General Etiquette > Holidays

Christmas Card Deadlines

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BG (A bit long): My sister, my parents and I all live in separate countries. A few weeks before Christmas, my sister had a good friend "Kelly" come visit her. Sister was happy to see Kelly but felt that she required a lot of babysitting (not wanting to go anywhere alone, even to the store or a bus stop), Sister took Kelly Christmas shopping instead of studying etc. When Kelly was leaving to go back to the US, she offered to bring Sister's Christmas cards to our parents. Sister was relieved because it would save her time and money, but she double checked with Kelly to "make sure it wasn't a problem". Kelly lives about a 20 minute drive from our parents, and she said she was planning on going to visit them anyway, she went back home about 10 days before Christmas.
Sister went back to studying for finals and was busy but started to get concerned when more than a week passed and she hadn't heard anything about the cards from our parents. She messaged Kelly asking about the status of the cards. Kelly responded that she "hadn't gotten around to visiting them". The next day Sister reminded Kelly about the cards. The day after Christmas I spoke with my mom and she was extremely upset that my sister hadn't called or sent a card, which surprised me. Later, Sister tried to explain to my mom that Kelly had the cards but my mom was already upset at that point. When Sister spoke to Kelly, Kelly insisted that she didn't have time and that it was really Sister's fault for not specifying that the Christmas cards needed to be there before Christmas day... wait, what? And then she stopped responding to Sisters messages and was mad that Sister had "made her feel bad".
I think that is ridiculous, why wouldn't she send them BY Christmas? But apparently Sister and Kelly's mutual friend also thinks that "it wasn't clear when the cards needed to arrive". I feel like the cards really should have been there by Christmas, and if she didn't have time she could have mailed them, there are mailboxes everywhere and it was only two cards.
The friend and Kelly both even went as far as to say "It's not like a birthday card, it doesn't have to be there by Christmas, you really should have specified that".
Random but important: Sister was spending Christmas in a place without internet or international calling.

So what do people think? Do Christmas cards need to arrive before Christmas, or should Sister have clearly stated when the cards needed to arrive?

Kelly and her friend are idiots.  Christmas cards should arrive by Christmas, or at least be post marked.  I have received some after, but usually it was due to the backlog of mail.

If it were me, I would flat out ask her if she had underestimated the amount of studying/preparing/whatever she was busy with around Christmas, and had been hit by an inability to get anything done, and was now too embarrassed to admit it. But then, I'm a very blunt person. ;)

Incidentally, I happened to be the organizer of a Christmas card exchange for another forum I frequent two years in a row now, and from this perspective I can positively confirm that lots of cards do get sent late. This is true even when the person sending it desperately wants it to arrive in time - what can you do, people (especially us younger ones) are procrestinators, many have unrealistic expectations of how much they can do or handle in a specific time frame, and exams are often very close to Christmas.
It's not an excuse, just an attempt of an explanation. I think that if the receiver of a card knows it's going to be late, or if they don't expect a card to begin with, late cards are perfectly okay - but only if you are the sender and writer. To send somebody else's cards out late is... I'm searching for the right words... let's say, a bad favor. I'm not sure I would call it rude per se, because it might not have happened deliberately, but it's not something I would appreciate. I think Kelly owes you an honest apology.

I can see both sides here. First, I have to say that your mom was (a) wrong to vent to you about this, (b) a bit excessive to be annoyed when your sister's greetings didn't arrive, and (c) especially wrong where she wouldn't listen to reason (particularly if she knew your sister's circumstances about not being able to call).

Your sister's friend probably should have delivered the card before Christmas, but your sister definitely should have spelled it out for her, too.

I receive Christmas cards before and after the holiday every single year. I don't judge people for the date, or think they're inconsiderate. I don't think every family views Christmas cards as quite the serious business your family seems to. It just isn't a universal truth, and expecting the friend to take on a specific task in the week and a half before Christmas, after returning from international travel, without telling her as much, seems demanding.

Mostly, I think your sister should quit bugging her friend about something that's now long past. Hopefully she and your mother have made amends, too.

It was clearly a Christmas card. Friend clearly said she would deliver it. I think Friend knows how badly she messed up, which is why she is so defensive, and pulling mutual friend into it.
Kelly LIED when she said she would deliver Christmas card.
Hopefully sis now knows just how much to trust her to do anything in future.
Yes, Friend could have put cards in mail box.
Friend could have been profusely apologetic.
The failure to deliver cards AND the defensiveness, trying to ” blame the victim”, with the victim being your sister, together is enough that I hope your sister is distancing herself from this ”friend”.


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