Thursday, November 25, 2010

Christmas and penpalling

Christmas is coming with big steps. The TV started emitting Christmas commercials and there are Christmas decoration in shops. Time to start thinking about Christmas cards or gifts for penpals. But, the truth is I feel a bit lost here. Before I met my current penpals in Interpals, I was only sending a card to my old penpal. Now, not all of my penpals celebrate Christmas. Should I then send them a card or gift or omit them? And what with others? I am scared of, what if I send something small and get something big myself? Then my penpal might be disappointed? And what if I send something and don’t get anything? Then my penpal might feel ashamed or bad? I was a bit lost with that case last year, and this year I still don’t know what to do. Do you usually send Christmas gifts or just wishes or nothing?


  1. Hmmmmm interesting point °.°!
    I have not sent gifts or cards last year because I was begining to know my penpals. This year I think I'll send something to one or two of them. Only penpals who are most active and write frequently. It would be nice if they send me something, but if they don't, no problem (anyway I can't send big stuff because I don't have much money TnT).

    About your penpals who don't celebrate Christmas, maybe a card would be enough. Even so it's a tradition that you'd like to share with them, right? ;)

    If you send something small and get something big, then you can send something big next year hehehe. If you don't get anything... hmmmm, you could choose not to send anything next year O_o.

    I think all depends on the reactions of your penpals. But if you want to send something, go ahead. I think no one of your penpals will be disappointed because it's always nice to receive a card or gift from a good friend at Christmas, whether small or big ;)

  2. I was getting to know my penpals last year too so I sent some wishes only. In the past I only was exchanging holiday cards with my Polish penpal. So I'm kind of new to it. That's why I need clues, what do people usually do :)

    As for people not celebrating Christmas, I also thought about sending a card but then in one blog I read that a girl felt offended with it, because she didn't celebrate it:S I wouldn't be offended if I got some wishes for some unknown by me holiday, because I think I would be curious about it and it's nice to get wishes any time. On the other hand I wonder if it would be fine to wish someone Merry Holidays when they have to work during that time for example :P

    I also don't want anyone to feel abandoned or obligated to send me anything. Hah, what a dilemma.

    Thanks for suggestions:) They're helpful.

  3. I used to send things regardless of whether they sent anything or not but then I found that many people only write to you around birthdays and Christmas which then took my pleasure out of buying things... this mainly happened to me when I used to swap FBs. Now I wait a year before sending anything but alot of my pen-friends have bought the topic up themselves and many have said that they don't want Christmas presents as they can't be bothered shopping around that time and already have a lot of people to buy for.... So maybe its worth asking them from now on what your pen-friends think.

  4. I don't have any new penpals and those who I have write between Birthdays and Christmas too:P So there's no "gift seekers" around them:P I thought about asking them personally but I didn't want to sound like I'm claiming a gift. Oh well, maybe I worry too much about that:)

    Anyway, besides getting advice it's nice to hear others experiences. Thank you for taking the floor :)

  5. I exchange Christmas parcels with two of my closest penpals and with some other close pals I exchange some small gifts like stationary, stickers and chocolate. :) Nothing very expensive! I wouldn't mind not receiving anything in return, though.
    My other penpals receive Christmas cards with best wishes. However, I wouldn't send a card to someone who doesn't celebrate it. I mean, it would feel strange for me to receive a card wishing a nice Ramadan or Hanukkah as well. ;) Instead I would just write about my personal traditions related to the holidays in the letter to share it with my penpal.

  6. Hmm, yes, that would be weird :) On the other hand I never saw a Ramadan or Hanukkah card so it would be interesting to me, although the wishes would be pointless if I don't celebrate it after all:P I thought such small gifts like you mentioned would be the best. Thank you for comment:)

  7. Well I don't celebrate Christmas but I still like receiving cards and gifts as it feels like I'm part of their lives and taking part in the event :). If someone sent me a card for their religious festival I would feel really honoured that they wanted to include me in their festival and I wouldn't turn my nose up at the fact that I didn't celebrate it. I sometimes think its worth accepting such offerings in return for people accepting your religion. I haven't ever sent an Eid card though as I know many people are wary of Islam anyway due to all the media hype on terrorists etc... and would probably feel I'm pushing my religion on to them with just a simple card.... people can be strange about such things.

