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I've been thinking about giving some holiday/Christmas cards to some colleagues in my team, as it is the end of the year and most, if not everyone in the office is taking time off. Just to note that I'm not planning on giving cards to everyone in the office block, not everyone in the team (as my team is based around the world so there would be a fairly significant logical cost associated), and only to some colleagues that I see in-person.

Is it appropriate to send a Christmas/Holiday/New Year greeting card to my colleagues?

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    Are you a team lead, shift lead, supervisor, or manager? If you are any of these things are you giving a card to everybody you lead? Dec 17, 2023 at 19:09
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    @mhoran_psprep I am not any of the above, although I was going to give to a manager I've worked with
    – Diode
    Dec 17, 2023 at 19:43
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    In this day, why not consider a virtual card, so as to not leave out your international colleagues?
    – AsheraH
    Dec 18, 2023 at 12:57
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    What is your country and industry?
    – breversa
    Dec 19, 2023 at 11:49

3 Answers 3

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It's generally fine to give cards and small gifts to colleagues if they're given in good faith.

If you have any doubts on suitability, then don't do it, it's not important.

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    Most people, even if they aren't of your faith, will take the gesture in the spirit in which it is intended. But a significant number will be happier if you stay away from any particular religion.
    – keshlam
    Dec 18, 2023 at 1:17
  • @keshlam that would be locale specific as well.
    – Kilisi
    Dec 18, 2023 at 23:09
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Absolutely

With one small Caveat - Generic Christmas cards are fine - but I would stay away from explicitly Religious ones - Ones mentioning Jesus, featuring Nativity scenes, ones that quote lines of Scripture etc.

Unless of course you know the recipient and know they are explicitly religious.

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    General new year's/season's greetings is probably a safer sentiment.
    – keshlam
    Dec 18, 2023 at 1:12
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It's certainly never inappropriate to hand out Christmas cards in the office.

What I would suggest though is that if you don't give a card to absolutely everyone, then ensure the recipient list has some obvious boundary logic that won't leave anyone feeling slighted or left out.

For example, handing a card to everyone who is formally in your team (and works in the office, so as to receive a physical card), is a reasonable logic.

But these kinds of gestures often make the greatest impression on those at the periphery of your work circle - if you want to bring cheer, then including people you don't normally deal with is a good idea, provided you can find some balance between the effort involved and the need to avoid any appearance of favouritism.

It's also not clear whether you are man or woman, but this kind of card exchange is more typical of women than men.

Men may be reluctant to reciprocate in kind and if you are a man then you might well curl some toes amongst male recipients, so I would avoid anything too elaborate or personalised to individuals.

Nevertheless, it's a token of consideration for colleagues that is to be welcomed, and may well prompt others to join in on future occasions!

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    I liked the clear boundaries part of your answer, but why would you bring gender into this?? Seems to me that suggesting that this individual should put less thought/effort into a card if it is for a man is perpetuating the outdated dynamic that you claim they should be wary of. Cautioning OP against anything too personalized because a coworker might be uncomfortable receiving it from another coworker is valid, but it should not and does not have anything to do with gender.
    – InBedded16
    Dec 18, 2023 at 16:43
  • @InBedded16, I'm only saying that you don't want to do something so elaborate that men who have no intention of distributing cards themselves, feel awkward to an undue degree. The reality is that most of us still live in a world where there are men and women, and where there are different ideas applicable to each. If the OP is a man, and he sends a card to other men, he'd be best doing so in a form that other men might even think of emulating, rather than something that leaves them embarrassed - a relatively impersonal token, which can be prepared without much effort, is such a form.
    – Steve
    Dec 18, 2023 at 18:07
  • This post starts off with a fallacy, it can certainly be inappropriate to hand out Christmas cards in the office. The manner of delivery, and the amount of religion, can radically change the message.
    – Edwin Buck
    Dec 21, 2023 at 19:32
  • @EdwinBuck, but then you're talking about the manner of delivery or religious undertones. There could be no reasonable complaint to receiving an Xmas card from a colleague, per se. Even those from non-Christian religions, would be extremely churlish to complain about the mere fact of being handed an Xmas card.
    – Steve
    Dec 21, 2023 at 19:40
  • @Steve It highly depends, as most things do. Stating that it doesn't depend on things, and that a card can't be received in a manner that is upsetting is just stating that "other" people don't have a right to be offended. That's silly, as it is always possible to offend someone else, especially if the offense is intentional, and occasionally when the offense is not intentional.
    – Edwin Buck
    Dec 21, 2023 at 20:13

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