What's your postcard-writing "ritual"?

I recently realized that my way of writing postcards to you all has become a sort of ritual, and I want to hear what your postcard-writing “ritual” is! Mine goes like this:

  • Clean hands. I always wash my hands before starting. I do not want anything on my hands to stain or smear on the paper, making it look greasy and possibly preventing stickers or stamps from sticking properly. I think of postcards as a handshake to the recipient, and it feels disrespectful to shake your hand with cookie crumbs or dog slobber on them! :sweat_smile: I also do not usually have a drink near me, in case I spill. I do, however, enjoy receiving postcards that have the typical black smudges and smears from the mail sorting machines!

  • Getting to know you. Next, I read your profile. Then I read it again. I review it a few times until I have a basic impression of your interests, lifestyle, and personality. I love both long, detailed profiles, as well as short, straightforward ones. You are all such lovely people. :blush:

  • Time to select a postcard! This step takes the longest. I do not have a massive selection of blank postcards, but I think I have enough to find something that will suit anyone. Sometimes I have a card that, almost magically, checks multiple boxes in your wish list; most of the time, this is not the case. I may decide on a card for you and then, moments later, change my mind and swap it for another. Or another. Or another, and so on. Again, I reread the recipient’s profile several times to solidify my choice.

  • Stamp selection. I grab my envelopes full of stamps and start sifting through them to find stamps that you will find interesting or fun. The USPS International Forever stamps are so cute (little succulent plants!), but I really enjoy choosing 2-3 stamps whose value adds up to the correct postage, because the more, the merrier! Like selecting a postcard, if I have a stamp that is PERFECT for you, my heart sings! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

  • Washi tape time! Years ago, I went on a mad washi tape-buying spree, and I am still reaping the benefits. I choose a piece of tape or two that either coordinate with the stamps, the card, or the recipient’s interests, and I place it along one of the sides of the card. (Placing it underneath where the stamps will go ensures that it will stay attached throughout its journey.)

  • How will it get there? After attaching the washi tape and the stamps on top of it, I write or print the address. I do this before writing anything else to ensure that there is plenty of space for it to be clear and legible. Sometimes, I will draw faint pencil lines to write on, to make sure my writing is straight; the last thing I want is to cause confusion to the mail carrier with a jumbled address. Then, I erase the pencil lines beneath.

  • ID. Like the address, I want to be sure that the ID is clear and legible (and that I do not forget about it entirely), so I write this before any of the message.

  • Decoration. I love using stickers, especially if your birthday is coming soon, or if I think they will bring you a smile. If the recipient is a child, I go especially crazy with the extra decorations! Again, I try to keep them out of the way of where I want to write my message.

  • What to say? After ALL of that, the very last thing I do is write my message, ideally having a nice, large area to do so after adding decoration! I love to write a lot, as well as to receive cards with a lot of writing where space permits. My message varies greatly, and depends heavily on what I think you will enjoy reading. My ultimate goal is to write something that will make you see a little bit of yourself in me, to feel a small connection to a stranger across the world. I often describe Postcrossing as micro-diplomacy: I want to show you that you have friends everywhere around the world, no matter what relationship the leaders of our respective countries may have. :heart:

So now, what is YOUR postcard-writing ritual? Is it slow and deliberate like mine, or do you love to sit down quickly and just go for it? Do you write cards on your lunch break, or on the train home? Do you like to listen to music or watch TV while you write, or do you prefer silence? Do you write them in one sitting, or come back to them throughout the day?

Tell me everything!


It would be a honour to get such a carefully choosen and lovely decorated card from you :blush:

My ritual changes from time to time.
Usually I put my boxes with cards next to my PC and then I ask for four or five addresses in a row.
I read a profile and try to find one or two cards that suit it, then asking for a new address… And so on. After I got enough new addresses I come back to my pre-choice cards, read again, sonetimes I switch.
Then I write down address and ID and put the stamp on the card, scan them and upload the image on postcrossing.

How and where I write the main text is very different. Sometimes with my favourite music, or in my garden. Some cards I have prepared and write them in the train or in my lunch break.


I like your idea of pre-selecting cards; very clever! Uploading a picture of my cards is the one step that I often forget. :sweat_smile: Kudos to you for remembering!


I request six addresses at a time. I get up and choose postcards based on the profiles all on one go. If the person sounds very nice I may look at their favourites. Then I sit down and start with the first profile. I select stamps that they would like and put them on the card. Then I write on the ID, the date and my location and then the message. Finally, I write on the address. For Russian and Chinese addresses I tend to print and glue them on. The very last step is photographing the cards and uploading them here. Then I go and post them.


I envy all of you who can request multiple addresses at a time! I currently only see one of my cards arriving at a time, with several days in between, so I can only draw one address before I’m maxed-out again. I’m just sitting here chomping at the bit to send more. :joy:


I have to say, being able to send 53 at once is very tempting! That’s why I limit myself to only six at a time.


