How to Write the Perfect Lunchbox Note

kids stationeryTucked between the turkey sandwich and the apple chips, we like to think that every child finds something sweet. (Besides the mini bag of Peanut M&Ms, of course.)

The lunchbox note has been a staple of cafeteria correspondence since PB met J. It has served as a pick-me-up, a reminder, a pep talk and a hug replacement. It makes a great day even better, and makes a bad day just a little more tolerable. It is, like any note, a small gesture to let someone know you’re thinking about him or her.

But writing a lunchbox note isn’t as easy as scribbling a few x’s and o’s. Like all handwritten sentiments, there is an art to perfectly crafted communication. Here are our tips on how to make sure yours isn’t tossed out with the empty juice box.

  • Keep it short and sweet. Lunchtime is about re-fueling, but it’s also about socializing with friends. Between conversations about homework and weekend adventures, your child has about 30 seconds for reading. Keep it to 1-3 sentences (this isn’t the time to reminisce or tell a story) and keep it light and loving (this also isn’t the time to remind him he needs to clean his room tonight).
  • Don’t use the good stuff. Now isn’t the time to utilize your engraved monogram stationery with lined envelopes. Not that a note to your child isn’t special, but there is a good chance that it will come home decorated in apple juice and peanut butter (if it comes home at all). Instead, invest in a box of notecards reserved only for your note to your child. This way, he’ll know it’s from you to him (and feel special because of it), and you won’t be upset about your monogram getting trampled in the hallway between classes.
  • The delight is in the details. “I love you” and “Have a great day” are certainly lovely sentiments, but chances are you tell them to your child on a daily basis. Every note should touch on specifics. Mention a funny line from a movie you both love, tell her how much you love her new red sneakers or suggest you both get frozen yogurt after school. Whatever it is, make sure it gets a smile.
  • Everything in moderation. Like an extra cookie, a lunchbox note is meant to be a surprise treat. They should be sporadic, inspiring smiles, not groans. Sure, including one on Valentine’s Day or on the day of a big test is lovely. But it’s those not-particularly-interesting-in-any-way-days that make an unexpected note quite a delight.

Need more correspondence advice? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com.

Post Script: Needle in a Haystack’s Yash Parmar

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Everything is bigger in Texas. And that includes the stationery business. Catering to Dallas’s finest, Needle in a Haystack has been a purveyor of exquisitely printed paper for more than two decades. Here, co-owner Yash Parmar — who runs the boutique with his wife, Bhavna and daughter, Krishna (pictured above right and left, respectively) — talks to us about the power of pen pals, to whom he writes most and how he may not have been where he is today without sewing.

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
Writing handwritten letters to my pen pals in various countries.

What’s the story behind your store’s name?
Needle in a Haystack started off as a needlepoint store in 1971 – hence the name.  In the 70’s and 80’s there was strong interest in needlepoint. The previous owners of Needle in a Haystack were avid needlepointers.  They gradually introduced gifts and stationery in the 80’s. We bought the store in 1989, when it was about 80% needlepoint and 20% “other.”  

What inspired you to open a stationery boutique?
Emphasis on stationery was dictated by the market and our interest in paper. Our customers demanded greater variety of stationery. This matched our interest.

Why do you enjoy sending letters and/or correspondence?
It is great to put your thoughts on paper. I had pen pals as a teenager and loved writing and receiving letters.

If you could be pen pals with anyone in history, to whom would you write and what would you say?
Mahatma Gandhi. I have so many questions that I could ask. There is so much that one can learn from his life and experience.

Gandhi

To whom do you most often write?
Customers!

Describe the most memorable letter or postcard you have ever received.
As a student in England, my grandfather wrote to me regularly from India. I loved receiving his letters with all his grandfatherly advice.

What makes a particular letter stand out from a stack of cards?
Handwritten letter on personal stationery.

Do you have a favorite stamp or stamp series?
Scenic American Landscapes series of stamps.  Some of these, such as Yosemite National Park, Glacier National Park are just beautiful!

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What is your favorite product created by Crane & Co.?
The Black Label album (that has long been retired) had some fabulous engraved stationery with wonderful motifs and liners.

palmetto engraved black label red cards

What do you think classic correspondence will look like in a decade or two?
I think the classic correspondence in a decade or two will remain classic: handwritten note on engraved stationery.

Have a question for Yash? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com.

Photos: Crane & Co.’s American Flags

We’re quite proud of the fact that we’re an American company making products in America. It’s what we were founded on and what we hope to continue to do for centuries to come.

It isn’t uncommon, then, to see lovely and plentiful displays of patriotism as one wanders through our factories. Below are just a handful of such displays we think you might enjoy perusing, especially as we go into Memorial Day Weekend. Go ahead, hum “You’re a Grand Old Flag” while you do…

1) Red, White & Blue With a View

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Post Script: Avalon Stationery’s Sue Littleton

sue littletonMeet Avalon Stationery and Gifts co-owner Sue Littleton, who opened her Houston shop with her daughter more than 25 years ago. Here, one of our favorite and longtime Crane & Co. retailers talks about owning a small business, her customers and the power of a particular postcard.

