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Should people who don't celebrate xmas still send out holiday cards?
December 10, 2012 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Are you a member of a religion that doesn't celebrate Christmas? (I'm not looking at you, atheist with a christmas tree.) Do most of your friends celebrate christmas? Do you send out holiday/christmas/seasons greetings cards?? Alternatively, do you celebrate christmas and have friends who don't celebrate because they subscribe to another religion/culture?

Every single year, i get thrown for a loop when i open my mail and find holiday cards from friends. I always think "aww that's so nice, i never send cards, SHIT its probably too late to send out cards!?". Holiday cards just aren't part of the seasonal tradition for Jewish people (at least in the community where i've grown up), whether they are religious or not (i am not), and so it just never occurs to me to do it. Until (like today) i open my mailbox to find three cards from friends.

So:
1. Non-xmas-celebraters: Do you send out cards to your friends that do celebrate??
2. As the xmas-celebrating friend of a Jew/Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist etc, if you send those friends holiday cards, do you expect one back? Do you get cards from those friends? Does it irk you to not get one, or do you think "so and so is Muslim/Jewish etc, of course they don't send holiday cards!"

I've got nothing against the idea of sending cards, i'm just trying to figure out if i should feel that i should.
posted by Kololo to Human Relations (46 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm a non-religious Jew who doesn't celebrate Christmas; most of my friends do celebrate. I have never sent out a card, nor have I ever felt like I'm expected to. That said, almost none of my friends send out cards either, so I don't know how great a sample I am for you.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:01 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am a completely irreligious jew who sends out ridiculous largely nondenominational cards and does not particularly expect any in return. But I am always pleased to receive them as well as many exciting gifts. Many. I spend the majority of the year being a surly douchebag so I especially enjoy the holidays when I can send people things they are not expecting and trick them into thinking I might be nice during the upcoming year.

haha suckers
posted by elizardbits at 8:05 PM on December 10, 2012 [18 favorites]


I think only the person who celebrates a holiday/tradition is the one with the obligation/expectation to do things traditionally associated with that holiday. I'm always reminded of this episode of Diff'rent Strokes when Arnold decides to become Jewish, expecting the motherlode of presents - yet forgets that only HE celebrates this tradition.

Lesson to be learned - do what you do because you feel its the right thing to do and do it without expectations of others.
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:07 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I haven't been sending out cards nor receiving them, which is mainly due to my friends and I still being sort of in a flux/young (I can't think of anyone I know even casually who sends them out) but I am actively working to change that this year, and sending out at least personalized cards to the people I really care about. As in, I'm currently working on a Left 4 Dead-based card for a friend with whom I play that game (it's amazeballs), and next year with some planning I will send them out to a lot of people.

It's fun! And people will be less creeped out than if I send them in like May.
posted by Lemurrhea at 8:08 PM on December 10, 2012


I'm an Atheist, although I was raised in a practicing Muslim family. I don't send out Christmas cards. I'm not sure I understand the whole "sending out xmas card" tradition, and find it a little odd when people send them to me, all the while knowing that I do not celebrate Christmas (unless they're especially really silly, creative, or funny cards).

Sending out xmas cards doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me in an era when everyone is so connected and already knows what's up with most people. But if you're going to send them out, it shouldn't stress you out and you shouldn't feel pressured. Aren't "the holidays" supposed to be fun? Getting stressed out about sending out cards doesn't sound very fun.

tl.dr - I think you're fine. I wouldn't worry much about it.
posted by raztaj at 8:08 PM on December 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am a completely irreligious jew who sends out ridiculous largely nondenominational cards and does not particularly expect any in return.

This is me also. I send out home made Joy and Peace cards that are not green and/or red and I send them to people I like and/or people who are in my MetaChat chard exchange. I get a random assortment of cards back [Xmas, non-Xmas, Hannukah] and it's fine with me.
posted by jessamyn at 8:08 PM on December 10, 2012


For a data point, several of my Jewish relatives send out Hanukkah or Happy Holidays cards. In fact I got one in the mail today.

My nuclear family never sent out cards but that has a lot more to do with our apathy about holidays in general (and my mother's general disorganization) than the fact that we are Jewish.

