I got a Christmas card today. That's so nice, right? We all love getting cards. Well, this one was a bit different... First, I must explain the card, then I will include what was written in it below. I do not know the person who sent this card, but I know who encouraged the sending. My grandmother... She doesn't know that I'm an atheist, but she knows that I am not "one with the Lord." She is an insane fundie; I am used to her Jesus ramblings and what not. But, this card is stepping over the line... Remember, I do not know the person who sent this (although the paranoid side of me thinks the handwriting looks suspiciously like my grandmothers...). This is what it says...


"Hi! I am Dorothy from Northeast Baptist Church and I have been praying for you for a year now. Hope you could tell someone was praying for you. Hope you have a Merry Christmas. It's all about Jesus! Love and prayers, Dorothy"


That looks all sweet and innocent, right? But, add in the fact that I know my grandmother is involved and the fact that she is always pushing religion on me, and this card is nowhere near innocent. I want to send a letter back to her (Dorothy). I know that it wouldn't be the nicest card, and I would tell her that even though she was praying for me for a year, that life still had it's 50/50 rate of good and bad, but I'd thank her for her kindness anyway (and wish her happy holidays)... My problem is that I know my judgment is screwed up by my annoyance and anger, and I would like your opinions on what you think I should do. Plus, it always feels nice to rant and complain about things like this. :p


Any thoughts on what I should do, or if I'm right in being annoyed, would be appreciated!

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Just throw it away, really. Being petty may feel good in the short run, but isn't going to help long-term. As for your grandmother, just let her know that she may mean well, but all she's going to do in pushing her religion on you is end up alienating you.


Toss it in the trash and forget about the card.  Eventually, you will have the chance at a real dialog.  Any reply now is just a waste of your time.

I get so frustrated having this stuff thrown in my face constantly. I know I can be irrational when it comes to responses.

The card is in the trash! Thank you, Jennifer and Michael, for your replies. :)

I get birthday cards from my parents' old church. I just check them for checks, cash, and gift cards and then throw them away (one year they gave me a $5 gift card to a religious bookstore so I bought some pencils and a highlighter). I completely understand your annoyance and frustration. I felt the same way for a couple years. It's just not worth your time and effort.

I find it interesting that your parents' old church still send you birthday cards. That's nice of them. :)


Thank you, it's nice to know other people understand my frustrations. Makes me feel like I'm not all that crazy!

Hi Sara,


If it is your grandmother that is behind the sending of the christmas card she does not really seem to be open to discussion. Therefor I would concur with Jennifer and Michael, just ignore it and throw it in the trash. There might be a time for discussion and sharing of ideas, but looking at the actions of your grandmother this is not it.

Oh honey, I came here to post about almost the exact same thing happening to me, but with my crazy Aunt. Crazy as in she has sent people from the most violently cult-like church in town over to my family's house (she lives almost 3,000 miles away and yet contacted this church and gave them our home address specifically so that they would start harassing us), and I have no doubt that she would pay to have me drugged, kidnapped, sent to a "camp", and "rehabilitated" if she found out I'm not straight. If she found out I'm an atheist, she'd probably do worse. Usually she just sends religious cards and writes something odd in them, but this year she did bizarre underlining instead. I don't understand why she didn't just address it "Dear Heathen", it would've been more honest and less annoying. Attached are some pictures with the names removed... Oh, crazy Aunt. You can do all the passive-aggressive underlining you want, it's not going to make me any more interested in praising Jeebus.


Ah! But anyway! There are two possible courses of action here: either do nothing, or say something. I'm not a fan of passivity, so personally I think you should send "Dorothy" a card right back. However, I don't know how the rest of your relationship is with your grandmother.


The best question to ask here is: do you like your grandmother? If you think that she had anything to do with sending the note, responding to it in any way that isn't "PRAISE THE LORD I'M SAVED" will probably just make her upset. If you like or love your grandmother and want to maintain your relationship with her, it may be best to just let it drop. It might still be good to keep track of the address this card came from if you still have the envelope, and if you get any further cards, simply cross out any barcodes on them, write "return to sender" or "refused" on the envelope, and put it back in your mailbox and it will be sent back to the person who sent it. That way whoever it is will be wasting whatever money they spent on postage and you won't allow them the opportunity to harass you further, which is all good.


