Author Topic: Returned Christmas card  (Read 7032 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

SkylerY

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1694
  • I love my rat terrier!
Returned Christmas card
« on: December 13, 2006, 10:11:17 AM »
I just heard this shocker (at least to me) from an aquaintance:

"I gave christmas cards to my co-workers - about 30 or so. One professor SENT IT BACK TO ME & wrote on it "Wife & I do not do Christmas cards; but it was sweet of you to think of us. - Merry Christmas. " and the envelope that I had written his name on, he crossed out his name & put my name on it."

She laughed it off, but was wondering if anybody else had experienced this.  She was curious about what the common protocol was for athiests/Non-Christian/non-Christmas-card-participators, what do they normally do when they receive Christmas cards?  Is it really offensive to send such a person a card, even if you didn't know that about them?  Shouldn't have they just quietly accepted the card and just not reciprocate?

~ Cristen

Chocolate Cake

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5138
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2006, 11:12:22 AM »
Shouldn't have they just quietly accepted the card and just not reciprocate?

Yes.  That professor was rude.   If they don't "do" Christmas cards, fine, don't send any.  But to give back one that they receive from others is incredibly rude....not to mention strange and anti-social.  What does he do with cards he receives in the mail?  Write "return to sender" and throw them back in the mailbox? 
« Last Edit: December 13, 2006, 11:49:02 AM by Chocolate Cake »

dawbs

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4472
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2006, 11:15:33 AM »
I'm going with "he should have accepted it graciously and it was thoughtless and rude to respond as he did"

The only reason I can think of to be this vehement about it would be belonging to a relgion that "objects" to holidays...and if that were the case, he wouldn't have written "Merry Christmas" on the returned card.

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28769
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2006, 11:45:30 AM »
It sounds like the professor and "wife" just don't "do the card thing". Perhaps he really believed that returning the card this way was more polite than simply not sending back any card at all. Sometimes the smartest people can be the most clueless.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

IndianInlaw

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8887
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2006, 11:47:41 AM »
Maybe he's a heavy duty environmentalist and wants to save a tree.

It sounds like he's an absent minded professor or some eccentric.

CoryanderX

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 98
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2006, 11:57:10 AM »
That professor was a jerk, but he might be one of those people who's very literal-minded and doesn't understand that there are emotional connotations in returning something to the sender, even though it might logically make sense to just send it back if you don't want it. In other words, the kind of person who doesn't understand the idea of etiquette.

Personally, several of my good friends are Jewish (or Muslim, or atheist), so I just buy cards that don't specifically reference Christmas and just wish them a happy holiday season or whatever. And none of my friends who do celebrate Christmas are insane, so I don't get yelled at for acknowledging that theirs is not the only legitimate holiday.

HogwartsAlum

  • Guest
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2006, 12:42:45 PM »
That's weird. 

I stopped sending Christmas cards several years ago.  I had sent out dozens to all kinds of people and for two or three years, hadn't heard back from any of them.  It became just a huge waste of postage, as I didn't even know if they were getting them.  And after my ex and I broke up, I didn't have to send cards to HIS friends.  My friends now and family know I don't send them and they know why.

When I get a card, I put it up but I don't feel any need to reciprocate.  If I get a chance, I thank the giver.  But I would NEVER send it back.  If I didn't want it, I'd just pitch it and thank them anyway. 

(I do put cards in my neighbors' mailboxes - they are older people and always give me one. And they are very helpful and watch my house when I'm gone and stuff.  But that's it.)

Belle

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 669
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2006, 12:57:28 PM »
That's pretty darn funny. Here's my take, as both an atheist and an academic.

1) I send out Christmas and holiday cards.  When sending cards to non-Christians (in my case, atheist and Jewish friends), I send cards that only refer to the holidays, rather than Christmas specifically. I think the cards are simply a nice way to keep in touch and remind people that you're thinking of them. However, even if I didn't celebrate Christmas, I wouldn't send the card back! I would just quietly toss it in the trash.

