Author Topic: Christmas cards/death in family  (Read 5375 times)

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Itza

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Christmas cards/death in family
« on: October 28, 2012, 11:37:40 AM »
Sadly, one of my cousins died in September. She was ill for some time.

Of course, we remember them at Christmas time and send their family a card.

What is the correct protocol for sending a Christmas card to cousin's family. I read somewhere that Christmas cards aren't send to a bereaving family for the year of their loss.

I don't want to ignore them but I want to do the right thing.

Many thanks.




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gramma dishes

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2012, 11:51:09 AM »
...   I read somewhere that Christmas cards aren't send to a bereaving family for the year of their loss.

Wow!  That's a new one on me!  I've never heard of such a thing. 

I'd think that if I were the immediate family of the deceased I'd wonder why suddenly those of us remaining no longer existed in the minds of our friends and relatives at Christmastime.  Was the daughter the only one in our family you cared about?  Was the Christmas card meant only for her and not the rest of us? 

If it is custom, then ???  But I personally think it's offensive to basically pretend the whole remaining family no longer exists!

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2012, 11:57:22 AM »
I send a card but I find one that doesn't say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.  I have a box of cards that say something like 'Wishing you peace' and send those.

The other option is to find a blank card with a winter scene on the outside and write your own message.

But I would definitely send a card.  I know it was appreciated by my friend's Dad to still get cards the year his wife passed away.  And I was incredibly touched to get a card from him.  The envelopes were addressed with computer printed labels and he only signed his name but it was the best card I received all season.
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gramma dishes

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2012, 12:02:16 PM »
I send a card but I find one that doesn't say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.  I have a box of cards that say something like 'Wishing you peace' and send those.

The other option is to find a blank card with a winter scene on the outside and write your own message.

But I would definitely send a card.  I know it was appreciated by my friend's Dad to still get cards the year his wife passed away.  And I was incredibly touched to get a card from him.  The envelopes were addressed with computer printed labels and he only signed his name but it was the best card I received all season.

I really like Outdoor Girl's whole post.  I wholeheartedly agree with everything she said.

Acadianna

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2012, 12:03:55 PM »
If you can find a holiday-themed card without a pre-printed greeting, I'd use that, and write a more personal message, letting the family know you're thinking of them.

If you can't find a blank one, then use one with a "gentler" theme and greeting (peace, winter scene, etc.), and still include the personal messge.

ETA:  I see Outdoor Girl posted the same kind of idea, while I was composing.  Sorry for the duplication!
« Last Edit: October 28, 2012, 12:06:04 PM by Acadianna »

camlan

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2012, 12:28:55 PM »
There used to be set periods of mourning--so many months for an uncle or aunt, longer for a brother or sister, forever (or so it must have seemed) for a husband. During this time, mourning clothes were worn. Those in mourning did not attend parties or other public functions that were simply for pleasure. So you could go to church, but probably not to the ice cream social, even if it was held at the church.

I suspect the tradition of not sending holiday cards stems from that--the bereaved won't be having a big celebration at Christmas and the card might serve to remind them of who they have lost.

But those are very old traditions and not observed any more.

So unless you know that the family doesn't want cards, I'd send one. Not a bright, happy, funny one, but a more subdued one. I think being remembered would outweigh any feelings of grief the card might bring.
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Luci

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2012, 01:45:59 PM »
I always sent them when we supposed to be mourning, so I expected to receive them.

I also don't think there is anything wrong with silly ones - like the cat tangled up in tensil, for instance.

Life didn't stop when the person died, and we can still laugh - as witness people laughing at a funeral sometimes. If you have paid your respects properly in an appropriate tone at the time, you're good. I usually do include a note that we miss the person and are thinking of the mourners, but that is pretty much it.

If you and they are Christian, a religious sentiment is good at this time, too.



Itza

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2012, 02:29:13 PM »
Many thanks for your replies.

I'm so relieved there's no problem me continuing to send a card to cousin's husband and children, particularly this first year.

I do agree with the subdued card so even though I usually buy a box of regular Christmas cards, I'll look our for a specific one for them.

A slight diversion but on the same theme: many years ago when my son was in hospital, we met a woman whose daughter was on the same ward. A couple of years later, we got news the child had died and for a few years after that, the cards we received from her mother would be signed from herself, her husband, her youngest child and the initial of the deceased child in a circle. I figured she wanted to still remember her daughter and I didn't know whether it was the right thing or not, but I mirrored what she did in my card to her as my way of saying I hadn't forgotten her daughter. When she stopped doing it, I stopped, too.




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LadyRedBug

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2012, 08:24:33 PM »
My husband passed away, after a long illness, two weeks ago.  I not only intend to send Christmas/Holiday greetings, I hope to receive them.

You don't mention the age of the cousin, or the circumstances.  I would tailor the card to the situation.  Maybe nothing whimsical, but, if appropriate, religious would be appreciated.  Or, just a note indicating that you recognize this will be a difficult holiday season and that you are thinking of them.

Itza

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2012, 11:10:14 AM »
I'm sorry for your loss LadyRedBug (((hug)))

Cousin was 49. She left behind a husband and two adult children who both still lived at home. Her death wasn't sudden; she was ill for some time. I don't know the exact diagnosis but I'm aware there's certain cards I'll definitely need to steer clear of.




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JoW

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2012, 07:46:56 AM »
A well-stocked card shop like Halmark will have one or two cards suitable for a death or serious illness in the family.  Usually the message in the card is "Thinking of you this holiday season" or "Remembering you in your difficult times". 

Cards like that are not available at Factory Card & Party Outlet or in the card section of WalMart. 

skydive60

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2012, 04:09:51 PM »
My husband passed away in September, 8 weeks ago today. I'd rather get cards that said Merry Christmas or Happy Holiday that to get nothing at all.

*new*mommyagain36

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2012, 12:10:21 PM »
My Dad passed away in 2011 and I had pretty much decided I was not going to send Christmas cards anymore at all.  But, then I found some really pretty "I said a Christmas Prayer for you" cards that were spiritual but not overly religious and I think I may send them.  I agree with posters who have said nothing too "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" but more in the vein of a winter scene, peaceful winter image, even winter birds or flowers.  Also agree that a blank card where you can write a personal message is a nice idea.
A dear friend lost a child right before the holidays one year and was overwhelmed and upset when she received a 'Madonna and Child' card from one of her "friends."  I really seemed in such poor taste to send to a grieving mother.  I say that to say, I think it is a nice gesture to send a card but be thoughtful of what type of card.
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Thipu1

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Re: Christmas cards/death in family
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2012, 05:35:44 PM »
In my experience, the family of a recently dead person may not choose to send Holiday cards.  That doesn't mean that others shouldn't send cards to them. 

Jokey cards are not a good idea.  The cards sent should be subdued.  'Sending a Message of Love for the Season' works well.  As other posters have suggested, a blank card with a winter scene and a personal note is just fine. 

When someone dies, the family is often surrounded with well-wishers.  A month or so later, that support often drifts away.  A card at the Holidays can be a reminder that the family is still thought of and wished well. 

I would have no problem sending a sensitive, respectful card to a family which has recently lost a member.