In terms of inter-religious cards, I am personally not offended to get a Christmas card as long as it's not overly religious (fortunately I am not actually friends with any "Keep Christ in Christmas" bumper sticker types).
posted by radioamy at 8:13 PM on December 10, 2012


Jewish too. I have sent out Holiday cards to work colleagues in the past, not lately as there are Too Many of them, and currently love the MetaChat. Holiday card exchange, which is about all I do.
posted by bearwife at 8:16 PM on December 10, 2012


We send out Christmas cards (except for last year when we sent New Year's cards because we couldn't get our shit together on time) and don't keep track of who sends us cards. Even if we were going to start keeing score, we wouldn't expect friends from other religious traditions to send us cards this time of year. Don't worry about this, there is no obligation for you to reciprocate.
posted by Area Man at 8:21 PM on December 10, 2012


Nonreligious Jew married to an ex-Catholic agnostic. We have a tree and a party, no cards.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:21 PM on December 10, 2012


Secular Asian with a Scrooge-like view of all and any religious and/or cultural holidays including my own, and I'm sending out holiday cards, something which I only started doing this last year. My partner and I are terrible at staying in touch with people, even people we like very much, and I thought sending out holiday cards was a good way to let close friends and family know that we are thinking of them and wishing them well. I also like buying pretty paper goods...
posted by peripathetic at 8:25 PM on December 10, 2012


Non religious reform Jew that used to send holiday cards with a picture of our kids only. We sent them for about 15 years. They were mostly for friends who lived out of state or we did not see often because of life circumstances and same with relatives. All it would say was, "Happy Holidays from the Gunn Family". Some years we would put individual names.

They were simply one of those elongated picture cards with a picture and message next to it in a business size envelope. For so many, it was a chance to watch our kids grow up from afar. The year we stopped, we got a lot of calls and notes asking why. (too lazy to fight with three teenagers to take the darn picture.)

It turns out that we kept the kids in the same position every year. (Accidentally for first 5 years, then it just seemed right.). I made a video montage type thing of all the cards and some of the outtake pictures last year and it was truly amazing to me to watch them grow each year.

We get cards from all denominations mostly with best wishes and a family picture. I look forward to them and usually only think about them when we don't get one from a regular some year.

We have a single friend, now in his 40s that has kept them all taped to his refrig for 17 years now. He even moved them when he moved. He simply thinks if them as nephews and niece. He loves telling expletive all about their accomplishments. He says it also makes him look more domestic and family friendly when he brings home dates. It is both weird and flattering to know my kids are helping him get laid.

I never expect them, am always happy to get them, and only miss them if I have gotten one for several years from that family.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:45 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm Jewish, I send "happy new year" cards out. Mr. BlahLaLa and I developed the habit of doing this after we got married, but it was really cemented after Baby BlahLaLa was born. I'm mostly doing it to share a yearly pic of my kid with friends far and wide. I send to christians, jews, atheists, etc.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:46 PM on December 10, 2012


My solution to this is to send out Happy New Year cards. It's very much not a thing here, so I have to have them made, which is annoying.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:48 PM on December 10, 2012


I buy cards at my local craft fair, send them to people. Everyone usually likes getting mail, I like supporting people who make stuff.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:53 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Practicing Muslim. I don't send or receive Christmas cards. Some friends always give gifts so I reciprocate to not feel like a mooch*. It is possible these friends send out Christmas cards to other people but I doubt it. To me sending out Christmas cards is something people used to do, or something old people do, which is kind of the same thing.

*Eid ul-Fitr (the holiday at the end of Ramadan) features gift giving but that is from adults to kids - usually envelopes full of money, the best gift! Some people have started to give gifts to friends as well, but they seem to be outliers at the moment, and are among the more inclined to give gifts for any old reason. If and when Eid ul-Fitr turns into Muslim Christmas then I'll have to decide what to do about the Christmas gifts. But even then there won't be any cards.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 9:09 PM on December 10, 2012


I'm Jewish. I send out some cards (and the posts here remind me that I completely forgot to join the MeCha card exchange this year. One year I'll remember. : ) ) I like to send out funny cards, general Happy Holidays cards, or cards with pictures of my dog. I like getting cards too.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:26 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like giving and getting mail, so if you are a person that I know, and have as some point given me your address, you will receive a card from me, most likely with an odd stickfigure drawing and overly formal and florid holiday greeting scrawled across the inside... I do not expect anything in return.