I don’t write that many officials (at the moment I’m saving my slots for the December campaign with Deutsche Post), but when I do I draw one address, read the profile carefully. When the profile isn’t empty I often have an idea what to send, then I check my online albums to verify that I still have the card I thought of, get the right box and take the card. (I try to avoid searching through my cards, when I’m not sure what I want… it takes way too long as I have so many cards! And they don’t look that nice when they are moved too often). Then I’ll read the profile again and hopefully I find something I can connect to. Afterwards I think about (or if any) decoration and place it including the stamp. Then I’ll write the address and use my rubber stamps for ID and username. Afterwards I will do something else or draw the next address, so the ink may dry. Often I will let it dry over night (depending on the coating of the cards). After everything is dry I will write it. Mostly while watching TV or listening to music. If I found something to connect it’s fairly easy… but if I don’t (and the picture on the frontside doesn’t mean anything to me) I really struggle a lot. I don’t manage to write a lot of cards at once I really need my time.


I feel like my routines are still developing, but definitely there are some.

First of all, I only take addresses and prepare mail on weekend (either Saturday or Sunday) unless I have promised to send something asap. This is mainly because I am limiting the amount of money I use for postage and cards and also because I really don’t have time after work.

Next, for some reason unknown to me, I have to clean the kitchen first. I do not sit in kitchen nor do I see kitchen when I write postcards but kitchen has to be cleaned. The rest of the house can be one big mess, that doesn’t matter at all.

Then I will draw all the addresses at once (because I like to have the row of numbers). Looks like this weekend it will be 5 official cards + few private swaps to fix. After I have got all the addresses I can take, it is time for the card selection.

That will go like this: 1. read profile, make mental notes about possible matching cards 2. check if they have got cards from Sweden before. 3. If yes, check which kind they have got. 4. Check the favorites, first from Sweden and then 1 or 2 pages of all the favorites to get an idea of what they like 5. Select a card from the pile. Sometimes I am able to match the profile, sometimes not so well. Unfortunate it is hard to find cards here so there isn’t always lot to pick from.

I will select all the cards first before I start to write. Once I am done I will start to write the cards starting from the latest picked address. Deciding what to write is a whole another topic, but anyway I will write the card, add address and the id-number, and finally stamp(s). Just like with cards, I don’t really have much of different stamps to pick from. There is only so many designs available and I try to order stamps only once per month to keep count on how much I am spending (so basically the cards from the beginning of the month has better chances to get profile matched stamps than the ones at the end of the month)

And then it is just to scan the cards, add pics on the site, place the cards on neatly pile on the hat shelf so I remember to take them with next time I go out with dogs.

So overall, very simple routines. I just don’t get that part with kitchen, but I guess it is the routine now. At least it gets cleaned.


Maybe you try to trick your “inneren Schweinhund” as it’s called in German.

a metaphor for someone who is lazy -> you have to fight your “inneren Schweinehund” in order to start working.

So when the kitchen is clean the Schweinehund is satisfied (at least can’t complain about a dirty kitchen) and you can concentrate on the postcards. :slight_smile:


I’m not sure I would call what I do a ritual–Postcrossing is fun, but it doesn’t have a spiritual connotation for me. Maybe a better word for it would be “routine”. Usually my routine would consist of:

  1. On Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (depending on the rest of my schedule), I request to send postcards all at once, usually maxing out my allotment. (At this time, I have anywhere between 5-10 slots open by the end of the week, so this is manageable. If it regularly gets to be more than 10 every week, I will probably cap it at 10.)
  2. Then I start reading the profiles in order, starting with the first one I requested. Sometimes after reading the profile, I know exactly what postcard I should send. Other times, when it’s not clear, I will look at the person’s received wall and/or favorites.
  3. I pick out the postcard and decorate it with washi tape, usually through the center or on the side. I do not add washi tape or stickers if the recipient doesn’t like them or I get a sense from their profile that they are a bit “old school” when it comes to postcard appearance.
  4. I pick out stamps. I try to match the stamp topics to their interests if it is possible.
  5. Then I add stickers, if appropriate.
  6. I write the postcard ID, date, the weather (only if they’ve requested it–with the internet, I think anyone can look up the weather if they have the date and location), the message, and then the address, in that order.
  7. The postcard remains on my desk until it gets scanned and uploaded to Postcrossing. Once that is finished, it gets moved to a bookshelf near my front door where all of my outgoing mail resides. The next time I head out, I take it with me to be dropped off at the post office.

This process probably takes at least 2 hours. I can make decisions on what to send pretty quickly, but writing the message takes some time.


