Postcrossing Blog

News, updates, and all kinds of goodies and stories from the postal world!

February is a busy month in the mail calendar, and we can’t wait for it to start! Are you ready?

Letter Month

We love a good mail challenge around here, and since February is the Month of Letters, it is time to dust off all that special stationery and put pen to paper! It’s the perfect opportunity for reconnecting with family and friends in these socially-distanced times, sending a Valentine card to your special someone, saying thank you to the helpful people in your life… or simply surprising strangers across the world with postcards! 😉

The rules of the Month of Letters challenge are simple:

  • Mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture or a cutting from a newspaper… anything goes!
  • Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.

That’s it! The challenge started back in 2012, after American writer Mary Robinette Kowal decided it was time for a break from the internet. She spent a month offline, and asked her friends to communicate with her through letters. The results were relaxing and intimate, so she decided to invite others to join, sparking a yearly flurry of correspondence.
If you’re planning to join this year, you’re welcome to share your progress with us on this forum topic.

Mail Carrier Appreciation Day

Another happy mail-related event coming up is Mail Carrier Appreciation Day, which happens every year on February 4th. This is the day to celebrate our trusty mail carriers, who make it possible for this hobby to exist by delivering all our postcards!

The date falls on a Thursday this year, so make sure to prepare something nice for your mail carrier and give them a smile — for instance, pour your gratitude into a thank you note that you’ll deliver (or affix to your mailbox) for them to discover on their rounds. I’m sure it’ll be the highlight of their day week!

If you can, take a photo of what you did to celebrate this special day, and share a link to it in the comments! 😊

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Look at that — we did it, everyone! Together we reached the much awaited milestone of 60 million postcards received! Hurray!

A postcard might not seem like much by itself, but all these millions of postcards carrying our words and handwriting are such important tokens of friendship and connection in these socially distanced times. Traveling is difficult right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t share a moment with someone far away and take a peek through their window… right here in our mailboxes.

60 million postcards!

And did you know that if we put all these postcards together side by side, we would get a line stretching from London to Seoul? 🤓 Pretty cool, right? But I know you’re all dying to know who guessed the correct time at which lucky postcard 60 million was registered, so without further ado…

Postcard number 60,000,000 (BY-2711325) was sent by YourWitch in Belarus on January 10 2021, and registered today at 10:17:18 (UTC) by Tominni in Czechia!

Postcard number 60 million!

The postcrosser with the most accurate aim was chrisbonham11, whose guess was spot on! Your shiny new box of 100 postcards will be on its way soon!

The other lucky postcrossers who came the closest to the right second were Dorkius, NZ_Chris, mathalie, majewski, Shih-chia, and stokely — brilliant! You will each receive a set of nice postcards as well.

Whether you’ve sent 1 or 10,000 postcards in the past 15 years, you have our permission to celebrate your contribution to this historical milestone with a celebratory slice of your favorite treat (share it with us on Instagram!)… or just by sitting down at your desk and enjoy sending a postcard today, knowing you’re part of this postcard revolution happening all around us. 😊

And last but not least, if you’ll allow us our weepy moment, we’d just like to say thank you to our lovely team (including all the forum volunteers), to all the supporters and ambassadors, and last but not least, to all of you — you’re the reason Postcrossing keeps going, postcard after postcard. Onwards, to 70 million postcards!

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When we wrote about postcards sent from an underwater postbox in Susami, Japan, we came across another record-breaking postal service: the world’s highest post office, at 4,400 metres above sea-level.

Located in India, the post office of Hikkim is a vital part of its community. Far from being a novelty like an underwater postbox, the postmaster Rinchen Chhering handles thousands of letters—in the video below he mentions that more than 1,000 letters a day get posted in the summer—to keep people in touch despite a lack of mobile or internet coverage… and the post office also handles money deposits and passports!

Check out the video to hear more about Hikkim and their record-breaking post office!

PS: Less than 50,000 postcards until postcard 60 million is registered! Have you placed your bet yet? 😊

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We have a soft spot for statistics and we know many of you do as well, so here comes the yearly post with some juicy stats about Postcrossing. These were compiled by Paulo, with data from the whole 2020. Shall we have a look?

4,513,545 postcards received

That’s about half a million postcards fewer than the previous year, which is understandable considering the year we’ve just had. In fact, looking at the graph of postcards sent per month last year, you can clearly see the “pandemic dip” in April.

Postcards per month

Things have slowly gotten better since then though, and we saw a lot of new members on the site in the following months, as people settled into their new routines and started to explore new hobbies they could do from home.

28.27 days (average) and 17.67 days (median) travel time

No surprise that things were a bit slower last year! With thousands of flights cancelled and postal services scrambling to find alternative routes to send mail abroad, postcards spent more days on the road. Some even crossed continents in ships or trains!

These numbers are calculated for the whole year though… How do the numbers look like on a weekly basis?

Average Travel Days per Week

Things got a little delayed mid-2020, with postcards taking a few days longer to arrive on average, but the situation seems to have somewhat recovered in the meantime.

21,954,937,005 kms or (13,642,165,382 miles) of total traveled distance

Quite a bit less than last year, but to be expected with less postcards traveling, closed borders and cancelled flights. Many postal services have restricted their deliveries to nearby countries, where connections were easier to ensure and so, on average, postcards traveled to closer destinations last year. 26% of all postal routes remain closed at the moment, but things have slowly been improving with more and more connections being re-opened every week.

