Ever buy one of those bargain boxes full of Christmas cards with matching envelopes? Convenient, aren’t they? And cheap! A card for each person in the office. They won’t know they came from a box. Done and dusted. But ever wish you opened that box and read them before buying? I wish I had!
One Christmas, I bought a box of what I assumed where nice cards, ideal for colleagues at the school I worked at. The pictures looked promising; snow, deer, sleighs, poinsettias, trees, chimneys – that sort of stuff. Nothing too saccharine. I opened the box. The first few cards were spot on. I was planning who to give them to. Good fun, really. But then I noticed a disturbing trend. As I got further into the box, cards started to jump out; they just didn’t belong. They were pushy – too pushy – and they all featured the same word – love.
Let’s get down to brass tacks. I was reluctant to give a card that used the word “love” in any way, shape or form. For example, “With love on Christmas”, “Festive greetings, sent with love” or “Sending you and your family love this Christmas”. Love? Seemed a bit strong, don’t you think? I didn’t love them. These were people I worked with! I couldn’t give a young woman a card with “love” in it! Maybe “fond”. For example, “Sending you my fond wishes this Christmas” or “I am emotionally neutral towards you, but still hope you and your family have a good Christmas and that we can continue our professional working relationship upon our return in the New Year.” I recall what happened next.
I ran all this by a co-worker. She said I was overreacting. I didn’t know what to do. I was fully committed – in too deep. I bought the box and already used half of it. Now I had a pile of orphan cards I’d probably never use, unless I fell in love with several co-workers – over the next few years. What to do? Maybe my co-worker was right. I should have stop worrying; it was silly. I was over-thinking things. I needed to give those orphans a home at Christmas. What could go wrong?
For the record: in the future, if you’re the janitor and I give you one of those cards, please don’t leave your wife.