I figure I always smile when I get mail that is not junk, most other people will too! or at least I hope they take the penguin/snowflake/weird reindeer cards as signs that I think of them
posted by larthegreat at 9:28 PM on December 10, 2012


My Buddist friend sent me a picture of her newborn son in a baby Santa suit at this time last year. I doubt her immigrant parents do anything like this. I don't think anyone -- including Christians -- is obligated to send out end-of-year cards. And it's OK to send this sort of thing at other times of year too.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:33 PM on December 10, 2012


I am an agnostic Jew-ish person whose Christian father also made sure we celebrated Christmas when I was a kid, too, which gave me an abiding love of all things sparkly, particularly trees. So I have a Christmas tree, and we hold a solstice party, and I send out non-denominational holiday cards, mostly because I have a lot of crafty friends who send out cards that are intimidating as all fuck, and it's nice to do something in return.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:44 PM on December 10, 2012


Oh, and for a data point: we're relatively young and funky. Like, tattoos and stuff. Most of the people who send us cards are relatively young and funky, too.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:46 PM on December 10, 2012


I'm a non-religious Christian who grew up in Christmas Card Culture, and yet I've never gotten into the habit of sending them. I get a few every year and feel vaguely guilty for not sending out my own, but not guilty enough to follow through the following year.

My desire to send cards usually breaks down around the point at which I can't find affordable cards with a nice design and suitably non-religious message. Especially since, if I'm sending a secular message, I want it to be a nice one and not something dull like Happy Holidays.

I worked in a bookshop that sold holiday cards, and we had "Religious" cards (AKA Christian/explicitly mentioning Jesus) and "Non-Religous" cards. The boxes were explicitly labeled with which they were, and with what the greeting inside the card was. A lot of clearly Jewish people bought "Non-Religious" Christmas Cards, so I always assumed it was not a specifically Christian thing to do. I believe we also sold Chanukah cards, but I don't remember how popular they were or whether they were used in the traditional Christmas Card manner.

For what it's worth, in my experience of how Christmas Cards work, you don't send individual cards back to people you receive cards from. You have your annual list of people who rate a Christmas card, and so do others. Chances are your lists overlap to a degree with other people in your social/family circle. But not necessarily. The mere reception of a card isn't enough to cause any immediate action aside from maybe adding that person to next year's list. Or, if you get one very early, adding them to your list for this year.
posted by Sara C. at 9:49 PM on December 10, 2012


I am almost 30 (and the aforementioned athiest with a Christmas tree. I am, er, culturally Christian, heh). None of my friends do holiday cards, but my parents and most people I know in their generation do send out either Christmas or New Years cards. In discussions with my parents about their reasons for the miserable marathon of card signing (seriously, they send out at least 200 each year) I have come to understand that the Holiday Card Marathon is what they do instead of Facebook. They send out Christmas cards to friends they know celebrate it, and non-religious "holiday" cards to those that don't. They love getting cards in return, because it tells them their friends' addresses are still the same, that they still want to be friends, and that they could be contacted at their address if need be. So as I said: Facebook.

They do have many friends they send cards to that don't send out holiday cards themselves, for various reasons (mostly lack of Christian-ness). On the other hand, I know they stop sending cards out to people who don't send them back, but only if those people used to send cards to my parents each year and then stopped. Uh, so, if their friends unfriended my parents, my parents don't bother to re-friend them...or something.

Anyway, I wouldn't worry about it. If people are sending you cards, it's just because they like you, not because they expect you to reciprocate.
posted by JuliaIglesias at 10:18 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Always a nice idea to send out Shana Tova cards to everyone who sends out Christmas cards. I'd hope/assume it's appreciated.
posted by namesarehard at 10:41 PM on December 10, 2012


I'm also an atheist with a Christmas tree. I was raised Catholic; my parents do not and have never sent Christmas cards.

I have been sending Christmas cards for the past dozen years or so (since I turned 30). I don't do it every year, and I only send the to people I don't see regularly in-person. I send a non-religious Christmas card to the people I know celebrate Christmas--regardless of their religion. I don't send Christmas cards to people I know don't celebrate Christmas.

I do try to recognize/send greetings to Muslim friends for the Eids, but that's not a card. I have a friend who used to rib our mutual friend who sent him Hanukkah cards every year by saying "Thanks for the Christmas card," his point being that the whole holiday card thing is totally a Christmas thing, no matter what it says on the front. My Jewish friends all also celebrate (secular) Christmas, so the out-of-towners get a non-dom Christmas card.

In the past I have gotten around the whole thing by sending everyone lunar new year cards--the bonus of which is it's well into January and excellent for procrastinators. I've done Happy (solar) New Year cards, too, but there aren't really cards for that so it's more work.