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
When my daughter, Charlene, was small, her playtime adventures always centered around selling things. After graduating from Baylor University, a family friend asked Charlene what career path she would like to take. We had been fantasizing about having a store together and even called on several locations. Twenty-six years ago, we could not ever have imagined that we would get to work together and love the small business challenges, but our devotion has rewarded us beyond any goal we could have ever set for ourselves.

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And the Winner Is…

debbie wish you were here pinterest boardCongratulations to the winner of our Wish You Were Here Pinterest contest: Debbie!

Contestants were asked to create a Pinterest board inspired by their perfect vacation spot and incorporate one of our notes or cards. We received so many delightful entries that made us want to pack our bags this minute, so thank you to everyone who participated!

For her board, Debbie created a most delectable beach getaway, complete with dreamy images of mojitos, surfing and seaside strolls. She used our Hand Engraved Starfish Correspondence CardAviator Glasses Correspondence Card and Shell Note, which all fit perfectly with her beachy theme.

A couple others we loved:

Gena’s tribute to Prague using our Hand Engraved Peacock Feather Note (apparently one can see them wandering about the city) as inspiration. Street lamps in the fog, lush gardens and river strolls make the City of 100 Spires a perfect summer destination.

Elizabeth used our Turtle Note for her board entry, which pays homage to everyone’s favorite shelled, lumbering reptile. Who wouldn’t love to see one — or ten — on their next coastal vacation?

Again, thank you to everyone who entered, and bon voyage!

Life’s richer with friends, so let’s stay in touch. Follow us on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

How To Write the Perfect Summer Camp Letter

Canoe races. Fireside s’mores. And, of course, letters home. No care package was complete without a note from mom and dad (and Gummi Bears), so we thought we’d offer a few tips on how to craft the perfect summer camp letter, as well as stationery sure to make you the talk of the ice cream sundae social.

PROVIDE AN UPDATE
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Enter Our “Wish You Were Here” Pinterest Contest!

flamingo notesWhether you’d rather visit the pool or a Picasso, a bon voyage is in order this summer.

With ice cream temps just around the corner, we thought we would celebrate by asking you to show us your perfect vacation spot. Inspired by all things travel and leisure, we created a Pinterest board that captures the wanderlust spirit.

We’d like you to do the same, and one lucky Pinner will receive a box of their favorite stationery from our Catalog collection. Here’s how to enter:
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Father’s Day Stationery: Our Top Six Selections

Father’s Day is right around the corner (June 16th, to be exact), and what better gift for the most confident, classic man you know than the most confident, classic stationery everyone knows? Below are a handful of our favorite selections — almost as dashing as he is.

ImageBusiness not as usual courtesy of an ecruwhite card handsomely framed in black. An understated type suits the humble overachiever.

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Vintage Glam: Crane’s Great Gatsby Inspired Ads

The Great Gatsby premiered this past weekend, and so in honor of all the glitz, glamour and oh-so fashionable wardrobes that came with it, we present our favorite vintage Crane & Co. ads from one of our favorite eras. We think Daisy and Jay would approve.

crane-vintage-ad-hanker-on-cranes-2We like to think this is the kind of note Daisy would have written to her cousin, Nick, enticing him to return to New York for an evening (or evenings) of Champagne and boisterous banter into the wee hours.
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Mother’s Day Stationery Ideas for Every Personality

Moms come in all shapes and sizes. So do their personalities. We’ve identified some of our favorite moms — past and present — and matched them with the Crane stationery we thought one might find in their writing desk. Be it traditional, classic, elegant or sophisticated (or perhaps all of the above), we like to think we have correspondence that fits every mom’s distinct style.

For the lady who likens herself to…

June
She bakes. She knows how to fold a fitted sheet. She always has a tissue handy. For the Mom who fancies tradition and treats, a classic motif a-la our hydrangea is certain to make her swoon.

june cleaver engraved hydrangea note

Jackie
She makes hostessing look effortless. Her social calendar is always full. You routinely raid her closet. For the Mom who fancies the classics and Capri, an elegant flourish is sets just the right tone.

jackie-letterpress-card

Diana
She’s as at ease in diamonds as she is in riding pants. However her children are her favorite accessory. For the Mom who fancies the finer things as well as the little things, a gold monogram fit for a princess.

diana-gold-monogram

Angelina
She is effortlessly stunning. Though making time for her family is always her most beautiful quality. For the Mom who fancies sophisticated style and summers on the Siene, a monogram with oversized flourish in a hue most magnificent will earn a kiss.

angelina-red-flourish-monogram-note

Need more Mother’s Day gift ideas? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com.