Etiquette question: sending holiday cards (Halloween, Christmas, New Years)


As we approach the end of the year I was wondering what the best practices were for sending holiday cards (Halloween, Christmas, New Years).

I personally would love to recieve holiday cards especially holidays that aren’t celebrated in the United States and I wrote that in my profile but would sending out holiday cards cause offense? Is it better to only send to people with similiar cultures (Like US/Canada) or only to people who specifically say holiday cards are OK?



I like sending holiday cards, I think it’s a good way to share part of my culture and my life.
Also I like getting holiday cards.

I think no; this can turn tricky, as people living in same country doesn’t mean they share same holidays. When I’m thinking the card is from me, sharing my life, not assuming anything from other’s, I don’t see any harm in sending a holiday card.

And no need to be specifically saying they want such. Joining here everyone has accepted it’s the sender who decides what they send. Or we could think the same about every topic, like should we only send touristic card to ones who say it’s ok.

But, if one says no holiday cards, I won’t send one.


I wouldn’t send cards to do with religious holidays unless they are clearly wanted. If you must then go for “happy holidays” kind of stuff rather than “merry Christmas”. Halloween might be best avoided completely since it seems to offend many.

1 Like

I often write “happy yule”, because our joulu -word has no connotation to religiousness. (And I think yule keeps the same meaning as joulu.)

edit- adding:

I was just thinking it’s a shame we don’t have many halloween cards in stores, or not early enough, as this seems to be one of the “most wanted” holiday in profiles I get :smile:
Now I’m making a handmade one (they were ok with handmade).


I bought a batch of postcards about Thanksgiving. And then I realized that seems I could only mail them to USA…:smiling_face_with_tear:
I’d love to receive cards of every festival, religious or not. Should I point out this in my profile?


Yes, if that’s what you would like to receive, let people know.

1 Like

Canada also celebrates thanksgiving, though I think the date is earlier, maybe October?

Germany has Thanksgiving, too. But very different from the US and a lot more religious.

If I’m in the mood I send out holiday cards to everyone (that don’t state not liking them). I like to receive holiday cards from other cultures, it’s very interesting to learn more about different holidays.


Oh not at all. I’d be delighted to receive a card about Thanksgiving precisely because we don’t observe it in Australia. It’s nice to get little pieces of someone else’s culture.


I wouldn’t mind receiving postcards of holidays I don’t celebrate, but maybe in the message you could explain about the holiday or how you celebrate it?

For example: Getting a random Happy Halloween message when I don’t celebrate it would feel weird, but a message explaining what Halloween means to you or how you spend the day would be interesting!


I like to receive holiday cards of any kind, they are a glimpse into other cultures. I don’t like religious quotes, but they do not offend me. If it’s not clearly stated in a user’s profile that they do not want to receive holiday cards I would send them.

But thanks for the reminder! :grinning: I have to update my profile saying that I would love to receive spooky Halloween cards :jack_o_lantern: :grin:


I actually feel little sad about how overly careful people have become about holiday greetings. For me it does not matter if I don’t celebrate it (and let’s be honest, I rarely celebrate the ones that are part of my culture), I just enjoy hearing and learning about things other celebrates.

I would say that the card itself is not the issue, but what you write on it. Telling about the occasion and sharing what you did / are planning to do on the day is great, but writing as you assume the recipient celebrates same holiday or making it too religious can give rude vibes. But then again I have been wished happy 4th of July and the only result was deep confusion because I had no idea then when is so special about 4th of July (I went on for months thinking they are just very positive person who enjoys wishing happy day for people in their own day and I am little ashamed about how long it took me to understand). The only time I have been (slightly) offended about anything holiday related on Postcrossing was when somebody mentioned how sorry they feel for me as they believed there are no holidays for me between autumn and Christmas. Finnish independent day is 6th of December and we have a week long school break in autumn so I was little annoyed, but we got that misunderstanding quickly solved.

So I would say that holiday cards are all okay so long the profile does not specifically say that they do not want those. Also, I would love people to be more brave about sharing their celebrations!

I wouldn’t mind at all if I received Thanksgiving card so long you wrote something about what you are doing then. We already know Thanksgiving, thanks to all the numerous American TV-shows, but most of us know it only as it is shown on TV…

I might be mistaken, but I have understood “happy yule” is used mostly by those who follow paganism, and “happy holidays” is the (un)official neutral version. I usually go with happy holidays since it could refer either to Christmas or New Year or anything else celebrated around that time.