I don't expect reciprocal cards from anyone, no matter what they celebrate, but I especially don't expect holiday cards from people who don't celebrate the holiday.
posted by looli at 11:20 PM on December 10, 2012


My folks (who are Jewish) send out non-religious holiday cards every year.

They're just sort of happy to get cards in the mail. I don't think they care if it's a 1:1 ratio of card-giving.
posted by topoisomerase at 11:38 PM on December 10, 2012


I think cards are coming back - I stopped doing them for a while, but I'm back in, and so are a lot of people I know. I think it's because we all remembered that getting actual mail is A DELIGHT.

My cards are of the HAPPY HOLIDAYS variety, I send them to friends regardless of their religious affiliation (all my friends are christian, Jewish, or both. Or agnostic) and don't expect to get any in return. But am delighted when I do. Cards are festive!
posted by Countess Sandwich at 11:38 PM on December 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was raised Jewish, am an atheist, and celebrate THE SHIT out of Christmas. Because it's pretty much the best holiday ever, and because a lot of the old stuff is recycled paganism converted into a secular holiday and a lot of the best newer stuff was created by Jews (samples: White Christmas, the Christmas Song, and, of course, Dorothy Parker helping to script It's a Wonderful Life.)

So, yes, I send out Christmas cards. This year me and my girlfriend sent out cards of us standing in front of a giant Christmas tree that the girlfriend had converted into a coloring book illustration. Do you want to send one to your mother? my girlfriend asked. Hell no, I said, it will just confuse and upset her.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:10 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm an atheist with a Christmas tree, and I send holiday cards to friends and family irrespective of their religious beliefs or lack thereof. I pick them out specifically for each recipient, and write a personal message. It's a fun tradition and a way to Let people know I'm thinking of them.

I will admit that if I'm short on time or funds I only send holiday cards to the people zI know find them especially meaningful, though.
posted by rhiannonstone at 1:46 AM on December 11, 2012


I send out Rosh Hashana cards to people who celebrate it. Since Hanukkah is not Jewish Christmas, I don't send out cards for it. I neither ask for nor expect to receive Christmas cards, but some nonetheless manage to sneak by every year. I don't feel any more obligated to reciprocate than I would receiving anything else that I didn't ask for and don't particularly want.
posted by 1adam12 at 2:40 AM on December 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Agnostic raised conservative Jewish by one parent who was raised orthodox and another who wasn't. Not observant now.

When I send out cards at the end of the year, they are holiday cards. I wish people celebrating Christmas a Merry Christmas and people celebrating Hannukah a Happy Hannukah, and people not celebrating either or those a Happy New Years, Happy Solstice or a generic Happy Holidays. I feel like you should wish people a happy whateverholidaythey'recelebrating, sort of like wishing someone a Happy Birthday because that's what that person is celebrating. If you're not sure what they're celebrating, go with Happy Holidays - although an atheist is probably only celebrating one holiday, New Years.

Cards are chosen to not associate with any of the religions - no trees, stars, red/green colorway, overt religious symbols (menorah, creche, etc). It is quite difficult to find these cards partially because I refuse to get cards that say "Let it Snow!" because I'm sort of sick of them. I think that the greeting card industry is really missing the boat here - I have a great deal of trouble finding cards and I can't be the only one in this position. Even when I try Etsy, it is full of red&green, pine trees, stars, tree ornaments and so on.

I agree with the other responses that Hanukkah is not Jewish Christmas - I don't have an expectation of getting cards from Jewish people then, but I also don't think that it is inappropriate to send or receive cards then. There have been years when I've considered sending New Years cards just to avoid the whole "Happy Holidays"

I know growing up, it was slightly annoying to get Christmas cards - it felt inconsiderate. I understand that people I know less well might not know that I'm Jewish (I don't have an obviously Jewish last name and I guess I don't look stereotypically Jewish either), but it starts to feel like junk mail at that point too.

I'm now married to someone who celebrates Christmas and we're going to send out cards this year. I went and got a bunch of stuff at Papersource that isn't red/green or xmas-associated at all. Just random patterns. It took a while. Now I just have to get them written before Hanukkah ends!
posted by sciencegeek at 3:32 AM on December 11, 2012


Hi, Xmas celebrator here. If I send a non xmas celebrating person a card/gift, I send one of the peace, joy, happy new year variety. I do not expect anything in return. In fact, people who send cards to Xmas celebrators don't automatically expect cards from them either. It's very much a tiny minority of people who send cards. I'm in a very Christian area with primarily Christian friends and family and I get less than a dozen. Pre-Internet my family probably got about 100. Don't sweat it.
posted by murfed13 at 4:19 AM on December 11, 2012


My family is Jewish, my parents don't get a tree, my mom would never ever send a Christmas card, though we do celebrate Christmas with some of my dad's relatives.

