Everyone loves to get hand-written mail. It’s a fact. But it can be just as fun to send it, too, if you’ve got the right goods. These high-end writing supplies will make the snail mailer on your Christmas list so happy they’re bound to send you gorgeous mail in short order.
When it comes to letter sets, Japanese companies don’t mail it in—well, only literally. Midori, in particular, has a wide variety of fine letter writing paper and adorable letter sets that are suitable for all the snail mailers on your list. You can find them at fine stationery shops throughout the U.S. as well as on Amazon starting around $7.
When I bought my first fountain pen in the fall of 2017, a fellow customer immediately knew I was a first-timer. “Watch out,” she told me. “This quickly becomes an expensive hobby.” She was right—that $20 Pilot Metropolitan ultimately led to goodness knows how many other pens and bottles of ink, not to mention higher-quality notebooks better-suited to fountain pen ink and not one, but two trips to Japan in no small part because of my obsession with its paper culture. The bottom line is that a good pen can totally change your writing habits: When you enjoy the physical act of writing, you write more. The Pilot Prera is an attractive and smooth-writing fountain pen ideal for both newer fountain pen users and people who already know they love them.
Flow Magazine, based in The Netherlands, calls itself the “Magazine for Paper Lovers,” but it’s really about so much more. It’s about the creative process, slowing down, and enjoying all of life’s tiniest pleasures. The all-new Flow Fan subscription includes a year of Flow (6 issues, which all include little extras like postcards or fun workbooks), the 2020 Flow Diary, which is a gorgeous planner, and, my personal favorite, the Flow Book for Paper Lovers, which includes hundreds of pages of letter writing paper, papercrafts, stickers, and more.
Pop-up cards get more and more intricate each year, and UWP Luxe is the maker of some of the most impressive cards I’ve seen yet. Their limited-edition set of A to Z pop-up cards is no exception. Each card features a letter of the alphabet engineered by a different artist, along with the story of what inspired the card.
For anyone who’s obsessed with letters, vintage stamps can be an amazing stocking stuffer. Etsy is full of shops like Little Postage House and Enfield Post, which sell sets of curated and unused vintage stamps that match well and don’t totally clutter an envelope (i.e. they’re not all 1 cent stamps). You can find large mystery lots on eBay, too, which can be fun to sift through—especially if you’re shopping for a budding philatelic who simply loves to look at old stamps. The most economical option is to go to a nearby stamp or collectors’ shop and ask to look through their face-value stamps. Many collectors’ shops have piles of vintage stamps that are in fine condition for mailing but not quite mint condition for collecting, and they’ll often sell them at face value—with no mark-up—or with a small markup of 10 to 15 percent.
For the prolific writer, gift one of Pepin Press’s gorgeous—and comprehensive—letter-writing sets. Pepin has a wide variety of designs, from flora- and fauna-themed sets to designs inspired by artists and world travel. Each set includes 40 sheets of A5 writing paper in 4 different designs, matching envelopes, and stickers and labels.
There are scores of stationery and pen subscription boxes out there for every kind of snail mailer on your list. Prolific writers will love iPenStore’s quarterly iPenBox, which typically includes a fountain pen and/or other high-end pens, ink sample(s), and writing paper. PaperSource also has a new subscription box for greeting cards and other items like candles, decorative home goods, and more.
Skip the chocolate this year and gift 24 days of pens, paper and other stationery-related goodies with a paper lovers-themed advent calendar. Martha Brook’s 24 Days of Stationery Advent Calendar is personalized with the name of the person you’re gifting it to, and includes items like a personalized notebook, luxury pens, a 2020 calendar, an envelope opener, and more.
Washi tapes—mini rolls of decorative masking tape—can make even the most boring envelopes stand out in the mail like colorful masterpieces. Washi tapes of all patterns and sizes can be found at your local stationery or art supply store en masse. But for specialty tapes of unwavering quality, check out the Japanese brand MT, which sells on Amazon and has some of the most unique (and specific) washi tapes I’ve seen yet.
Sealing an envelope with wax is the classiest way to send a letter. Surprise your favorite pen pal with a wax seal personalized with their initials or a logo you’ve designed yourself. Don’t forget to send a few sticks of colorful wax along with it.