As most of my dear readers know, I am not Christian. I was a practicing Muslim for a while and now I’m in the process of converting to Judaism. Despite not being a Christian, I still like sending holiday cards during the holiday season. I send cards to all my friends and family, which I have friends from all walks of life.
I never really thought that people would think me sending cards during the holiday season would be seen as a Christian only thing. I’m giving one of my friends a card and I surprised him, “Wow! When I was younger, our Christian friends would give us cards, but we always thought it was a Christian thing.”
I decided to Google this phenomenon and that’s how I found the comic above. It seems like many Orthodox Jewish, Muslim, non-Christian religions DO NOT send cards. However, many moderate to liberal Jewish, Muslim, non-Christians do, and LOVE sending cards. They also LOVE to receive cards.
I’m in that camp. I love sending cards and receiving cards. I’m sentimental and I like scrapbooking the cards I receive, especially if it is acknowledged that I celebrate Hanukkah. I also love receiving physical cards and letters; I think there’s something more personal and loving about the gesture.
To be honest, I never really sent out cards during the holidays when I still celebrated Christmas. This became a thing after 7 November 2013, when I wasn’t doing so well, was extremely depressed, and was coping with the aftermath of trauma. My cards are year in reviews, with general holiday greetings. I normally sent a newsletter and would customize holiday greetings to the recipient. I sent around cards not to be narcissistic, but I wanted to show others that are near and dear that I’m doing okay. While my trauma changed me, I’m doing okay – I survived and I’m thriving. Also, sending cards became part therapy for me.
This year I created “My Top 10 of 2021” with season’s greetings, love Jessica. I’m going to handwrite letters; and send them around Hanukkah. I’ll probably send the few Jewish ones I’m sending via mail a week before Hanukkah, but for the friends I will see in person, I’ll hand them the cards with the letter.
Part of my resolution for Rosh Hashanah was not to put so much anxiety into what others think about me. I am me and I am practicing my Judaism. The library has a book called “My Isl@m” and I have “My Jud@ism” (maybe I should turn that into a book… hey, why not?). During a service this past week, my Rabbi told all of us that our mitzvahs come from our hearts, and we are not perfect beings. We try our best, even if it is celebrating customs in our own special ways.
He was talking about lighting Shabbat candles way after the time specified, especially if waiting for friends and family. His argument was Shabbat begins when friends and family are together.
But I can argue the same thing about holidays. In my case, I live in a multi-faith family and while Christmas isn’t a religious holiday for me (never was because I was always in a multi-faith family), it’s a time for family. There are a few things I enjoy about Christmas – I love the Grinch and I love watching the original “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” I also love singing some Christmas carols. I remember singing Christmas carols and Hanukkah songs as a child, then both in German when I was studying German in high school. I still love doing both as an adult.
One of my really close friends told me that my faith is mine and the way I practice it is the way I practice it. He told me to ignore negative voices and just keep on being myself. Even if it is non-traditional. Heck, I know many multi-faith families that do the same things I do. Heck, I also know full Jewish and full Muslim families who celebrate Christmas. They don’t celebrate the religious aspect (obviously), they love exchanging gifts and the togetherness of the season. Christmas is cultural to America, Canada, and the UK. It can be secular too.
I will be sending out holiday cards this year. I’m not going to stress negative voices because my friends and family enjoy the cards and letters I send them. The whole reason behind the holiday season is good cheer and kindness. I like to think my cards and letters bring both those things to the world, in abundance.
I also sent out Halloween cards. I love Halloween. Halloween and Purim are my holidays. My Judaism is special to me, just as everyone’s beliefs are special to them.
One thought on “Sending holiday cards during Christmas, Even if you aren’t Christian”
Hi, Jessica Marie!
I agree with you that faith and religious expression are a very personal things. As long as we are all on the same page, making the holidays about family togetherness, helping to promote peace and spread love and goodwill, it makes no difference how we choose to practice our faith. If it brings you joy to give and receive greeting cards, while at the same time bringing joy to the recipients of your cards, then no one should fault you. It’s who you are. You are a kind soul. If you choose to practice other traditions of Christianity like caroling and watching Christmas movies, it is your right to do so.
Like you I studied German in high school and also at college. I remember singing “O Tannenbaum” in high school chorus and when I used to go out caroling with my folks in their later years when they lived in a retirement community here in Florida.
Enjoy the rest of your week, dear friend JM!