Here’s how far postcards traveled, per week:

Average Travel Distance per Week antipodes

The average travel distance was 4,864.23 kms (or 3,022.49 miles) per postcard — around 7.5% less distance than in 2019.

19,974 kms or (12,411 miles) was the longest distance traveled by a postcard

Postcard ES-622789 traveled between the town of Espasante in northern Spain and Christchurch in New Zealand — just a few kilometers short of its true antipodal point!

1,004,831 postcards sent from Germany

Postcrossers in Germany broke their 2019 record and sent even more postcards in 2020, reaching the 1 million postcards/year threshold! This enthusiasm also led them to add one more digit to their postcard IDs — postcard DE-10000000 was registered just yesterday. 🎉

Here are the countries in the top 20:

RankingCountry/TerritorySent
1🇩🇪 Germany1,004,831
2🇺🇸 U.S.A. 688,519
3🇷🇺 Russia391,653
4🇳🇱 Netherlands258,342
5🇫🇮 Finland 199,294
6🇹🇼 Taiwan137,332
7🇬🇧 United Kingdom118,436
8🇨🇳 China113,816
9🇯🇵 Japan107,508
10🇧🇾 Belarus100,352
11🇨🇿 Czechia95,558
12🇫🇷 France 87,882
13🇨🇦 Canada82,095
14🇵🇱 Poland64,027
15🇧🇪 Belgium54,927
16🇦🇹 Austria46,998
17🇨🇭 Switzerland 46,209
18🇱🇹 Lithuania42,652
19🇦🇺 Australia38,834
20🇭🇰 Hong Kong34,279

Same countries as last year in that list, with some shuffling around. Germany, USA, Netherlands, Switzerland and the UK managed to increase their total of sent postcards, but the remaining countries all sent less cards throughout last year.

DJHK sent the most postcards (registered in 2020)

Jürgen (aka DJHK) sent 2485, 103 more than the second most active postcrosser reinholdo (2382). Willi (2360), Antje321 (2322) and Sidolix (2310) complete the top 5.

Åland Islands sent the most postcards per capita

We thought it would be cool to do a different kind of ranking with 2020's data, to give less populous countries and territories a chance to be featured. Here are postcards sent per 1000 inhabitants, for countries with more than 10 members:

Ranking Country/Territory Postcards per capita
1 🇦🇽 Åland Islands 80.38
2 🇫🇮 Finland 37.09
3 🇱🇹 Lithuania 15.85
4 🇳🇱 Netherlands 15.47
5 🇬🇬Guernsey 13.58
6 🇩🇪 Germany 12.57
7 🇧🇾 Belarus 11.09
8 🇱🇺 Luxembourg 10.92
9 🇨🇿 Czechia 9.29
10 🇱🇻 Latvia 7.41
11 🇪🇪 Estonia 6.97
12 🇮🇲 Isle of Man 6.74
13 🇹🇼 Taiwan 6.22
14 🇸🇮 Slovenia 5.98
15 🇨🇭 Switzerland 5.61
16 🇦🇹 Austria 5.51
17 🇲🇹 Malta 5.28
18 🇧🇪 Belgium 4.99
19 🇭🇰 Hong Kong 4.79
20 🇸🇰 Slovakia 4.05

It’s interesting to see smaller countries and islands thrown into the mix! Here’s a previous similar ranking we did some years ago.

October 1, 2020 was the day in which more postcards were sent

No surprises there — World Postcard Day was a huge hit, with a little more than 40,000 postcards received which were sent on that day. The following 3 best days of the year all happened in February, with around 16,000 postcards being sent.

And that’s it for last year’s statistics! I know you’re all eager to read about the census results as well, but it’ll still take us some time to parse those 30,000 or so replies… 😅 We’ll post about it here on the blog once we have some insights to share!

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A few years ago, we accidentally heard about a pub in Bournemouth in the UK auspiciously called “60 Million Postcards” and thought “Wouldn’t that be a great place to throw a party when Postcrossing reaches 60 million postcards?!” And then… you know… The pandemic came and everything changed, naturally. We’re a little sad we can’t fulfill this silly plan, but not all is lost — we can still have our traditional milestone guessing game!

60 million postcards!

If you weren’t around for one of these before, the idea is simple:

Every member has a chance to submit a bet for the day and time on which they think the postcard number 60 million will be registered. The bets need to be submitted on the contest page.

Easy, right? Just place a bet for the minute you think lucky postcard number 60,000,000 will be registered according to your own predictions. Feel free to have a look through Postcrossing’s statistics page if that helps, or maybe crack a fortune cookie (or some eggs?) to come up with a good time slot — anything goes!

And naturally, there will be prizes! The postcrosser whose bet is the closest to the exact minute when postcard number 60 million is registered will win a box set of 100 postcards, and the 6 next best guesses (before or after the registering time) will receive a pack of 20–30 postcards each. 🎉 Hurray!

Some rules: each time slot can only be chosen by one single person, so the first person to pick that slot gets to keep it. You can change it at a later stage if you’d like, but only from the available time slots left. The bets will be automatically closed when there are 1000 postcards left to postcard 60,000,000. Check the contest page for more details.

So, give it your best shot… but be sure to do it soon as good slots are usually taken quickly. Keep sending postcards, and good luck everyone!

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