My mom (well, my parents, but my mom is in charge) sometimes send an end-of-the-year newsletter or Happy New Year - type cards. It is not clear to me whether this is because she prefers to send a Happy New Year / end of year type card, or because she is trying to send a Happy Holidays card and doesn't get around to it until later in the year than intended. Either way, it works well.

It has never occurred to me that some people might view Christmas / holiday cards as a 1:1 thing. I though some people sent them out to everyone, and some people sent them to no one, and it just - never occurred to me that whether I sent a card might have something to do with whether someone sent me one. Food for thought!
posted by insectosaurus at 5:11 AM on December 11, 2012


I always remember it as sort of a competitive list ("oh no! We just got a card from Joe, and we took him off the list last year when he hadn't sent us a card for three years straight! Quick, where are the stamps?") I'm not sure where I got that, because sending/receiving cards wasn't a big thing in my family of origin. Maybe friends in my twenties?

But I also admit to having purposely avoided sending out cards for the last decade, because they stress me out. Getting or giving. Where do I put them? I have no mantel and a non-magnetic fridge. Fortunately, at this point we are down to about a half dozen cards every year. If it helps, the only one we've gotten so far says "Happy Everything!" and the kids were delighted to open it.

I am otherwise not Scrooge-like at all, and will happily put up a tree, spend hours looking for gifts, or baking cookies. It's just the cards that get to me.
posted by instamatic at 5:25 AM on December 11, 2012


Fellow non-observant Jew here. I'm in an inter-faith marriage and I'm kind of a buffet religion afficianado. So I've got to cover Christmas, Channukah, Yule, Tet, Dwalli, and whatever else you got.

This year I got cards that said BEST YEAR EVAH! Even better, I could put 8 pictures on it and have them printed out at CVS. So 6 cat pics and one each of Husbunny and I and we're golden.

I'll take whatever greeting you've got! I wish other people a Merry Christmas. Why not?

I had a Channukah party with a latke bar (and a viewing of Junior Eurovision Song Contest, but that was the entertainment). I light the menorah, I told the story, we at our faces off and had a great time.

I do all of this because I like to. I enjoy it. It's not a chore for me, it's fun.

Don't do ANYTHING out of a feeling of obligation. Do it because you want to.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:04 AM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't celebrate Christmas, but many of my friends and family do. I'm pleased to receive greetings, especially if they aren't entirely generic, and like you, I wonder if I'm offending folks by not reciprocating. So far, no one's mentioned anything. It seems like most people expect nothing in return; it's just part of their own celebration.

I like the idea of using Christmas cards as a way to say hello to of all one's far-flung people, but I never get around to it, partly because I'm uncomfortable using what is not my holiday to do such a thing. (But mostly because I'm too overwhelmed with regular life to bother.) One year I sent New Year greeting postcards. For the past few years, I've thought about sending cards at a different holiday, maybe the Romanian Mărțișor (marking the beginning of spring), or May Day, or.... Anyway, I think cards are a nice gesture, but you're fine sending cards or not. Surely your friends don't intend to give you the gift of social stress.

Happy Hanukkah!
posted by strivesc at 6:05 AM on December 11, 2012


"so and so is Muslim/Jewish etc, of course they don't send holiday cards!"
Yes. We send out non-religious Christmas cards every year because I enjoy picking out a card & sending a short note to our friends who are scattered all over. We never expect to get ones back from anyone, but it's of course always marvelous to get a card, email, text message, letter, whatever back from folks we send them to.
posted by lyra4 at 6:45 AM on December 11, 2012


When I worked in manufacturing, many of my coworkers were Buddhists and Hindus. I cheerfully sent and received non denominational (Peace and Joy) cards. We send the same to our Jewish friends and receive similar ones from them.
Many of my former coworkers regarded sending cards as a form of networking, as well as sending good wishes. In this they are emulating many good Christian Amurricans.
posted by pentagoet at 7:01 AM on December 11, 2012


Mr. Ant and I are non-Christmasy atheists. We send nonreligious holiday cards on behalf of our business and we give bonuses to people who help us through the year (the yard guy, housekeeper, newspaper delivery man, etc.) We don't send personal holiday cards, though.
posted by workerant at 8:34 AM on December 11, 2012


I'm a mid-30s non-theistic Christmas celebrator. I love making and sending out Christmas/holiday cards to my out-of-town friends and family, regardless of their own religious background. I make my cards appropriate to the recipient, but I don't leave friends off my list if they're not Christmas celebrants; New Year's happens for all of us. It's not, however, something I have the time and/or money to do every year.

