkins
Letter writing is starting to become hip again as schools, organizations, and even senior services are creating pen pal programs to forge friendships the old-fashioned way. Regularly exchanging letters with a pen pal is one of the best ways to build a strong connection across borders. However, sending gifts, particularly on special occasions, can make a long-distance friendship even more special, letting your pen pal know that they are valued and that you appreciate their presence in your life. A present needn’t be expensive to be meaningful — as long as it comes from the heart, your friend from across the seas will value the fact that you took the time and effort to ensure that they receive a genuine token of affection from you. Here are a few thoughtful gift ideas for your pen pal.
A subscription box is one of the best presents to give your pen pal, granting your friend a carefully curated selection of items on a monthly basis. You can even sign them up for a subscription that best fits their personality or tastes. For instance, if your pen pal likes makeup, you can get them a beauty subscription box for about $10 a month. An artsy friend will love an art supplies box, while a pen pal who’s a wine enthusiast will appreciate a wine of the month box — you get the idea. The best part is you can treat them to new items for several months or for an entire year, depending on your budget, so if you’re looking to spoil your friend a little, this is the way to go.
If you and your friend are music fans and your correspondence revolves around a certain genre, artist, or band, then a CD of your favorite playlist may be one of the most thoughtful things that you can give to your pen pal. After burning the songs to a blank CD, make the cover art for your gift. You can draw or paint it by hand or use your computer to create a stunning CD cover. Add a few printed photo cards of the artists who sang the songs in your playlist, then include a handwritten dedication, which you can place at the back of the CD.
A pen pal who lives in another country will surely love to receive a few fridge magnets from you. Choose different magnets and wrap each one carefully in bubble wrap to ensure that they arrive in good condition. You may also want to give more details about the magnets in your accompanying note, explaining how each one is significant to your area and culture.
This type of gift will serve as a reminder of how your friendship started. Fill a decorative box with some stationery, cards, envelopes, a few nice pens, pencils, and some cute erasers. If you share a common interest or an inside joke with your pen pal, include a few themed stickers in the package — perhaps stickers of your favorite band, food, or quotes from your favorite TV show. You may also want to include a clear pencil case so your friend can stash their writing supplies in it.
Other gifts that your pen pal may appreciate include key chains, a journal, a recipe book of your country or region’s most famous dishes, cosmetic and skincare samples from local brands, and other novelty items. You can also send your friend some packaged snacks, but check with your shipping and courier service first as not all food parcels and items are cleared for shipping abroad. If you’re sending food, make sure that they’re packaged and wrapped well so they’ll arrive in optimum condition.
Make your pen pal’s day by sending a thoughtful gift through the mail. Consider these gift ideas and continue building a strong connection with your buddy across the seas.Save 25% on your 12 month subscription of Babbel!