One French tradition that I have embraced whole-heartedly is the practice of sending greeting cards to wish a happy new year, instead of Christmas cards. The time leading up to Christmas is so hectic; who needs that extra stress? Now that the holidays have past, I can spend more time on filling out cards (getting sick and falling down stars aside, of course), and we have the whole month of January to fill them out and send them on.
Steph suggested that I fill out the cards destined to the States first, so they would have a better chance of getting to their destinations before the end of the month. I dutifully went through my address book and made up a list, and came up with around 40. I suppose I should try to cull some of these addresses, but everytime I paused over a name, I could hear my mother behind me saying "Oh no, not your great-aunt! I know you haven't seen her since you were four years old, but she would LOVE to hear from you..."
Maybe part of it is the fact that my mother never, ever forgot a birthday, which is legend in my family. I'm not kidding; after she died, the vast majority of family members said, "and she never forgot our kids' birthdays." Every cousin in my family received a well thought out toy or gift until they were 18 years old, and then continued to receive a card every year. She was a member of Hallmark's card club, and bought cards months in advance when she saw one for someone in particular. After she died, I copied down all the birthdays and anniversaries from her master calendar and then neglected to send one damn card. I may have had the best of intentions, but I can't bear to go close to her special birthday card box that I brought home with me.
So that's why I endured the strange look from the cashier when I purchased so many New Year's cards, and why there are people on my list that I barely remember. Every card I fill out is another moment shared with Mom.
Now that's what I call a Happy New Year.