Postcrossing Blog

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

Can you imagine the avalanche of happy mail that landed on Postcrossing’s mailbox for the 150th anniversary of postcards? 😅 It was *a loooot* of postcards, each of them unique and special in their own way, and all filled with excitement for this historical milestone.

Admiring and reading through all this lovely mail was an overwhelming task which took way longer than we had anticipated, and picking just a few postcards to award in the categories of most creative postcards and best message was a really tough job. But we had a mission, so after many days rearranging postcards on our desks, here is our choice for the top three creative cards sent to the 150th anniversary contest (in no particular order).

Antonia's mailbox see-through postcard

The postcard above came to us from Antonia (aka housecatAntonia), in the United Kingdom. She hand-painted and crafted this card showing an old British postbox with postcards inside. Photos don’t do justice to this card though, because you can’t tell that the mailbox is covered in transparent film, allowing you to peek at the postcards floating inside. One of them is even a mini-replica of the postcard itself!

Antonia's mailbox see-through postcard - back side

The backside is equally nice… despite Royal Mail’s mutilation of the stamps 🙄. Antonia writes that she learnt how to read and write late in her childhood, and that the prospect of writing used to fill her with dread, but that this changed through writing letters and postcards, and that she has finally found her voice. What a wonderful message, in a truly exquisite postcard.

Next, we have a postcard from Indonesia, sent by Cherlita who is a design student:

Cherlita's illustrated postcard

The illustration is simply gorgeous, and we love the stamp and postmark details that work together to resemble a maxicard. The actual stamps used to mail the postcard are on the reverse side, and they’re personalized stamps using the same image as the front of the card — neat!

Cherlita's illustrated postcard - back side

Cherlita has a charming handwriting, and she writes about how postcards can take us in a “small, physical form” to our loved ones, strengthening our bonds with them.

And last but not least, Franziska (aka Franzi-ska) from Germany crafted the most unusual postcard.

Franziska, Tim and Tom's postcard

One side of the postcard looks like a normal postcard, with a beautiful message about how much her young sons Tim Mikesch and Tom Lukas enjoy sending and receiving postcards. When you turn the postcard around though… magic!

Franziska, Tim and Tom's postcard - back side

The reverse of the card resembles a German postbox, and what could be hiding inside? Postcards, of course! Lots of mini-postcards of the children’s favorites cards, as well as happy moments the family has shared featuring postcards. How sweet is that?! Each card is lovingly written and stamped, and a mini-treasure on its own.

Franziska, Tim and Tom's postcard - inside

So there you have it, these are the three winners in the most creative category for the 150th anniversary contest, each of which will receive a box of 100 postcards. Hurray!

As you can probably imagine, there are many, many more postcards that we want to show you because you guys truly outdid yourselves in this call for postcards. So we hope to feature more special postcards on our social media as well as here in the blog in the coming weeks.

Next task though should be picking the best messages… wish us luck! 😅

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The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcard’s messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

December is a sweet month in many countries, which got us thinking… what are some traditional desserts from your country? If we visited today, what would you serve us as a treat after lunch or perhaps mid-afternoon, with tea?

In December, write about your country’s sweet desserts.
Pão de ló

Portugal’s confectioneries are numerous and legendary… but sometimes the simplest pleasures are the nicest ones, is it not?

Traditionally made with just 3 ingredients, “Pão de ló” is a fluffy cake you’ll find mostly in the north of the country… but also in places like Japan where it was taken to in the 16th century by Portuguese merchants. Similar to sponge cake, it is most delicious when made “wet” by undercooking, so that it can be eaten with a spoon. And as with most cakes and sweets around here, it takes a ton of eggs to make, which is why all our sweets are very yellow. :)

What about your country? What are those special desserts everyone should try? Share them in the postcards you send this month… and in the comments as well, so that we can make a list of delicious stuff to try when we visit your country! 😋

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December starts this coming weekend and if you’ve been around Postcrossing for a few years you should know what that means… It’s time to announce our yearly partnership with Deutsche Post on the Cards for Literacy campaign! 🎉 So without further ado:

For every postcard sent from Germany through Postcrossing during the month of December, Deutsche Post will make a donation of €0.10 to the non-profit organization Stiftung Lesen (Reading Foundation).

So if you’re in Germany, all you have to do is to send postcards! If your December postcards are registered before the end of February 2020, you will be contributing to this cause and entering a draw to win some neat prizes! Seven lucky postcrossers (residents in Germany only) will be randomly selected to receive one of these:

Cards for Literacy campaign

So by sending postcards from Germany in December, you’re not only helping a good cause, but can also win some customizable stamps or maybe a messenger bag. Hurray! The more postcards you send, the more chances you have to win one of the prizes.

And although only postcards sent from Germany count, there’s always a receiver in every postcard exchange — so each time a card from Germany is registered, the recipient will be indirectly contributing to this donation too. So don’t forget to register your postcards promptly, so that more can be sent, ok?

As usual, Paulo will run his random number generator in March next year, and we’ll reveal the total amount of postcards sent (and money raised to Stiftung Lesen) here in the blog. Last year, a total of 8,977.70€ was raised for this good cause, which was a huge achievement and only a few postcards shy of the big 9K… will we be able to do even better this year? 🤔

Stiftung Lesen

Stiftung Lesen is a German non-profit organization, working to increase literacy in the population, especially among children and adolescents. Their activities include reading clubs, media literacy projects and initiatives to promote the learning of German language by refugee families in the country.

We hope you’re as excited as we are for this 7th edition of the Cards for Literacy campaign. If you’re in Germany, gather your stamps and postcards and get ready for sending lots of postcards in December to make them count for this good cause! Everyone else, keep an eye on your mailbox for those postcards!

P.S. – As always, we respect your personal information and will not share it with any company without your explicit permission. The full details of this campaign can be read here (German only).

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Postcard Advent Calendar

Are advent calendars a thing where you live? They’re not very popular in Portugal, but when we lived in Germany they were everywhere this time of the year! The daily surprise is always exciting, whether it’s chocolate, toys or something else. Our favorites though, are the ones that are lovingly prepared by family or friends.

Around this time of the year, Carina (aka Caradeangel) from Germany is busy preparing an advent calendar for her son. Nicholas is 7 years old, and he used to get sad that he didn’t get much mail… so Carina decided to fix that, making him 24 days of special mail. Here she is to tell the story:

“Two years ago I decided to make an Advent Calendar out of postcards for my son. I chose 24 postcards that I thought he might like, decorated them and wrote something on them. To keep him in suspense, I put the postcards in envelopes which I decorated as well. I put them all on a string and hung that string on the door to his bedroom. And so from December 1st to the 24th, he got to open one envelope every day. Needless to say he loved it!”

We were intrigued and delighted by the idea, so we asked Carina what she usually wrote on the postcards. Writing 24 postcards to the same person isn’t easy to do!

“Some postcards held personal messages of love or encouragement, such as how proud we are of him for making good progress in school and how he will soon be able to actually read the postcards himself. On some postcards, I shared memories. For example, I used a postcard with the Berlin TV tower which we had visited earlier that year and on the postcard I wrote about that visit. On some animal postcards, I just wrote some information about the animal pictured. On other postcards, I gave a kind of outlook on things to come such as the next big vacation. Also, he LOVES the Minions so of course I had to have a Minions postcard and wrote in ”Minionish" (with a German translation) on it. With one postcard I included a little poem that fit the theme of the postcard."

Postcard Advent Calendar

Thank you for sharing, Carina!

This is a such a sweet idea to do for a loved one, and not that hard to put together… maybe something to do these coming weekends? 😊 Gather your stationery supplies and put them to good use!

Postcard Advent Calendar
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The Little Mail Carriers did some island hopping earlier this year, from the Azores across the Atlantic Ocean to the Dominican Republic, where they were welcomed by the local community of enthusiastic postcrossers. Read on to learn about this sunny land and its many delights!

Hi everyone! That was a long ride in our envelope, and we’re really glad to finally be out to meet Stephanie, the friendly post officer that stamped our passport.

The Little Mail Carriers visit Dominican Republic!

After the formalities were done, our first order of business was to meet the local Postcrossing community! Everyone was super friendly and they had lots of ideas of things they wanted to show us. While they discussed and made plans, we tasted the delicious “Pasteles en hoja”, a local savory speciality.

Pasteles!

Our first host Ramón (aka ramonlora) showed us the old part of Santo Domingo, which is called the “Zona Colonial”. It is an area filled with monuments and landmarks that are often featured on postcards. We visited the impressive Basílica Catedral de Santa María de la Encarnación, the Alcázar de Colón, the Ovando Statue overlooking the Plaza España and the Ozama fortress.

Zona Colonial of Santo Domingo

We also checked out a curious landmark: the “Faro a Colón” (or, the Columbus lighthouse). It’s a peculiar lighthouse, as it was built quite inland, in the last decades of the XX century, when boats no longer relied so much on lighthouses for navigation. Why would they build it, then? Turns out, the cross-shaped lighthouse is more of a monument in honor of Columbus than a navigation tool. Its construction was quite controversial and took several decades until it was finished in 1992.

The Little Mail Carriers visit Dominican Republic!

After that, we went to see the thing that is featured in most Dominican Republic postcards… the beach! Though many beaches here are private, Juan Dolio is still free to visit and just an hour drive from Santo Domingo.

Julian Dolio beach

And what feels good after a day at the beach? Paletas, of course! These fruity ice-popsicles were a delicious treat on a warm day. On every corner there’s a fruit stall, and they will offer you a kaleidoscope of juicy and tasty fresh fruits, all year around.

Paletas!

On the next days, we hitched a ride with Darío (aka dariomartinezb) and drove to Santiago de los Caballeros, a city located about 160 kms Northwest of Santo Domingo, in the center of the Cibao Valley. It was founded by Cristopher Columbus in 1495, it had to be rebuilt some miles farther in 1562 due to a devastating earthquake.

Here we visited the Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración (Monument to the Heroes of the Restoration), which is the most famous landmark in Santiago, and can be seen from almost every corner of the city. The Monumento is flanked by statues of the heroes that helped the still young Dominican Republic regain its independence in 1863, and it was an honor for us to stand by the feet of such brave men.

Monumento a los Héroes de la Restauración

After that, it was time to pay a visit to the second-best place according to our host: the Cibao Stadium, home of the Cibao Eagles. Baseball is king in the Dominican Republic, and we imagined the crowd screaming "VUAL’ÁGUILA!” (that’s Go Eagles!) when there’s a home run.

Cibao Stadium

Our next host Hanley was waiting for us to visit Salcedo, hometown of the Mirabal Sisters, to visit their home and gardens which are now a museum.

Ever heard about the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, commemorated worldwide on November 25th? The date has its roots on the Mirabal Sisters, three brave women that opposed Dominican ruthless ruler Rafael L. Trujillo and were killed by his orders on November 25, 1960. The three sisters and their husbands suffered countless horrors but endured them all and inspired the population to fight the dictator. Patria, Minerva and María Teresa Mirabal are called “Las Mariposas” (the butterflies) as they symbolize freedom and hope.

Visiting the Mirabal sisters museum

Driving southwest, we reached San Francisco de Macorís, a town known for being the epicenter of the Dominican rice industry, and also the birthplace of several national heroes. We had a look at the local parks and Victorian architecture houses that are featured in so many local postcards and also strolled around the Plaza de los Mártires (aka Martyrs Place) which honors the men that took part on the crucial expedition against Trujillo in 1959.

Plaza de los Mártires

While the mission failed, it helped increase the discomfort of the people and it’s said that this expedition, along with the Mirabal Sisters assassination, marked the tipping point of the regime. Less than two years after the expedition, the Dominican Republic was freed from the dictator.

Hanley also took us to Tenares where his dad is from, and where we played a dominoes tournament! It’s said that there are three things you can find in almost any corner in the Dominican Republic: a Colmado (small grocery store), a radio-set playing bachata, and a game of Dominoes.

Playing dominoes

Our last host for the trip was Namir (aka rosanza), who took us to Puerto Plata, the city where she was born. Puerto Plata is called the Bride of the Atlantic, and for good reasons. While nowadays most tourists will know Punta Cana and Bávaro (in the East), the Dominican enchanting love story with beaches and golden sands started in Puerto Plata, many decades ago. It remains a very popular destination, especially among Europeans, some of which love it so much that they decide to settle there. Cabarete and Sosúa, a few miles East of Puerto Plata, may properly be called European refuges for retirees and surfers.

Architecture in Puerto Plata

Namir’s parents keep a small museum at home, and just before we left, she showed us some curious artifacts, including this “iron made of iron” which was used to iron clothes before electricity was invented… can you guess how it worked?

Old ironing iron

Sadly, too soon it was time for us to go, but we treasure the memories we bring from this beautiful country! 💛

Our big thank you to everyone in the Dominican Republic who made this trip such a great adventure. Who knows where the Little Mail Carriers will pop up next? Stay tuned for their adventures!

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