So, last night ‚when I took the dog out for a walk, I was surprised to see a basket on our front porch, I put it inside, and when we got back, Tiffany and I investigated it. It is a very nice basket, probably a Longaberger basket, with chocolate, a (white) Standard Poodle ornament, a regular Christmas tree ornament, some chocolate, a red Christmas‑y hand towel, and a matchbox car.
Oh, and a piece of paper. Let me publish some excerpts:
Someone in the neighborhood is sending you Holiday Cheer. In this bag are goodies sent especially for you. Along with your special goodies, you will find a Christmas Angel 2005 picture. Please hang this Angel in your front window to show that your house has been “Blessed by an Angel.”
In the bag you will find some extra fliers and Angels to use when preparing your Holiday Goodie Bag. Please make up a special small bag with goodies for the neighbor that you are going to Bless.
As soon as possible, when your neighbor won’t see you, place the Special Angel Bag, along with extra Angel supplies, on their doorstep so that they can pass along Holiday Cheer to someone else in the neighborhood. They too have now been BLESSED BY A CHRISTMAS ANGEL.
Now. My immediate reaction was: how nice, how sweet, but how dare they? After some thought, I have decided that my reaction is just: what were they thinking?
I mean, really. When you do something sweet and meaningful like this, you NEED to ask people if they WANT to participate before you FORCE them to do it. Now, some perfect stranger, conveniently made anonymous by the rules of this chain letter, is forcing us to go peer at our neighbor’s houses to see who has been “Blessed” and who has not, then go buy the equivalent of stocking presents for them, “meaningful” presents, then make color copies of the Angel Supplies because we have only one Angel in our kit, the one we are supposed to hang so this doesn’t happen to us again.
Oh, and don’t forget a basket. Then we have to creep out and, this is the worst part in my opinion, we have to inflict this on someone else.
I don’t want to. I appreciate the sentiment, but not the idea that a) Oh, everyone will want to do this, Bill! and b) Nobody could be offended by the Blessing of an Angel! and c) It is no bother at all when you are passing along Holiday Cheer!
But what are my options? We can’t re-gift it. The matchbox car and the poodle make that clear. And besides, then I’m passing this on, and that’s what most offends me about it. We can’t just ignore it, because our anonymous donor will hate us, I think. I have thought to put the basket back out on the porch, prominently, with $40.00 and a note saying, “Thank you for your effort and sentiment, but we do not wish to take part in this year’s Blessing. We are all full up on Blessings. Please take our appreciation, and this money, and Bless someone else. And our poodle is black, not white.”
They should really have asked. What I really want to do is add a note to the Christmas Angel 2005 Picture that says, “Next year, please send us the Opt-out Angel 2006 picture” and copy it and plaster it around the neighborhood at some point in the evening “when your neighbor won’t see you.”
I should note that Tiffany probably feels much as I do, but is a nicer, better person with a healthy sense of guilt/community/holiday-spirit, and so we may end up doing this.
Either way, I’m keeping the angel for next year, so I can pre-empt a 2006 Blessing.