Well, it’s November 1, so you know what that means? It means the deadline for mailing in Christmas holiday cards has passed. (Winter cards – no Christmas papers or sentiments please! – are ok through the end of December.)
Oh no, Kate! I have Christmas cards I haven’t mailed to my shipper yet! Is it really too late? What do I do?
I promise your shipper has seen all the wreaths and reindeers she wants to see until next summer, but have no fear! I have the perfect solution for you. Any Hero Christmas Mail! Part of the fun of the holidays is sending cards to people you love, but another great thing is receiving mail. Many of our heroes won’t be getting cards or letters this season, and this is where your wreaths and reindeers can save the day. Write a letter to a hero. Deadline for Any Hero Christmas mail is November 30, so you have time! (And we include non-holiday-specific Hero Mail in every box all year round, so it’s always the right time!)
But Kate, I feel weird about writing Any Hero mail. I never know what to write.
And that’s the reason for today’s tutorial. Keep reading, and you’ll see how easy it is! Let’s start with some basics:
Use a salutation like “Dear Hero” or “Hello” or “Greetings.” We don’t use the word “soldier” because the letters might be delivered to a hero in any branch of service, and “soldier” only applies to heroes in the Army.
Keep it upbeat. We want to encourage our heroes and brighten their day.
Find common ground, and talk about interests you may share. Talk about going to your child’s ball game or something funny that happened during trick-or-treating, cute pet stories or a new plant or flower that is blooming in your yard.
Short notes are fine, but don’t be afraid to “go long.” Remember, a couple of sentences will be nice to read, but a long letter will stay with a hero longer and give them a few more minutes of enjoying words from “home.”
Share your heart. Tell them something you’re grateful for in your own words. Don’t worry about being flowery or poetic. Just write like you’re talking to a friend. Talk about your family’s holiday traditions, share a joke you heard at the office. Describe the squeals of the kids playing Parcheesi in the next room.
Sign the note with your first name and your city/state. It is fine to include your full name or contact information, but don’t expect our heroes to write back. Remember we’re sending them a pick-me-up, not setting up a pen-pal relationship.
Envelopes aren’t required. Hero Mail goes in a separate bag inside the box of cards. But if you put your card or letter in an envelope, please don’t seal it. All Hero Mail is checked by the shippers before it is sent.
Ok, but really, I’m not that good with words. Can’t you give me some suggestions?
Sure. Here are some suggestions that were posted in OWH chat. You can use or adapt these for use in your own hero mail:
This card brings you greetings,
This card represents care,
This card salutes courage,
This card carries our prayers.
This card gives our thanks
For all that you do;
Till the day you come home safe
May God watch over you!
You are a hero
Not because you wear a uniform
Or carry a gun,
But because you serve your country
Far from loved ones and home.
There are not many
With the courage to do what you do.
You stand in the desert
To protect the helpless;
To guard the future;
And to build a better world.
We salute you
For who you are and what you do.
May God protect you
The way you protect others.
May God lay His loving hands on you
And keep you safe from harm
Until the day you return home
And ever after.
Born to love
Trained to protect
Destined to be our hero.
—from an AnyHero letter by a child
Just a little note to say
That tho you may be far away
Friends and strangers for you pray
That God may keep you safe today
God & I thought about you today.
This I pray
God bless you
Your courage gives me courage
If I never said Thank You, I do it now
May God grant you Victory
Prayers are the way I visit you
Remembered always, never forgotten
is Fear that has said it prayers.
—added by Chrissi, found on a church bulletin
Thank you for who you are,
where you are,
doing what you’re doing.
Be safe and come home soon.
Here are some other ideas:
Thank you so much for your service, being away from your home, family and friends. I just want to let you know that I appreciate it and thank you for it. Please come back safe and soon.
We stand behind you and support you all the way. Thank you.
I appreciate what you all are doing for our freedom. As a veteran, I know what you are going through. Thank you.
Sending you big hugs and cheer from home. Thank you so much for your service and bravery. Come home soon!
Thank you for your service. Your bravery and strength of character represent what America stands for. Bless you!
It’s a great honor to be able to thank you for serving our country. You’re very brave for the service you’re doing for freedom!
Thank you for all you do. You portray what we American value most…freedom. Thank you for your commitment and bravery. May this card help bring you good health, clarity of mind and the courage you need to be successful. Each of you play such an important role in protecting our country. Please know that we are all behind your efforts and appreciate you and pray for you daily. You are all heroes to us!
I cannot find the words to express how grateful my family and I are that you are putting yourself in harm’s way to protect our country. The U.S.A. is the land of the free and the home of the brave…but only because of courageous people like you. We wish you and your fellow troop members complete safety throughout your tour of duty. May you return home soon to a true hero’s welcome. Thank you.
We don’t know each other and will probably never meet, but I want you to know that you and all of our troops are in our hearts and prayers each day. Please always remember what you’re doing will always be appreciated and never forgotten. I wish you all the best and pray for your safe and speedy return home to your family and friends. Thank you.Find common ground…
Can I get the kids involved?
Of course! Kids are naturals at Hero Mail! We often hear from our heroes that they love to hang up kids artwork on their walls. Remember the number one rule, though, No Glitter!
You can download special OWH coloring pages for kids. Feel free to share them with your scout or school groups or sunday school classes.
If you’d like to solicit Any Hero mail from your church or civic group, check out the flyers here.
If you’d like to set up an Any Hero card-writing table at your next cardmaking party, check out this video for more tips.
Please take a moment to add any hints or tips you have for writing Any Hero mail in comments on this post.
Remember, if you have a topic you think would make a good Tuesday Tutorial, please please please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!