Every so often I cross paths with a certain woman who I respect professionally but wonder about personally. Frequently I find that her thoughts on various matters challenge my preconceived ideas. I like talking with her because she always gets me thinking. Which I like to do.
So, when I saw her this last time she was opining about Christmas. Specifically she was talking about presents (give gift cards only) and alcoholic drinks (a must for all festive meals) and holiday greeting cards. It was this last point that caught me by surprise.
This woman hates holiday cards. Thinks that they’re a complete waste of time, money and resources. In fact, she shared with me, that when a friend sends her one, she doesn’t even open it and just throws it away.
That’s how much she dislikes holiday cards.
I’m fascinated and appalled by this woman’s cavalier approach to holiday cards– and by extension, I believe, to friendship. I like receiving cards of all sorts, so it has never occurred to me to not at least open a card addressed to me.
Yet here was someone I’ve known for years telling me quite casually that a card from a friend is of no consequence to her. That the effort involved in sending it means nothing to her. And that her friends should really know better and not bother her with holiday cards.
I don’t know that her point of view is going to change my card sending behavior; I’ll continue doing what I do. But she did remind me to not make any assumptions about anything. No matter how innocuous it may seem to me, I now realize that there is a possibility that someone somewhere is tossing aside my
gift of friendship holiday card… unopened.
15 thoughts on “It Takes All Kinds To Make The Holidays Go Round”
Humm, I don’t think she dislikes holiday cards as much as she dislikes the fact that people to whom she has expressed her opinion about holiday cards still send her cards. How dare they! She’ll show them!
I have a sister who was a Jehovah’s Witness for many years and so did not celebrate Christmas. This also meant she did not send Christmas presents. I respected her beliefs and never got upset when I did not get a gift. This did not mean I did not send her a Christmas present since I did celebrate Christmas. In turn, she respected my beliefs and never got upset when I sent her a gift. She knew I did it because I like giving Christmas presents to members of my family and she also knew that my doing so did not creating an obligation on her part- well, beyond saying thank you and that’s just good manners.
People sometimes misinterpret other people’s actions and then overreact to them. I think that is what has happened here, how sad.
la p, that’s a good analysis of what has happened with this woman. When she said this about the cards I just smiled and shrugged. But it has stuck with me because it seemed so weird to me to not even open a card. I like her (she’s smart), but she does seem extreme sometimes. Which, of course, makes her interesting.
[Point of clarification: Our relationship is purely professional so she wasn’t telling me in some convoluted way to stop sending her cards. This was an abstract sort of conversation.]
I’m stunned by this! I think she’s being terribly self centred, as if the world has to run along her lines. How can she not appreciate the time and effort (and money!) involved in buying, writing, addressing and sending a card. It’s such a little thing that can mean much, and it means that people are thinking of her and value her enough to let her know that at Christmas. It’s disrespectful to the people taking the trouble to send them. It reminds me of a family I once read about where the chldren each had to select one of their (unopened) presents on Christmas morning and donate it to charity. I applaud the thinking of others side of this, but what about the person who bought the present, who went to all that time and effort (and money)? The gift was given to the child, and they were made to give it away. Everyone is a loser there, in my opinion. Not quite the same thing, but a similar vein. Can’t believe how this post has affected me! Polly x
I suppose it is up to her what she wants to do with cards but I’m curious about her need to tell people about it. Plus I’m not sure I believe the whole waste of time and money thing. Oh, I can invent many scenarios!
Polly, I thought that it seemed rather disrespectful too. I always think about the recipient of a card as I’m writing it– but she doesn’t seem to think that is anything to value. She always gets me thinking. I’ll give her that.
Zazzy, good point. I hadn’t thought about why she was telling me this. To vent? To justify her behavior? To pontificate? Beats me.
I agree with the others who have commented here. This just made me feel bad, too. I love sending cards. It’s not a huge “chore” every year to buy the cards, write them , adress them and buy stamps to mail them. I’m even one of those “crazy” people who write a family letter each year and send to the friends that might not know what has happened throughout the year. And I love getting cards. I reread them, then save them to get painting ideas from sometimes. I just gave Morgan the cards from last year so she can use them in her preschool class. I guess this person can feel the way she wants–that’s what freedom is all about.
Beth, I like cards, too. But after talking with this woman I realized that sometimes one person’s kindness is another person’s burden. Probably more often than we realize. We lives, we learns, don’t we?
Well, she’d be off my list, for sure.
I LOVE holiday cards. I love the tradition of it and it makes me sad that for the 80-90 I will send out this year, I will get less than 1/3 of that number. People just aren’t taking the time anymore, and it’s sad because some old friends are those who only correspond via holiday cards. 😦
Melisa, fortunately she’s never been on my list! She’s smart, but she does view the world in a different way many times. Keeps me alert being around her.
I will be the judgmental one and say that she sounds like a self-centered, supercilious ass. And opinionated too. I do admit that I have a problem with people who act like they have all the answers because I have none!!
Margaret, well, there’s that about her, too. I could write a few more posts about what she’s said on other topics. She’s someone who intrigues me because I can never decide if I should applaud her honesty or slap her upside the head for being so selfish!
Huh. I have mixed feelings about holiday cards, but I would never think to throw one away unopened! I do like the reminders that people still remember me, and a few of my friends and relations send really cool cards that reflect their personalities.
I do remember getting really irritated by one card from a friend, though. She had taken the trouble to write “Miss ya!” on the inside of the card, which would be a nice sentiment…except that she lived 10 minutes away and never called or made efforts to get together! So it pissed me off. Also, the envelope was addressed to “Mrs. MyFirstName MyHusband’sLastName,” and not in her own writing, so I’m guessing she enlisted her mother or someone who didn’t know me to help. So it all felt so impersonal. But I saved the card anyhow, and will still open any that she sends in the future. If only to get mad…
(Also, I haven’t sent out holiday cards in years. I get so bogged down in the process that I never finish.)
alejna, I wouldn’t like getting the sort of insincere card that you received. Nothing is better than the one you described.
I send cards about 3 out of every 4 years. So if I don’t feel like doing them myself, then they don’t get sent. I’m intent on keeping them personal. And some years that’s too much for me to do.
Just got my first Christmas card today. It made me think of you and your colleague.
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