2) There are lots of quirky people in academia. I think the professor might qualify!

thebadchemist

  • Guest
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2006, 12:59:11 PM »
Um, atheist and lousy correspondent here. I don't do Christmas cards for two reasons. The first is obvious. The other is that I am the absolute worst at keeping in touch. Emails, e-cards, and thank-you notes are definitely the best I generally do. I call good friends to wish them a happy (I change the greeting based on what I know of their beliefs) holiday season, but my lazy streak generally affects card-sending.

With that said, since Cristen's friend asked about common protocol... I can't speak for all atheists or all lousy correspondents, but I say thanks with a smile. I'm glad they thought of me.

Adah

  • Guest
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2006, 01:49:35 PM »
Apparently your professor missed the life lesson on, "It's the thought that counts." Just chock it up to an eccentric professor -- there are a lot of them.


HorseFreak

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2814
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2006, 02:53:00 PM »
My entire immediate family is atheist. We have a Christmas tree, stockings, the whole bit except for the religious parts. We often send and receive Christmas cards and it doesn't bother us one bit. I always knew what the holiday was about from a little kid, but it never phased me. I could never imagine SENDING BACK a card! I get religious cards from relatives for my birthday and whatnot and it doesn't bother me so I don't see why people get so worked up over a little piece of stiff paper that they can toss in the garbage.

For the record, we also "do" Easter, but I didn't understand the significance of that one until college.

Eleanorq

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 322
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2006, 03:46:26 PM »
That's a great story.  I might treasure that returned card for a lot longer than a normal one, just as a conversation piece.  As a Christmas celebrating non-greeting card participator, I usually just think "oh, how nice of her/him/them/it", then throw the thing away.  If it's from someone I haven't heard from in a while, I might call them and thank them.

That professor was a jerk, but he might be one of those people who's very literal-minded and doesn't understand that there are emotional connotations in returning something to the sender, even though it might logically make sense to just send it back if you don't want it. In other words, the kind of person who doesn't understand the idea of etiquette.

I don't know the man, so he may be a jerk, but it's possible he's not.  I'm pretty literal minded myself, and I can assure you, I do understant the idea of etiquette.  It's the mechanics of etiquette that often escape me.  The idea of etiquette is that other people have feelings and priorities and lives, and that I shouldn't live my life without taking those into account.  It's just sometimes very hard for me to figure out what someone's emotional reaction to something will be, because it very often isn't at all what mine would be.  That's why I haunt this forum.

Mr. Professor's thought process may have gone something like this:

Look!  Something from co-worker, what could it be?  Oh...a Christmas card, I've heard of these.  Why in the world did she send me this?  Am I supposed to send her one?  Is she expecting it?  I didn't know we we so close.  Will she be hurt or offended if I don't?  I don't want to hurt her feelings.  I know!  I'll send it back with a polite note, thanking her for thinking about us.  Then she'll know I don't hate her, and I'll save her the time and expense of doing Christmas cards for us in the future.  A perfect plan!

And then he sent it back, probably before his wife got wind of the plan and stopped him.

« Last Edit: December 13, 2006, 05:01:37 PM by Eleanorq »

platys

  • Guest
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2006, 04:42:08 PM »
Yeah, that sounds EXACTLY like my ex-bf, who I"m convinced has ausberger syndrome.  (Which I have horrifically mispelled, I bet.)  He was also a professor, and didn't realize it was a problem to walk around with  a giant hole in the butt of his pants, because after all, the lining from his pocket covered up most of his exposed butt. 

thebadchemist

  • Guest
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2006, 05:31:06 PM »
Yeah, that sounds EXACTLY like my ex-bf, who I"m convinced has ausberger syndrome.  (Which I have horrifically mispelled, I bet.)  He was also a professor, and didn't realize it was a problem to walk around with  a giant hole in the butt of his pants, because after all, the lining from his pocket covered up most of his exposed butt. 

Waaaaait... what about underwear? Or is that another matter entirely?

ZipTheWonder

  • Guest
Re: Returned Christmas card
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2006, 06:24:53 PM »
What a buffoon!

The "common protocol" in this situation (when you don't "do" Christmas cards) is to open the card, read the greeting, momentarily appreciate the sentiment, and then throw it away.

I'd probably save it (unopened) for the next year and send it inside a second envelope with a note that says "I liked your idea of not sending cards so much that the wife and I are doing the same thing ourselves now!"