Something has been puzzling me the last few days and I've decided to bring it to you, dear readers, to help me sort it out.
A Christmas card came in the mail last week. I opened it and immediately assumed that it was sent by mistake since I had no idea who these people were. I checked the envelope, though, and my name and address were exactly correct. In other words, the card had reached its intended recipient: me.
But there was still the troubling issue of who these people were and why they were sending me their Christmas card. I kept trying to pass it off as a mistake. Maybe there was another person with my name in Tucson, or maybe they had my address for some reason but didn't mean to print a card for me. The more I thought about it, unfortunately, the less these theories made sense. There just isn't anyone else with my name in Tucson, and the second theory would still require that they know me somehow in order to have my address in the first place.
I even asked a friend to double-check and see if she somehow knew these people, in case they were from some wider social circle that I obviously hadn't paid attention to well enough (this family is Mormon but their address is not in our stake/larger congregational boundaries). Still no luck.
So I took a closer look at the message inside the card. And I slowly came to the sickening realization that I hope you can prove wrong: this is an advertisement. The people are real, the information in the card is real, but it is an advertisement veiled as a Christmas card. Take a look (I've removed the several paragraphs about their kids, though if this is an advertisement they don't deserve that consideration from a stranger):
The evidence in support of my theory:
1. Mentioning the husband's job change is one thing. Mentioning his job change, PLUS the name of the new partner, PLUS the name of the business is quite another.
2. Same goes for the wife. It's not just "her business expanded nationally," but "her business expanded nationally and is now known as blah blah blah." Very fishy.
3. Also fishy? The way she mentions celebrating the opening of an online business. I can't quite put my finger on why, but it just doesn't sound genuine to me.
The rest of the letter is about their kids. And that's what bothers me the most. Send out your pseudo-Christmas letter indiscriminately to strangers if you will, but leave your kids out of it.
As you can see, I think I've figured it out. But I wouldn't mind being proved wrong, or offered alternative theories. The question of how they got my address still remains. Jeremy has his own Mormon conspiracy theory, but I'll leave that to him to explain in the comments if he chooses. I refuse to ascribe a sinister motive to anyone without just cause. A stupid or careless motive, maybe, but not sinister.
What I will feel really, really bad about is if I do know these people and have somehow just completely forgotten them and then torn apart their Christmas card on the internet for all to see. I wouldn't put it past my sleep-deprived mind. Oh, how I hope that is not the case.