  8. Well, I think normally a person should see the difference between converting and sharing happy moments in life and the culture. I think the card with a description of holiday would be nice, no matter the religion. But then there's this thought that someone might react badly for it... But as people send Christmas cards, why feel afraid of sending Eid cards? If someone couldn't accept your religion, they wouldn't write to you in the first place. I don't see the connection between sending cards and converting but I am aware there might be people who wouldn't like that...

  9. When I first joined Interpals I wrote to someone when Ramadan started, I told her a bit about it in my first letter thinking she'd wonder what on earth I'm on about. In her 2nd letter to me she told me not to write about my religion, we wrote a few letters after that but my heart wasn't in it anymore so I told her I didn't want to write anymore. She said she'd felt uncomfortable with the friendship... I just found it so weird as it wasn't like I was telling her to fast etc... and if it was me I'd be so curious. Apart from people who celebrate Christmas and a few ladies who'd converted to Islam by their own choice before me writing to them I haven't had the opportunity to write to people of a different religion.

    I know this was just meant to be a conversation about sending Christmas cards and I've made it into something else :|.

  10. That's pretty weird and closed-minded of her. But then it seems it wasn't a big loss:P I wouldn't bother for someone who wouldn't accept me. I think it's good to know what my penpals believe in and about their celebrations as it's part of their life and culture as religions are part of culture. And there are so many cultures, if we only talked to people from our own, we would stay closed-minded and know nothing of the world.

    I know the topic changed it's direction a bit but it's partly my fault too. And all started with wondering to send or not to send cards to those who don't celebrate Christmas:P But it's a bit connected to what it turned to:)

  11. Wow, what an interesting conversation! I've seen some other blog posts on Christmas gifts and stuff and I was shocked to see that people showed they were offended because they thought the other person presumed that everyone has the same traditions and religion or because they felt pressured... It's weird indeed if some people do think everyone should celebrate Christmas or anything else for that matter, but I also agree about sharing your life with penpals and sharing the joy you feel during a holiday... Once I even got greetings for the Independence Day of Pakistan ^0^ My pal has sent me some video links and I felt there was so much joy indeed that I even felt like singing along and waving the flag myself... Well, maybe someone would think I'm very easy to influence, but I'd rather call it compassionate, huh ^^ As for gifts and cards, I send some along with the letters that I finish writing before Christmas comes, usually rather small stuff, but I don't really think too much about it because sadly Christmas isn't special enough to me and I can spoil my pals any other day as well ^^

  12. Yes, I've seen these posts too, and that's why I started wondering that maybe I shouldn't send cards to those who don't celebrate Christmas (or other holidays). I sent some cards last year on Christmas and Easter but never assumed my penpals to be Christians. I myself am not but big part of my family is and I do celebrate all these events and I treat them as tradition mostly. I tried to avoid religious wishes and just wished happiness and wanted to share my love with them. I never got an answer that I offended anyone but then I read that that might happen in some cases. While I treat it as sharing tradition. Besides, I don't think anyone sending wishes means any offence, maybe some people are too wary about that :S

    Oh, and thank you for letting know what you generally do with "Christmas and penpalling". I am gathering opinions and working on a plan what to do myself :P It seems everyone treats the "gifts issue" similar and noone should get disappointed or feel pressured by getting something. And I think I'll just share love and come up with some universal wishes (politically correct:P).

  13. Dear Aga,

    This year I got exactly the same feeling and worry! I feel great part of my penpals are people I really love and I wished to send something big to all but I can't... after the gift the postage is also expensive, especially to some parts of the globe. I decided better present and bigger will go for Birthdays and in Christmas I'll send something smaller because it is a time to show how much we love people without being spending rivers of money (which always happens), the love and friendship is what matter.

    Plus, I guess you can distinguish who likes to send you more things, or that kind of people who never send nothing... I guess one or the others will keep the same... to people who didn't grow with the Christmas tradition I'll send a card and talk about that.


    Got your lovely letter!

  14. So, it's not only me worrying about that. I hope my post can help others too, then :)
    Thank you for commenting:) I have all the same thoughts.


    That's good news :D

  15. Hi,
    It seems like I'm quite late in here but I still want to share some experiences :)
    I don't celebrate Christmas but I don't mind getting Christmas card. I've got one ever since I started pen palling (abt 12 years ago).
    Asd for Christmas presents, well, last year (2010) I've started a Christmas swap with my pen pal from Japan (she doesn't celebrate it too). Both of us felt it's such a great and fun idea to receive presents at that time of the year. Funny :)
    Anyway, I also got a surprise little present from my pen pal in the UK and I'll make it a point to send her something every Christmas... as long as we're still friends :)