Bloom & Wild – the online florist that specialises in flatpack letterbox bouquets – has seen its sales double during the pandemic. The brand reckons people have been sending blooms as ‘substitute hugs’ for loved ones.

Whether it’s a special occasion, a gesture to let someone know you’re thinking of them, or simply ‘just because’, everyone loves being sent flowers. From the instant lift of seeing the box arrive, to watching them bloom for days after – we’re big fans.

But, what other forms of ‘substitute hugs’ you can send in the post?

1. Quirky care package
Sure, you can buy anything online – but there’s something wonderfully personal about a handmade care package, where you can tailor it however you like. Think little touches that speak to their quirks – like their favourite childhood cookies or retro chocolate bar, a silly pair of socks, a mug they’ll treasure. It doesn’t need to be elaborate or expensive.

2. Old photos
With everything on our phones, holding actual photographs in our hands is rare these days – and that’s such a shame. If you’ve ever received old photos in the post, you’ll know how amazing that nostalgia-hit can feel. Dig out some golden oldies, get them printed and pop them in the post.

3. A postcard
No, we’re not going away on holidays right now, and you probably don’t have many exciting tales of your latest trip to the supermarket to share – but everyone loves getting postcards. Even if you just write a cheery ‘hello’, it’ll brighten their day and give them something lovely to pop on the fridge.

4. Funny memories
Is there any better feeling in the world than reliving favourite old memories with your favourite people? Some stories never get tired and still crack you up years later. Instead of just whacking it on WhatsApp, write it out in a letter and post it off to them.

5. Tea and coffee
On one hand, they’re an everyday staple – yet good tea and coffee can also be an absolute treat. Whether you’re splashing out on a special brand for your favourite coffee-lover or picking some soothing teas for a friend going through a rough time, the ritual of brewing up is an act of love.

6. A book
Books are brilliant full-stop. When someone hand-picks a book they think you’ll love right now, and takes the time to post it to you, even better.

7. Seeds
Do they keep saying they’d love to start a veg or herb garden, or get more creative with plants? Help them along by sending some seeds in the post, and maybe a little starter kit.

8. Gorgeous stationery
Who doesn’t love the feel of a fresh new notebook? Whether it’s to jot down thoughts before bed, pen gratitude or to-do lists or plot post-pandemic plans, gorgeous stationery is a guaranteed hit. There are loads of sites that do beautiful personalised stationery too.

9. Edible treats
Chocolate, old-school sweets, brownies in a box, hand-painted biscuits… we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to post-able edible treats now, and loads of websites do letterbox-packaged goodies. Check out Etsy, Nook & Cranny, and Letterbox Drop for more ideas.

10. Bath kit
If they’ve been loving their lockdown baths or could do with some pampering, a bath-kit parcel is a lovely thing to receive. Pop in a facemask, some calming bath salts and whatever else you think they’ll love.