A Conundrum....

So, this morning at work I found a Christmas present sitting in my desk chair. I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but Christmas isn't a holiday that is part of my belief system. Yes, I exchange gifts with family and close friends at this time of the year, but it's NOT a religious thing, at least it's not for me. Frankly, the over-emphasis on the presents is part of the reason why I don't care for that particular religious tradition, among other reasons.

Anyway, back to the present at work. It happens to be a book. This is not a bad thing. Except that it's a book of Christian devotional reading and according to the book jacket is full of stories about how various persons became brainwashed converted to evangelical Christendom. Fortunately everybody in the office got one, so I'm pretty sure it's not a commentary about any individual's status with regard to eternal damnation.

The conundrum is what to do with the book. I don't want it, but I'm not willing to just throw away a perfectly good, useful book. I am debating giving it back to the person who gave it to me, with a note saying that while I appreciate the thought, the gift would be better appreciated by someone who followed that religion or was interested in being converted to that religion. This will, of course, label me even further as a heathen outsider. I'm also not sure that I could return the gift without causing ill feelings/uncomfortableness since the giver is at least trying to be inclusive, which is a nice gesture. I'd like to think that this person realizes that pushing religion on people has no place at work, but maybe not. I'm not sure I could get the point across without causing more problems and very little benefit. My co-workers do not seem to be capable of being open-minded and non-judgmental about religious matters. Once they find out that I'm NOT "saved", they might look upon me as a project who just needs to have it explained more clearly so I will convert and I'd really rather not have to deal with that.

The other option would be to anonymously give the book to someone else or donate it to the library. That would eliminate the hard feelings that might be generated by returning the gift, though it wouldn't address the point that I don't need/want to have other religions pushed on me, no matter how kindly it was intended. I've already told at least one co-worker that I don't celebrate Christmas and another that I don't celebrate Easter. When I return from my trip next week, I might have to point out that I don't celebrate Christmas in reply to being asked if I had a "good Christmas".

Thinking about it, I'm not sure that everybody is completely closed-minded at work. It appears that at least a few of my co-workers think about the unusual things I say and then ask questions or comment on them a day or three later. I might slowly expand a few of their minds a wee bit. Hopefully they won't just snap back to original size after I'm gone.


jason said…
Sounds like you're a lot more considerate than the gifter.
It always amazes me at people who feel free to send emails and give gifts that are of a particular religious content. I guess these people just do not give any consideration to the fact that others may follow a different spiritual path or may not follow a spiritual path at all. It seems to be beyond these individuals comprehension that not everybody believes as they do. I've celebrated Christmas all my life, although in my adult life I've tried to view it as more of a time of year that people tend to be of a more generous giving spirit. This year, my family is celebrating Solstice. We're doing our presents tomorrow morning, on the morn of solstice and we're doing a solstice fire and some drumming as well. I think this is a much more appropriate way for my family to celebrate.
I think that the idea of donating it to a library would be a really good idea. Then if you are ever asked about it you can simply say that you don't follow that particular philosophy and that you placed it at a library where multiple people who follow that path can get the greatest benefit.

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