50 things to send to your pen pal

Whilst sending and receiving letters themselves is great fun, I often enjoy popping a little something else in the envelope with my outgoing letters, and this is especially true with my international pen pals as we have so much to share in terms of culture. Even the smallest little surprise can be fascinating to the recipient. With that in mind, I’ve created a list below of 50 items you could pop in your envelope with a letter to your penfriend. I’ve tried to keep the items fairly slim, so you don’t end up paying too much on postage.

  • Pressed leaves or flowers – pretty & also interesting to people from other countries
  • A bookmark – you could make one or buy one themed around something your pen pal has an interest in
  • Tea bags
  • Hot chocolate sachets
  • Sweets
  • A couple of sticks of chewing gum
  • Something you have cross stitched
  • A postcard of your local area or somewhere you have visited
  • A leaflet from a local attraction
  • A photograph – this could be of you, your area, your friends, or whatever you would like to share with your pen pal
  • A note card – either blank with the envelope, for them to use, or written in by you
  • A crossword or Sudoku puzzle
  • A newspaper clipping about something interesting, or perhaps relevant to a discussion you and your friend been having
  • Flattened origami
  • A friendship bracelet – I encourage this at any age!
  • A keyring
  • A ticket from somewhere you’ve recently visited, or your travel ticket
  • A (non-metal) nail file – they now sell these with all manner of patterns on them
  • Pretty plasters (band aids)
  • A packet of flower seeds to plant (inland only)
  • A packet of pretty tissues
  • Your favourite recipe
  • A pack of stickers
  • A slim notepad
  • A fun pair of socks
  • Your favourite chocolate bar
  • Washi tape
  • A little quiz on a separate piece of paper – ask questions such as ‘what 3 items would you save in a fire, after your family?’ or ‘tell me about your best ever Birthday’
  • Write a little list to pop in with your letter, such as ‘My top 10 books’, ‘My 5 favourite films’, or ‘What I’ve done today’.
  • A hairband, hair bobble or hair clips
  • A luggage tag
  • Sticky notes
  • A pen or pencil
  • An inspirational quote
  • Free cosmetic samples
  • Drinks coasters, or free beer mats from your local pub
  • An amusing comic strip
  • Coins (of a low value), unless your pen pal is from the same country or uses the same currency (such as the Euro)
  • A drawing or doodle
  • Fun paperclips
  • An air freshener
  • A CD of your favourite music
  • Postage stamps, if they collect them
  • A fridge magnet
  • Stationery for them to use
  • Write the first line of a story and fold the piece of paper, then send it to your pen pal and ask them to not read what you have written but add the next line, fold it, and send it back to you
  • Start a drawing off, then ask your penfriend to add to the drawing and send it back to you
  • A map or travel guide for your city
  • Paper confetti
  • A handmade necklace

Do you have any more ideas to add? Let us know on social or in the comments below.

Lucy is our lead editor and has been passionate about stationery since childhood. She has a particular fondness for rollerball and calligraphy pens and is a keen advocate of snail mail.

There are 9 comments for this article
  1. Sarah at 3:33 am

    I have just sent my first pen-pal letter as an adult. These ideas are awesome and I have used some of the ideas in my first letter. Thank you, I will be back for more as I am sure I will get a reply. xxx

  2. J at 6:03 pm

    Please don’t sent pressed flowers or flower seeds to other countries or if your pen pal lives on an island (hawaii, for example.) Many countries don’t allow plant (or animal) matter from over seas in the interest of preventing the introduction of invasive species. Several letters have been returned to me for this reason, and over-seas postage isn’t cheap! So, it’s ok to do within your own country, but your letter will probably be stopped and returned to you if you’re trying to sent plant matter to another country. Lessons learned!

  3. Weisong Tang at 12:57 am

    Hello Dear,

    I am wondering what mail company to use to send if my penpal is overseas (USPS? UPS? FEDEX?)

    Thank you,

  4. Pingback: How to create an envelope flip book for your pen pal – The Pen Company Blog

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