Happy Hannukah, George?!?!

I arrived home from work today to spy two oversized envelopes leaning between the screen and front doors of the house.  Since my mail is put through a slot in the door, anything that cannot be shoved through the narrow opening winds up there. I hadn’t ordered anything, so could not imagine what the packages contained, but will admit to a little trickle of excitement that perhaps someone sent me a little something just because I am swell.  No such luck.

With the two 8” x 10” padded envelopes tucked under my elbow, I maneuvered myself and my personal belongings into the house, bent down to gather the mail that lay on the floor in the foyer and called my hellos to Jess.  As I dumped everything onto the kitchen table I looked at the first package and saw that it was addressed to Harrison.  Well, his birthday is coming up, so perhaps it was a gift for that.  Then I took at look at the second (and, I now realized, identical) envelope and saw that it was addressed to George.  Return address: Amazon.  Contents: Likely gift cards. Very personal (note sarcasm) gift cards.  And then, if you want the truth, I got pissed.


I knew immediately who the mailings were from.  (Don’t ask me to share…I will not.) And, I also immediately knew that they were not a birthday gift, but a Hannukah gift, one for each of my children…one of whom has not been addressed as George in nearly TWO years.  It infuriated me.

I can understand the occasional slip up with pronouns. It happens.  I can understand periodically starting to say George (this usually occurs when said child has done something which results in any adult’s need to address her, shall we stay, strongly). It, too, happens.  But sending a gift which, one would hope, is supposed to carry some degree of thoughtfulness (it is a gift, after all) and using the wrong fucking name?  I simply cannot understand that.

In fact, I will go one step further.  I would go so far as to call it cruel, thoughtless and insulting.  I would like to (and even tried to) believe  it was an innocent mistake, but given the fact that the same “mistake” was made last year at this time, I am less willing to cut slack than I might otherwise be.  One could argue that if you are so generous (there’s that sarcasm again) as to send a gift, you should also be generous of spirit and get the kid’s name (and, actually, gender) right.

A part of me wants to dump the package in the trash and let Jess be none the wiser, but that would be unfair to her.   Another part of me wants to send a kindly worded email to the sender gently pointing out their “mistake”.  A third part of me?  Well, that part wants to rip the sender’s head off.

I doubt that the person who was so callous in their “generosity” will even see this, but calling them out on my blog makes me feel just a little bit better.  If they do happen to see this: An obligatory gift is neither necessary nor appreciated.  A modicum of interest in Jess would be far more meaningful.

Happy holidays.

25 thoughts on “Happy Hannukah, George?!?!

  1. Julie…Sending it back is my suggestion..Tell them to “get it right” or don’t send it again! Does it really matter what they think when they didn’t care what Jess thinks?

  2. A few years ago someone who had re-entered my life after quite a few years’ absence sent several gift cards to my kids for Christmas. This was a person who was supposed to be connected to my kids — but it was one of those “grit my teeth and get through it” experiences for me. When those cards arrived and I saw what they were (pizza and ice cream? really?) I ended up mailing them back to the person, saying thank you for the thought but they came at too high a price. My children’s well-being and emotional security (not to mention my sanity) was much more important. You could always return the cards (yes, both) with a note, saying that it is not in JESS’s best interest to give this to her, and thus you are returning Harrison’s as well. Perhaps the person will get the hint; if not, do you need this stress, and more importantly, does Jess need this kind of person in her life?

  3. Pollyanna here Julie. 🙂 Any chance this person sent a gift to George in the past via Amazon? They keep all the names and addresses in memory and it could have been an oversight. If not, do what you must!

    Love you for worrying about this though! Good mom!


  4. Send them back. Just because someone sends you a “gift” doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Especially one with such passive-aggressive overtones. Jess won’t mind not getting a gift card, but I think the hurt she feels for someone not recognizing her for who she is might last a lot longer.

  5. Given that the same “mistake” was made last year by the same person, in all likelihood, it was intentional. It could have been intentional in the “I’m going to use ‘George” to make a point” kind of way, or it could have been intentional in the “I don’t really care so I’m not even going to make an effort to get the name right” sort of way. In other words, there really isn’t a scenario that didn’t involve a conscious choice. (Unless of course we can blame Amazon like Debby suggested.) At a minimum, an email is definitely in order.

