01/18/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

New Year's Cards Are the New Christmas Cards

My sister and I are very organized when it comes to Christmas -- but in different ways. She is on top of gift getting. Her presents are all purchased and wrapped to perfection two weeks in advance. Whereas I am all about sending cards out. I hand-write a few each night and try to put at least five in the mailbox every day until December 20th. Now that's my aim, but sometimes only one card makes it to the mailbox depending on how tired I was (and what was on TV) the night before.

When my sis spotted me and my mass missive operation spread out across the dining room table a few days ago she said, "I totally meant to send cards. Oh well." What a coincidence! I totally meant to buy gifts. In all seriousness, I suggested to my sister that she consider sending New Year's cards. I discovered them this time last year when I had run out of cards before my list was complete, and I also received a few holiday cards from people who I didn't have on my list to begin with. Yikes! I was off to Target to stock up on Christmas cards and as I was sifting through what was left I noticed the New Year's card pile. They were simple yet beautiful white and blue cards wishing friends and family alike a peaceful New Year. What a good idea!

I bought a pack of New Year's cards and stopped stressing about having the cards done by Christmas. I actually wrote a handful of them on Christmas Day, which can be a boring day if you don't have toys to play with. The slight alteration in card theme made for a completely different writing experience. Christmas is all about faith, love, and joy -- not bad entities at all but a tall order to express -- whereas the New Year encompasses fresh beginnings and hope. Somehow it's simpler and easier to convey. Not to mention the element of surprise is on your side when you send a New Year's card. No one is expecting cards come January.

This year I'm splitting my list down the middle. Half will get Christmas cards and the others will get New Year's cards. This takes some of the deadline pressure off, and it means I'm ready if a surprise someone sends me a card. I also plan to send my Jewish friends New Year's cards. It's better than me faking my way through a Happy Hanukkah. If you're not a big card sender to begin with I still recommend sending a few New Year's cards. Maybe pick five people near and dear to your heart. Surely you know someone who had a rough 2008. Who didn't have a rough 2008!? Let them know you're thinking of them, send a genuine reminder that you're there if needed, and wish them the most hopeful 2009.