I love the idea of using a rubber stamp for the ID! I have seen them for sale on Etsy; maybe I should invest in one. It seems like you have your postcard organization dialed in perfectly. I admit, I don’t have the tidiest way of storing mine… :sweat_smile:


I like that explanation. I will take that.


That is AMAZING. Your routine is fascinating, especially the kitchen-cleaning! I certainly don’t have that sort of discipline… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: Thank you for this description of your process! (Also, please give your dogs a nice pat for me.)


My inner Schweinehund is too powerful! He tells me to write postcards anyway, no matter the state of the kitchen. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I just finished cleaning kitchen for tomorrow’s card writing :joy:

I will! Once they are awake again. We were running on fields tonight so they are bit tired now.


I have these two, but mostly I go for the 2nd one with the anchor.


I do like “routine” better; since I am not religious at all, it didn’t even occur to me to consider the spiritual connotation of “ritual.” :joy:

It also takes me a long time to finish a postcard, especially if I choose to hand-make one. I am always sad to max out my current limit of 10, but it does allow me time to focus on each card carefully.

Thanks for sharing your process!

1 Like
  1. I request addresses twice a week, on Tuesday/Wednesday and Friday/Saturday. I love the excitement when pushing the “request” button. Sometimes I try to guess first what country it will be.
  2. I read the profile and take a look at the received wall and favourites
  3. I give myself some time to decide about what postcard I will send. At this point I often do other stuff first before I continue with the postcard.
  4. I pick a card and then pick stamps as well. It’s extra nice when I also have matching stamps (although that’s not always the case).
  5. I decide whether I’ll decorate the card. I don’t always decorate cards, it depends a bit on whether I think the sender will like it (which is of course not always possible to guess correctly) and also on my mood, time and on whether I actually have something suitable.
  6. I decorate the card (if applicable). I usually don’t add a lot of decorations as I don’t want to make it too busy, but I love it when I can match with the card/person’s interests (like a frog stamp for someone who likes frogs, just to give that extra smile).
  7. I start with the postcard ID and the date and then write my message. Often my handwriting gets tinier and tinier because I want to write too much…
  8. I always write the address last, because I’m afraid I’ll otherwise smudge the ink of the address when writing my message (I tend to smudge ink a lot, so I’ve learnt to work from left to right)
  9. I double-check the postcard ID and address
  10. I try to remember to scan (and upload) the postcard
  11. I bring the postcard to a mailbox and wish it a safe travel :).

I’ve done this - once I wrote well over 300 words worth!

I think ritual is fine. One of the important things about rituals is that they can happen within any community, religious or not. The action does have to have meaning which I think Postcrossing has. This is a gathering of people all doing the same thing, all maybe for different reasons but with a common goal - communication via the medium of post. People from every country and culture carry out a version of the ritual of creating and sending out our little bits of paper.

(Sorry, I did folkloristics. :yawning_face:)


That’s such a nice question to ask! Before I read all of your replies, let me first describe how I write my cards.

  1. Scan profile for card themes
  2. Select card according to wishlist themes, or if there is none, as much as possible according to the recipient’s interests. My little rule is to always go with the “rarest” card wish I can fulfill. I like to think that I’m less likely to get someone else I can send this card to and that the recipient might be happier to get a less common topic. So, if someone wishes for view cards, art and cards depicting an axolotl playing the ukulele, I’d choose the last one :crazy_face:
  3. Washi tape. Washi tape comes before the stamps! I have a box with about 50 rolls and I like to match the recipient’s interests with it. It goes underneath the stamps, as I sometimes use more stamps than there’s space and then I can put them over the tape without ruining the composition. :smiley:
  4. Now come the stamps! I can rarely fit interests with them, as I don’t have so many topics available (most times max. 5 designs). When I can fit interests, I’m happy. For my mother, I always use lighthouse stamps, for example. :smiley:
  5. I write the address. I never print it, even though I have a printer. I don’t even know why, I probably like it better this way. By now, after many years of Postcrossing, I’m really good at fitting it onto the card space!
  6. ID, I always put it on the left side, vertically on the card edge.
  7. I highlight the country name and ID with color matching the tape and stamps. (I know you’re not supposed to do that, but I like to be a mail rebel!)
  8. My favorite part! Sticker escalation!! :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: :heart_eyes: I have stickers about sooo many topics and I can match them to the recipient’s interests almost every time! (It hurts a little that they come on plastic sheets most of the time, but I want to allow myself to still use them, since they bring me so much joy.)
  9. Rubber stamps with the date and my username.
  10. Message, I try to fulfill writing promts or write something about the recipient’s interests. :blush:
  11. Priority rubber stamp
  12. Scanning and uploading the picture.

It’s indeed a ritual and I’m not happy when I can’t fulfill my little steps properly, haha. But this ritual always calms me down and is very relaxing to me. I think it’s important to have little things in your life that make you feel good and writing cards is a big heads up thing for me. :green_heart: