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Postcrossing Blog

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

I remember writing my first postcard: I was seven, spending the summer vacations of first grade by the sea with my family. That year, my dad decided to delegate the holiday postcard writing to me, since I had just learned how to write and had “such a nice handwriting”. Honoured, I took the task very seriously, drafting a short text to tell my grandparents about all the sandcastles my brother and I had built, how many ice-creams we had eaten… and how much we missed them. I did my best calligraphy and was very mindful of the small space as my dad dictated each line of the address. The sense of pride as I arrived weeks later in my grandma’s home to see the postcard proudly displayed on the fireplace mantle was huge. 😊

So I wondered… is this a common experience? On average, how old are people when they write their first postcard ever? To find out, we decided to do a poll! Over 13000 of you responded, and here are the results:

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Like me, the majority of postcrossers seems to have had their first postcard-sending experience earlier on, when they were 10 or younger, with progressively less people in each of the following age groups. That seems logical, as postcards are quite a neat way of practicing writing for the little ones and to get them excited about mail.

But we all know that some countries have more of a mail culture than others, so we were curious to discover how these statistics differed around the world. Let’s have a closer look at the countries with more than 50 votes (for more reliable results):

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Interesting! Seems like there’s a clear start 'em young trend in Europe, where the majority of people write their first postcard in their primary school years. Finland takes the cake, with 77% of members writing their first postcard before their 11th birthday — which isn’t very surprising, given the fact that they were always the country with more postcrossers per capita! Switzerland, Netherlands and Germany are close behind, all with more than 70% of postcrossers also sending their first postcards early on.

Shifting to Asia, Japan’s numbers seem to be similar as those in Europe, but they are the outliers of the region. People in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and India share the experience of writing the first postcard in their teenage years… and on the other end of the spectrum, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand are the latest starters of the group, with the majority of people writing their first postcard when they’re already adults.

So… what do you think? Were these results in line with what you expected for your country? And if you remember writing your first postcard ever, who was it addressed to? 🙂

PS: We’re always looking for new ideas for polls! If you thought of something cool to ask postcrossers (and that would fit in a poll), let us know in the comments below.

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World Post Day!

October 9th is World Post Day! 📮

The anniversary of the Universal Postal Union is the day to celebrate the huge infrastructure that connects the world in tangible ways, allowing things to move from our hands to the waiting hands of another person, often across the world. Where would we be without all these efficient systems in place to make sure our postcards, letters and parcels made it to their recipients?

So we invite you to honor the day that brings us all together! To help you celebrate with postal services worldwide, we’ve asked you to let us know what your own local post office was doing so that we could compile our habitual list of events. Here’s what we were able to find out together:

Even if your postal operator is not doing anything special this day, we encourage everyone to join in and commemorate any way they can. Send a few postcards with extra-nice stamps, high-five your mail carrier, or say a kind word to the person behind the counter at your post office — anything goes!

Hurray for the Post!

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Dia dhuit — or hello from Ireland! 🇮🇪

We have good news coming from the North Atlantic today: An Post is getting ready to release a lovely new Postcrossing stamp tomorrow, on October 5th! Irish artist Cathy Dineen did the illustration for Design HQ, who created the stamp. It features postcards being passed from person to person. Have a look: Postcrossing StampIE Isn’t it just gorgeous? 😍 Cathy did a wonderful job of capturing the connections that the project sparks as well as its diversity on this small format. And the launch is just days before World Post Day takes place, which is a nice bonus too.

The stamps will be available throughout the country and on An Post’s online shop… but if you’re in Ireland or can make it to Dublin in the weekend, there will be a large meetup on October 7th! Attendees will be able to visit the General Post Office’s museum and check out the Witnessing History exhibition too. More details can be found on this forum thread.

Hurray for beautiful stamps that honour Postcrossing and its community!

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Kehvola

We first saw Kehvola's cards on a pop-up postcard fair organised by the Finnish Postcrossing Friends Association in Tampere, and I confess I was instantly smitten! It’s no secret I have a sweet spot for illustration, but their playful style and daring colour palette was what got me hooked.

At the time, I sent the postcard on the right to a booklover friend, and stocked on others… though I’ve been very reluctant to part with them!

At the time, we talked a bit with the owners, Veera and Timo, who were staffing their booth at the fair, and Timo agreed to answer a few questions for the blog. So ladies and gentlemen, here he is to tell us more about Kehvola!

How did Kehvola get started? Could you tell us a bit of the story behind it?

Veera (my wife) had previously worked as a store manager in the Finnish National Gallery’s museum shops. There she noticed that there are no nice Helsinki cards available. She started the company and asked the nearest and the cheapest illustrator (me!) to draw a set of Helsinki postcards. This was just four years ago.

We’re fascinated by how coherent your collection is — despite being illustrated by different people. How did this group of illustrators get together? And how do you choose the themes for your pieces?

We are illustration fans and we’ve been very lucky with our artists. So far everybody we’ve asked to join us had said yes. I think our illustrators all have something in common yet they all have their own distinct style. Our illustrators have all illustrated children’s books and are capable of creating narrative pictures with strong sense of atmosphere.

Illustrators are free to offer their own ideas but most of them prefer clear orders from us. I myself think what I would like to draw (this could be an old bike or a rubber boot, a big bookshelves, elvis, tiger or an apple pie) and then consider with Veera would somebody be interested in such a card. If we like the idea enough we print it anyway.

Kehvola good times
If you could define Kehvola’s style in 3 words, what would they be?

Narrative, colorful, warm.

Are you letter or postcard writers too?

Always when travelling. I love bookshops and museum shops and browsing through their postcard selection. Writing a postcards in a cosy pub or cafe after a long day of walking is an essential part of my traveling.

Could you show us your studio, or the place where the magic happens?

Here’s a picture of Kehvola’s "headquarters”, where I also do the drawing:

kehvolastudio

Thank you Timo, that was lovely! Besides their shop, you can also find Kehvola on their Instagram and Facebook pages.

Oh! And now for the best part: Timo kindly offered a set of postcards to give away to one lucky postcrosser! For a chance to win it, check out Kehvola’s shop, and leave a comment below, telling us which design or designs were your favourites. We’ll randomly pick a winner by this time next week, and announce it on this post. Good luck! :)

And the winner of this giveaway, as chosen by Paulo’s random number generator is… LesCheris, from France! Congratulations, and thanks everyone for playing along! :)

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Have you ever seen a book about postcards without any images of the postcards themselves? That might sound strange at first, as one tends to associate postcards with pictures… but truth is, the written content of the postcards is often just as (or more!) interesting than the images they show.

Journalist Jan Carson spent the year of 2015 coming up with short stories for postcards that she sent to her friends and family, one per day. What might have started as a random observation or overheard conversation around her town of Belfast, quickly turn into stories on the back of each postcard, as imagination takes over. The result of this creative endeavour is now compiled in a book called Postcard Stories, where the mini-narratives are interspersed with beautiful illustrations by Benjamin Phillips.

Postcard Stories by Jan Carson

Each story send us on a journey to a parallel reality — sometimes surreal, sometimes puzzling, and often just funny. Here’s one of my favourites:

"January 22nd 2015 – Belfast International Airport, Aldergrove

A man in the line for Edinburgh has three inflatable worlds in a plastic bag. He is stopped at the departure gate by an easyJet representative.

“What have you got in the bag?” she asks. It is seven a.m., too early for lipstick, but she is wearing a thick gash of it: bloody red.

“Three worlds”, he replies, and removes them one at a time, clamping them between his feet, because the world is shaped like a soccer ball and inclined to roll if permitted to do so.

“One item of hand luggage only”, she states mechanically, already eyeing up the next offender.

The man proceeds to demonstrate how, with great determination and a little pressure, the world (and all those back-up worlds to come), can be deflated and contained within an overhead luggage locker."

Just picturing that scene put a big smile in my face, and I’m sure anyone who has ever flown on a low-cost airline can picture it as well. The book is filled with 52 such little stories, a collection of Jan’s imagination and mementos that would make any postcard lover happy.

Now if only we could make our handwriting as small as Jan’s and fit those many words on our postcards… perhaps she gives workshops? 😊

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