When picture-postcards were first sent out in the 19th century they were the Victorian equivalent of today’s text message – pithy, informal, to the point. There is little etiquette surrounding postcards: you do not normally have to start them with a salutation (you can go straight into the message), and you do not need to employ any particular sign-off. They form a verbal snapshot: a message from a particular place (most typically a holiday location); or simply a reminder that you are thinking of a person. If possible, eschew the obvious postcard clichés, and inject your postcard with personality – a humorous observation or a personal reference that proves you’re actually thinking of the recipient, not fulfilling an empty obligation. In the modern age of email and text messages, a snail-mail postcard is a thoughtful gesture.

All the latest news, discussions, events and offers from Debrett’s and receive £10 off your first purchase