  6. The important thing is that Jess knows she is loved, and there are some people who will make inconsiderate mistakes like that,but she should appreciate the thought. She should also know that this person may be transphobic, and should be taught how to deal with the haters. That said I dont know why someone would do that. I think Jess is a beautiful girl inside and out, and I hope the whole world can rejoice in her awesomeness. best wishes

    sincerely, a 14 year old

  7. There’s an amazing kids show that Jessie would probably love. It is called “Jessie,” it is on disney channel, but if you have Netflix you could watch it on there. The protagonist, Jessie is a young adult who comes from Texas to NYC in search of an acting career, but when she fails to fund her cab trip, she is tossed out of the cab and finds herself as a babysitter to the 4 kids of the renowned Ross family.

    Funny right, there’s a Jessie, and the Ross family. I’m 14 and I still love this show, it is hilarious. Thought Jess would like to check it out.

  8. I’d say to take the high road, in spite of the fact that what they did was not right. Be it passive aggressiveness or an inability to cope, they obviously love your kids. Jess can handle it, I suspect. If you can’t rise above, maybe let Jess mention in her thank you note that she now goes by Jess, not George.

  9. Is whatever the gift is likely to have a name on it, not just on the envelope? If it wont have a name then you could take it out of the envelope and give it to Jessie while writing back to sender and telling them that you’re disappointed that they put the wrong name on the envelope and asking that they get it right in future.

    If its like when I order something from Amazon I’ll select from a list of delivery addresses I’ve used and wont necessarily change it. The sender could be doing the same and but it shows at least laziness, and probably more about their attitude towards Jessie on their part that they can’t take the time to put the right name and address.

  10. I think I know from whom this gift was sent and I am pissed on your behalf. Refusing to acknowledge jess’s change is so dissmissive and cruel. Perhaps your ex should be the one to set this person straight? Maybe Jess could address the issue in her thank you note by simply saying that this person’s records need to be updated to her new name.
    I hope it was at least a nice gift.

  11. I think it depends on who the cards are from. If they are from someone who should clearly know better and is just being cruel (which it appears is the case!!) I would send them both back.
    A backhanded “kind” gesture isn’t so kind, and they should be made to understand that the disrespect (which this clearly is) won’t be tolerated.

    Punky’s Mommy

  12. I am on guard for this with our extended family this year. It will be Middle (my trans daughter’s ) first Christmas identifying as a girl and there are several extended family members who have expressed their “concerns” for what we are “doing to our child”. We won’t be attending the extended family holiday celebrations this year, but I think it is entirely possible a mis-named gift will come our way.

    In your case, I like the idea of sending it back with a big bold “No one by that name at this address” label.

  13. I’m torn with returning it to the sender without your children the wiser. (you are the parent here and know your children best)

    I think that if I were in your shoes, I would open the packages… if only the package had the crime written on it… I would give the item to the child….. I’m in the “not letting my child miss out on stuff” stage of my parenting.. Either way… whether in person, over the phone, by snail mail, or email… or all of the above, would contact this person and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, you know better. So act better. Ship up or just ship out.

    (I’d have a really hard time not giving it to my child) (then again my child is almost 4 and I’m really only able to react as I would to a 4 yo… so my opinion I know isn’t really helpful here)

  14. That was just mean spirited. I want to believe that it was laziness too, but I don’t think it was. I say check to make sure the gift is appropriate( hopefully said person is not a complete ;$&;) and give it to Jesse and Harrison. I think they were looking for a rise so I wouldn’t send them a letter…they know. Just let the kids enjoy the gifts from you!

  15. I’m with the very wise 14 yr old here, MJ, and Julie. Unfortunately, there are always going to be haters out there. I think it’s best to help Jessie understand that now, and how to deal with it. The bottom line is that a gift WAS sent – as obligatory as it may seem to you – and Jessie may still want to have it, certainly has the RIGHT to have it, IMO. That’s her perogative to decide, no matter her age. I also love the advice to have HER write a thank you note and her opinion/comment of the “George”. It might have more impact. (Apparently, yours hasn’t worked.) Bottom line, there’s lessons everyday we can learn from. As long as she knows she’s loved, and how YOU feel about it but put the ball in her court, she knows that you love her, got her back and respect her choices/feelings.

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