On Sunday 7th February it is National Send a Card to a Friend Day. This is the perfect opportunity to let your nearest and dearest know how much they mean to you.

For many people, friends and family are one of the most important aspects of their lives, with time spent with loved ones being number one on most lists of the top factors contributing to personal happiness.  But with today’s hectic schedules, it is often difficult to find the time to keep in touch. Between shuffling the kids from place to place, the never-ending housework and the countless deadlines, meetings and commitments, it is easy for coffee dates to be missed, for texts and emails to become more infrequent, and for friendships to gradually slip into the background.

That is why Send a Card to a Friend Day exists. It offers the little bit of encouragement that might be needed to act on a niggling feeling that perhaps more time should be made for friendships within a work-life balance. It is a reminder of how important relationships really are and how much happiness quality time and interaction with loved ones can bring. It provides a perfect chance to use a rare free moment to tell a well-loved best friend how amazing they are, to rekindle the flames of friendship with a schoolmate you haven’t seen in years, or simply to tell your mum you love her and will pop round for tea at some point soon. And the beauty of letter and card writing is that it is a two-way act: not only is it sure to bring a great deal of happiness to the recipient just knowing that you are thinking of them, but it give you a little boost too.

The joy of receiving letters and cards is well-known. In fact, there is a charity called Post Pals that works upon this very premise. Set up in 2002 by teenager Vikki George – who had the idea after finding that receiving cards was the only thing that made her smile when bedbound with severe ME – Post Pals is a small organisation run by volunteers that is dedicated to making seriously ill children and their siblings smile, by sending them cards, letters and small gifts. Working with children between the ages of 3 and 17, Post Pals has been awarded several prizes, including the Queens Award for Voluntary Services, in recognition of the fantastic work it does in brightening up the lives of ill children through the simple system of sending them a short, cheerful message.

And the great thing is, with modern technology it need not even involve pen and paper. Many online services such as Someecards, Hipster Cards and Care2 eCards offer you the opportunity to create personalised and amusing eCards at no extra cost, with others such as Xerox and Print Free letting you design your card and write your message online, leaving you only to pop the finished product in the letterbox.

So why not brighten up someone’s day with a card to a loved one on the 7th February? It need only take a few minutes, and that small gesture may actually make a friend’s day.

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