The key is to write more than your name.
In other words, resist the urge to buy a seasonally affected message under which you leave your signature.
Write words. Thoughts even.
Write in ink. (or pencil or crayon or anything along those lines)
Sit down with your address book, by which I mean an actual book made of paper and cardboard that lives in a basket on your kitchen counter and which is dog-eared and generally beaten up.
Flip through its pages and see names of people you see and talk to all the time and some you haven’t spoken with all year.
There may be a reason you haven’t talked all year, but not to worry… there’s something very possible about keeping in touch via annual conversations in ink. And in many cases, preferable.
So open your battered address book and begin.
Remember the woman you haven’t seen since the 80’s that you used to work with and once took an auto body repair class together. You had a rusty Dodge Dart. She made amazing rice. You haven’t seen each other or heard each others voices in more than thirty years. You don’t even email. The only time you’re in touch is at this time of year. By card. You’re up to date on events, if not inner psyches. (Not necessary to be up to date on every psyche.)
And your godmother who you never call often enough and friends across the country, and those who live an hour away but you only meet once a year.
You will find a man who turns 99 this month and still has all his marbles, and a woman who is 83 and has the smile of a teenager.
And the address of an old friend no longer around. You keep her name in the book anyway and every year you think what you might have written to her.
Send notes also to the names you see and talk to all the time because the things you say in handwriting are different than what you say in keyboard or words out loud.
You can buy cards or make them. From photos. Or potato stencils.
(In the past you may have chosen to drink rum and eggnog as you wrote but have since discovered you’re lactose intolerant and the rum makes your handwriting illegible by the time you get to the L’s in your address book.)
Options: Light a fire. Get cosy. Make tea or open a bottle of wine (see above). If it snows so much the better.
Embrace the remembering that goes with each name and notice the different things you write to each person, the reminder that each relationship is its own thing.
See the exhibit of textile sculptures by Judith Scott (who is part magpie and part genius.)
Go with a friend.
(Stop here for lunch. Have the kale and quinoa salad. Say hey to Debbie.)
Pay a visit to the French store and say yes to that bottle of almond milk hand cream that will not stop flirting with you.
Use pictures of the exhibit for this year’s cards. (If gallery approves said use.)
And even though you just saw the friend, send them a card too.