I love getting cards from folks, but have noticed that in my cohort, it's really only the folks who have settled down and had kids (a small minority) who send them out with any regularity (perhaps because it's a perfect opportunity to share adorable kid photos?). And I don't ever expect to receive cards from anyone. It's lovely if I get them, but I'm don't send them with a quid pro quo mindset.
posted by amelioration at 9:00 AM on December 11, 2012


Oh, I should also point out that I often use Christmas cards as a way to reconnect with friends I've lost touch with. Somehow, I feel like sending a Christmas card to someone with my email address included is less invasive than a Facebook friend request, if we've been out of touch for a few years. I also think it shows a bit more effort/sincerity about truly reconnecting, rather than simple voyeuristic curiosity.
posted by amelioration at 9:04 AM on December 11, 2012


I like getting a card with content (photos, a few updates) as a way to keep in touch, but (a) hate those that involve a card + signature and nothing personal (why bother?), and (b) don't really care about the holiday content in itself.

We *are* holiday-celebrators, but are also completely incapable of getting our acts together on any regular basis (let alone anually in advance of a crowded season on a yearly basis), so we send something out every 16-18 months at a random time of year, and our friends are amused. It's more about kid photos and wry comments on our bumbling lives than about any holiday -- I don't think I'd do anything if it was going to be gilded Christmas cards!

Some people keep lists, which are at least partially based on getting something back (this often goes with sending low-content cards or including a lot of professional contacts), but lots just use it as a way to keep in touch, to say Not Dead Yet to people they like but don't talk to as much as they wish they did. So, I think you can enjoy the ones you get guilt-free, but you should also feel free to send something out whenever you have news, a cute photo to share, or just the urge to make contact. And if not, there's no "should" in 2012, unless you live in a small town with very rigid social expectations (and then I don't think you'd need to ask!)...
posted by acm at 10:03 AM on December 11, 2012


Some of the Jewish members of my family send out holidays cards with pictures of their kids around this time. I didn't grow up in a christmas-card culture either so it never even really occurred to me that I should keep a list and feel guilty for not reciprocating for not sending out cards.
posted by inertia at 11:30 AM on December 11, 2012


I'm an atheist who lives with a person who was raised Christian and a person who was raised Pagan and Muslim. Their girlfriends are raised atheist/Christian and Jewish, respectively. None of us send cards. Those of us that give gifts do not expect any in return.
posted by buteo at 2:14 PM on December 11, 2012


I am not really religious at all, and have a lot of friends of different faiths. I either send out generic holiday cards that say something like "Peace" on them early in December, or cards that say "Happy New Year!" on them late in December. I also send out cards with no expectation of getting any in return. I am like a card stalker. I will send you a card even if you didn't send me one last year, and you can't stop me!
posted by batonthefueltank at 7:00 AM on December 12, 2012


Christmas-celebrating lapsed Catholic here who counts atheists, pagans, Jews, and "I was almost a priest", and then some, among her friends.

I think I got, like, three cards last year and one was from a doctor. I only sent two, and one of those was because one of my friends is a pen pal (like, the old-school kind of pen pal).

People don't really pay much attention to whether they do or don't get cards in an even exchange from people (or, at least, the ones who do are snooty). I'm sending a few more this year, but they're never overtly religious and usually are goofy. The most "religious" I get is that I make a point of sending one of my Jewish friends a Hannukkah card because the first time I ever did he told me he was impressed that I did that. But by the same token - his mother sends ME a Passover card every year, and I am always touched by that even though I wasn't raised Jewish.

Cards aren't as HUGE a deal as they have been in the past, and most people don't expect an even-exchange tit-for-tat kind of thing. I send 'em if I think of it, and I'm not vexed if I don't get one back. I chalk it up to this being a busy time of year and it's a wonder we can all get our asses out of bed let alone pick out cards, hand-write them and mail them, and don't think religion has anything to do with it at all.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:17 PM on December 14, 2012


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