However, there is nothing wrong with *not* liking someone you are related to. In fact, that's often a highly appropriate response... If you don't like your grandmother or are ambivalent toward keeping in contact with her, write Dorothy a short note or card right back. Tell her you don't know who she is or how she got your address, but that you do not appreciate the contact and that it is not to be repeated. You can even tell her that you find her card creepy, nosy, and invasive. That's what I'd do. However, I'm not you. Even if I may be in a similar situation I cannot possibly know all of what you're going through, and thus cannot tell you what the appropriate action is here. But, YES, you are perfectly right in being annoyed! Accidental blood relation does not give someone the right to harass, demean, or insult you in any way, and that includes discounting your feelings and opinions and trying to convert you.


Wow, your aunt and my grandmother could be the best of friends. I get cards exactly like that, passive-aggressive underlining and all, for most big occasions. I also worry that if she found out about my atheism that I would wake up one morning drowsy from drugs in some church camp. She literally freaked out when she found out that I *gasp* read Harry Potter and have a tattoo, would hate to see her reaction to atheism... I'd be much happier hearing their real thoughts, too. "Dear Heathen, You're going to hell." I'd at least get a laugh out of that. I'm sorry that you have to deal with that type of annoyance as well; it is not fun.


To answer your question; no, I do not like my grandmother. I talk to her twice a year, at the most. I'm glad you agree that family doesn't mean "automatic relationship." Most people don't seem to understand that, and get very confused when I say anything bad about family.


I did toss the card, but my paranoid/vindictive side kept the envelope. I am, like you, not so good with being passive and letting things continue in a fashion that I am not comfortable with. I'm a grudge holder. :p I think I will write a letter to Dorothy, then mention to my grandmother that I do not appreciate her giving my address to people that I do not know.


Thank you very much for sharing your story and for replying to this. I hope things get better with your aunt. If not, I hope you can find a way to make it less stressful.

My dad's father leaves me alone, thankfully. Heck, despite the fact I live in the same state as him, he attempts no contact with me, and sends cards for me to my parents' address instead. I understand not wanting to deal with a family member for their beliefs, though.


I got a birthday card from my Catholic aunt one year. On the front was a picture of a anguished Jeebus, blue eyes looking at the sky (it could only have been sappier if it was rendered on black velvet) The caption was, “Praying for You”. On the inside of the card, in my aunt's atrocious hand writing, was the sentiment, “I know this card will chap your ass – happy birthday”. She was a funny old gal.


I think I would respond to the card with some thinly veiled snarkiness.

Dear Dorothy,

I'm so grateful that you have spent your valuable time praying on my behalf. However, in this season of Christian celebration it would gratify me even more should you use that time to engage in the Christian spirit of giving to the poor and disadvantaged – an act sure to find favor in the eyes of Jesus.

May the spirit of Christmas be with you.



I agree about the fact that passivity can be bad, but it really depends on your perspective.  If the card was from someone you saw and spoke with often, someone who you were close with and wanted to maintain a good relationship with, then I would recommend a thoughtful, but firm attempt at achieving mutual respect.  However, this is not your situation.  It troubles me that you say you are a "grudge holder."  Holding grudges can be very tiresome and stressful, and cause you unnecessary mental discomfort.

Given that it is very unlikely that your grandmother will ever change, sending a vindictive response might spur her on, even cause her to take greater action.  This would only make your life more difficult as anything you say is unlikely to even make her feel remotely bad.  Thus I suggest letting it go.  Toss the card, or not, and use this as an opportunity to grow emotionally by letting the grudge go.  It feels great.  I used to hold grudges and get really bent out of shape over disagreements with people I hardly ever saw, but when I learned that by doing that I was only hurting myself, I decided to make a change.  Think about it.

I usually don't hold grudges unless whatever is happening gets to be too much. There is usually a breaking point where I give up trying to be the nice person that everyone expects me to be. Giving my address to a stranger was my breaking point. However, I do agree that sending a vindictive response may spur her on.


It does feel great to let grudges go (not counting this particular one!). "Be the bigger man/woman" and all that. For me, it can be difficult to "let things go". So, when I am able to push my -not so good- emotions aside, it is a wonderful feeling.


Thank you for replying, and I did think about it. :)




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