Etiquette Questions, Answered: Holidays and Gifts
Q. I’m Christian. Will I horribly offend my Jewish friends if I send them a Christmas card?
Name withheld by request
A. It’s unlikely that you will horribly offend your Jewish friends unless you send them a holiday ham. As a half-Jew myself, I can say with confidence that Jewish people are not oblivious to the fact that lots of folks celebrate Christmas.
However, what is potentially offensive, not just to Jewish friends but to anyone of a different faith, isn’t the festive greeting—it’s conveying the impression that everybody shares your Christian beliefs. You obviously care about the feelings of your friends who are of different religions. So why not buy a handful of generic holiday cards to mail out? Or if you prefer to stick with your regular Christmas cards (assuming that they are not explicitly religious, but rather of the red-cardinals-in-the-snow type), add a “Happy Holidays” or even a “Happy Hanukkah” to acknowledge the recipient’s faith.
One way or another, do send a holiday greeting. I’m sure that you would hate for your friends to see your card on someone else’s refrigerator and conclude that they had been excluded from the seasonal well-wishing.