(yes, I know I used this picture last week, but it just worked so well here)
Today I want to tell you the story of the Valentines that I mailed.
One of my goals for this year was to send packages to friends in February. When I originally formed this goal I figured I would send small packages to a few friends who have meant a lot to me over the years. Well, I started making the list and the names just kept coming. I realized there was no way I was going to be able to cut the list down lower than 20 people.
Then I went to CVS to brainstorm what to put in this package. Suburbs people, you probably would have gone to Target. This city girl who doesn’t have a car goes to CVS for all her conveniences. I went up and down all the aisles and came out with 6 bags of Dove chocolates, my favorite. I decided I could cut a small rectangle out of cardstock, make a calendar that showed the days of Valentines Day week, and glue one piece of chocolate to each day. Then I stopped at Staples and bought 6″ x 9″ envelopes and headed home. Once I got home I realized this was never going to work. Why? Because the second an envelope becomes thicker than 1/4″ it is considered a package and the absolute cheapest package you can ship is $2.32. The bags of chocolate only cost $18 total, but to send these packages was going to cost $100.
I quickly realized I was going to have to get a gift that fits in an envelope so that it was only the cost of a stamp to ship. So I looked up the maximum envelope dimensions to mail what qualifies as a letter by USPS:
- Maximum Height: 6.125″
- Maximum Width: 11.5″
- Maximum Thickness: 0.25″
There’s also this sentence: “the Postal Service charges extra postage because mailpieces that are rigid, square, or unusually shaped, often jam postal equipment and are difficult to process.”
I started brainstorming what sorts of things fit these requirements, and to my surprise, there were more small gifts that fit in an envelope than I expected.
Flat items to ship in a USPS letter
- A pack of seeds
- Tea bags
- Friendship bracelets
- Lottery Tickets
After looking at this list, I realized my favorite gift that fits in an envelope is tea bags (although I did consider lottery tickets for a while). Once I realized tea bags were perfect, the whole idea started coming together and I wasn’t sure how I had missed such an obvious idea in the first place. I love tea. And immediately the phrase came to me, “you warm my heart”. Because that’s exactly what all these people did in my life.
I made cards in the shape of teacups, including the tag of the bag, and wrote individual messages to each person. Then I punched out 100s of hearts to stuff in all the envelopes (large enough to not make a completely unbearable mess when opened). And while this sounds labor intensive (not going to lie, it was), it was totally worth it as the pictures and text messages started coming in from friends who had received their Valentine.
I wasn’t the only person who thought of this this year. I received an envelope during the middle of last week marked “Do Not Open until Valentine’s Day”. At 1:30am on Valentine’s Day I opened it and found one of the most awesome Valentines I’ve ever seen, also featuring tea. I can’t wait to send a card back her direction.
PS. I remade the list of people I sent these to 3 times because I kept losing it, and in the process a handful of people got left off the list. Apologies. Please note that I don’t love you any less.