fountain pen holiday card esterbrook j herbin emerald iroshizuku ink

How To Use Your Fountain Pens More Often: Write Holiday Cards

John Bosley Handwriting Leave a Comment

Many people who collect fountain pens sometimes have trouble using them as often as they would like. If you are not a student or in a profession that requires you to write very often, you might struggle to use your pens at all! In this series of articles I want to make some suggestions that should help you use your fountain pens more often.

Write Holiday Cards

No matter what part of the world you live in, chances are good that there is a holiday that has a tradition of sending and receiving cards. It may be Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Hanukkah or even someone’s birthday. Any of these are great opportunities to use your fountain pens to let someone special know that you are thinking of them.

holiday card christmas card

A selection of fountain pen friendly holiday cards.

You don’t have to write a lot of words in a card. You can write as little as your name or you can write a message if you want to make it a little more personalized. Another great place to use your pens is when you are addressing the cards. This is a great time to show off your handwriting with a beautifully addressed envelope. You can be sure that whoever receives it will take notice!

christmas card with addressed envelope

Addressing the cards is a wonderful way to use your fountain pens.

Choosing Good Cards and Envelopes

If you plan to use fountain pens on your cards, you’ll need to make sure the paper that the cards are made out of is fountain pen friendly. Some card and envelope materials are glossy or slick and don’t absorb ink very well. Others absorb too much ink and feather horribly. To make things even more difficult, the same card company might have many different types of card stock that they use. This means that even if you find some cards that work well for you, other cards by the same company might not work so well.

Some types of paper you should avoid are: photographic paper, glossy paper, metallic, pearl or shimmer paper or 100% recycled papers. It can be fairly difficult to determine if a card stock is going to work. I’ve had some cards that I thought would work great but end being horrible to write on. About the only way to know for sure is to write on it. One thing that you can count on is that paper with any gloss is not going to work well with a fountain pen.

two christmas cards compared

You can see that the bottom card is shiny compared to the top card, which makes it poor for fountain pens.

The envelopes that come with your cards are another story. I have had plenty of cards that are fountain pen-friendly but the envelopes are not. The usual complaint with envelopes is that they are typically cheaper paper that can feather horribly, but I’ve also had some envelopes that are slightly glossy that don’t work with fountain pens either. Either way, you’ll want to make sure you pay attention to the quality of the envelopes that come with your cards.

Take Time To Enjoy Writing

One thing that I have experienced in the past is that I end up sending out so many Christmas cards, it can feel like a chore to write and hand-address each one. This is definitely not what you want to have happen! After you’ve taken the time to choose the right cards, the perfect pen and a great color of ink, the worst thing that can happen is to not enjoy the process of writing. Make sure to give yourself time to write and actually enjoy it. After all, that’s the whole point, right?

j herbin emerald of chivor fountain pen holiday card
If you don’t typically send out cards, you might want to start small so that you aren’t overwhelmed. Maybe you can send birthday cards to close friends and family and slowly start adding people to your list over the years. For a big writing session, you can take your list and send out holiday cards in December. Even if you don’t celebrate any December holidays like Christmas or Hanukkah, wishes for a Happy New Year are nice to send and are welcome by everyone.

Here are even more suggestions for using your fountain pens more often.

Hi, my name is John. I’m a Colorado-born professional photographer who recently moved back to Denver after spending 3 years in San Francisco. I’ve been using and collecting fountain pens for over 20 years. I got my first one in college when I got bored taking notes with ballpoints and pencils. Since then I’ve bought and sold hundreds of pens, but have consistency in my love of Esterbrooks.

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