Monday was the busiest shipping day of 2013. I was lucky with my “post office mojo”: I managed to hit that sweet spot in time when all Haight Street merchants had already stopped by for their morning mailings, but before most of the general public had started their errands for the day.
With just a few days left for shopping and the countdown clock ticking, I figured I’d do a fast run down (wrap up?) of gifts you might be interested in giving this season. And if you’re one of those lucky few who have completed their holiday shopping, well, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!
My favorite five are listed below, in no particular order:
1. Simon Garfield’s newest: “To the Letter: A Celebration of the Lost Art of Letter Writing”. A couple months ago, I read Garfield’s “The Error World” in two days flat – the book was that good. It’s a funny and honest memoir about boyhood, philately (stamp collecting), and the passionate collecting of things, whether stamps, shoe horns, or seashells. Garfield has written other books; “Just My Type: A Book About Fonts” (also excellent) and “On The Map” (which I’m looking forward to reading) are just two of his many titles. Someone who writes about all of the things I adore? I’ll take two copies of everything, please!
2. You want adorable pencils? Paper Pastries has adorable pencils. How about a wooden cat note/envelope template? (yeah, me too.) Margaret of Paper Pastries has deliciously tempting offerings for people who love the post and paper – a mind boggling array of beautiful things. The icing on the (cup)cake? Why not order a custom address stamp with Margaret’s impeccable calligraphy? It’s perfect for all of your outgoing correspondence! How do you choose just one perfect thing to buy? Simple answer: you can’t. Don’t even try and fight it!
3. Membership to the Letter Writer’s Alliance is always a wonderful gift! Kathy and Donovan put together a top-notch blog, offer well-designed stationery downloads, and showcase a line of foxy postal product. Now close your eyes and imagine that you are a member of the Letter Writers Alliance (if you aren’t already)! What does that mean? “Members only” downloads, a membership card to call your very own, and pen pal listings – for starters. Already a member? Why not give the gift of membership to a friend or loved one? It’s a great way to introduce youngsters to the “lost” art of letter writing.
4. Someday. Someday soon. That’s when I will give myself the gift of one of Atelier Gargoyle’s beautiful wax seals. Based on historic designs such as heraldic crests and medieval artwork, an Atelier Gargoyle seal will last a lifetime. Proprietors Ward and Linnea are two of the nicest people I know; Ward is a walking encyclopedia of knowledge when it comes to fountain pens, sealing wax, and inks. Their sealing wax is the only kind I’ll use.
5. The Ray Johnson documentary “How To Draw a Bunny” is one that I’m always recommending to people, whether they’re into mail art or not. There’s no denying that Johnson sent a lot of mail, knew a lot of people, and left an enormous hole in the Network when he committed suicide in 1995. Johnson is slowly-but-surely becoming recognized in the fine art world for his iconic collages, voluminous mailing, and acrobatic wordplay. If anyone’s ever asked you about your mail art activities (“What’s the idea behind sending all that mail?”, “Who do you mail that stuff to?”), this is a great introduction for them! Usually, I say something like “I’ll answer all questions once we’ve finished watching the movie”, and take it from there.
With that, I’ll wish everyone the best and brightest of holiday cheer; I’ll be giving myself the gift of “next week off”! Thanks to all who have sent beautiful Christmas cards to the RLD PO box – I love every single one (see above). I’ll spend next week whittling down my “reply to” correspondence (I’m looking forward to it!) and will be back at the keyboard on December 30th, just in time for New Year’s eve.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays –
(quick edit: how could I forget?!?! These hilarious San Francisco themed postcards via The Bold Italic are a must for anyone who has ever complained about SF’s fog, high prices, or the pigeons that live here. Oh, wait…)