Could be, but I think it goes well with it’s old style when written.
I think there is not enough neutral version. Some think “happy holidays” refers to “holy days” which again is religion related, Xmas refers to mass, again a serving/worshiping related.

Season’s greetings could be neutral? But I never remember it :slight_smile: since it’s not what the Finnish greeting say. I like as it doesn’t tell/wish someone to be happy or joyous (which some again hate) etc. but, in addition that I don’t remember it, I don’t know how to write it (season’s/seasons/seasons’ :sweat_smile:)

In reality, I don’t care if someone thinks I’m writing about holy days or baby Jesus or what. If they don’t understand or even want to try to understand my good intentions, I can’t help.

I feel the same.
Here I believe the intention (or part of it) is to learn from other cultures, so other’s holidays and cards related to these would be one of the “best” ones.


I like every holiday card, nice to see all kinds of holidays from all over the world, especially the ones a bit unknown and get some more information about it. I wouldn’t mind receiving a Thanksgiving card and Halloween is so fun. All cards are send with good intentions and that counts for me. Even what the cards says or what people want to write (happy holidays or merry Christmas), I don’t mind, I’m not easily offended. But like @LisaMonsterken I’m going to update my profile to say I like all holiday cards :grin:


In my stash of postcards I have some various holiday cards and if I remember I enjoy sending them around the holidays i.e. for the month of December sending Christmas cards. So far I haven’t had any complaints about it.

1 Like

i would only send holiday cards out when people ask for them. some people don’t celebrate it for any reason and i don’t wanna make them feel annoyed or sad.

personally i love receiving holiday cards, though there’s one thing that i dislike about especially christmas cards and that is that a lot of people somehow don’t write a long message anymore. quite often christmas cards just say ‘merry christmas and a great new year. best wishes!’ which kinda sucks. for me. it happens a lot with swaps and tags but officials as well sometimes. and people somehow think it’s okay sending double cards that one month a year.

but so far my complaints. i do love holiday cards, even more so the ones i don’t know about. i’ve learnt so much through postcrossing i would never know otherwise.


It would not be offensive, but I would check the person’s profile. I don’t like them since these “holidays” are based largely on falsehoods. But the sender may be well-intentioned, so I don’t make an issue of it.

Really? I never saw a profile with a statement that the recipient would be offended by a halloween card, ghosts, pumpkins or alike.

To make matters worse, there are some people who get upset when if a holiday greeting is too inclusive - as if I am somehow insulting their beliefs by not specifying that only they are meant to receive joy. Last year, for example, an acquaintance got angry at me for wishing ‘happy holidays’ instead of ‘merry Christmas’, insisting that “Jesus is the reason for the season”. As far as I am concerned, Gregory, you can have “happy holidays” or unhappy holidays - the choice is yours.

As for receiving cards about holidays I don’t observe, I don’t mind it at all. Either I learn something new about someone else’s culture (like the ‘dumpling festival’ card from China I got a few years back that made my stomach rumble), or I get to teach the sender about a similar local custom. For example, Halloween shares some aspects with our tradition of Räbeliechtli, where children carve turnips into lanterns and parade around the town singing songs.


That is actually an interesting point. Quite lot of vocabulary comes from religious background so it would be impossible to avoid it all. Isn’t yule religious too, only just a different one?
I feel like the word holiday has the same feel as helg for us. Used to be religious but has lost the meaning. At least I have seen it used widely for any type of leisure time away from work / normal routines.

Season / seasonal greetings sounds somehow impersonal for me :thinking:

It is like a rabbit hole of trying to find the term that fits all. I guess at end of day we all should just pick the one we like the best and if that offends somebody then be it :sweat_smile:

@RalfH My guess is the “oh no, yet another American holiday” and somewhat almost aggressive way the shops are trying to make it popular here so they can sell us more stuff. It is sad really, I quite enjoy the scary things and without the “buy all this so it is Halloween” stuff it could be a nice tradition middle of the darkest time of year. It also falls often on the same date with another, more traditional holiday here so I think people feel offended by it.

1 Like