My friend doesn’t celebrate Christmas. When we were small, she told me all about her beliefs as a Jew. Why her family didn’t put up a tree; why Santa never came to her house. I always felt bad because I wanted to give her a gift but felt as if the gift wouldn’t be accepted. I know that in the Jewish tradition gifts are given but I figured because I wasn’t Jewish I shouldn’t cross the line. Now, I wonder if I’ve made a mistake. My friend and I still correspond—she lives in Texas now—and I would just like her to know how much her friendship has meant to me through the years. Should I send her a Christmas gift? I don’t want to offend her.
In the Christmas spirit
I think when we worry about offending someone, it’s often because we are uncomfortable with the situation and feel awkward about reaching out. Understandably, when we’ve had a friend for many years the last thing we want to do is offend and chance severing our long-standing friendship, but at the same time our friendship may be just the very reason we want to give a gift.
Just recently, I talked with a friend whom I had felt was having some sort of problems in her personal life. It took me a few weeks to get up the courage to ask her if everything was all right. When I was told that she was struggling with some health issues, I felt bad because I had been afraid to speak to her sooner.
Don’t be afraid to approach your friend. Don’t hesitate to speak up.
Send her a gift. Attach a note with your thanks and get it to her as soon as possible—and as far from the actual day of Christmas, if possible. Stay away from anything “Christmas” oriented, of course. No candy canes, sleigh bells or Christmas cards here, but it would be fantastic to let her know, through another sort of gift, (perhaps one of the Jewish tradition) how much your friendship has meant to you.
I don’t think a gift given in the spirit of love and friendship is ever one that offends. If your friend knows this, and also knows you’re not trying to shove Christmas down her throat, then she will gladly accept your gift. She will appreciate your thoughtfulness and love, despite the month in which it was given.