The commercials, songs over the store speakers, special candy, lights and decorations, it all points to something special happening all around us. There’s no way to mistake that Christmas is around the corner.
It’s hard for kids to see so much excitement around them and then be told we do not take part. Why don’t we have pretty lights on our house? Why don’t we decorate a tree in our house to light up the room during the long nights? Why aren’t we getting presents?
It’s a fine line to walk. We don’t want to disrespect our Christian friends and family, but we shouldn’t take part just so we avoid the feeling of being left out. This life isn’t about keeping comfortable – it’s about doing the right things in this life for the benefit of the Hereafter.
Pump up Eid
The media doesn’t do it for us. We have to make Eid a big deal for our kids! You don’t have to buy them a ton of expensive gifts, but at least give them the day off school, take the day off work (if possible), and overall just make it a big deal. As a single mom, I didn’t have a ton of money to spend on Eid, but we would have ice cream for lunch, which is cheap, easy, and something I never allow outside of Eid.
Make your own “Christmas tradition”
We are not trying to make our own holiday, but almost everyone has the day off, and all the stores are closed. What is a family to do? If you don’t have your own Christian family, or choose not to visit on Christmas day, have a movie or game day! We’ve started having a pajama day on Christmas and we’ll play games or watch movies all day. There are no presents, and no celebration, but it is something we look forward to, and hope our kids don’t feel like they’re missing out.
Learn the origins
As Muslims, we are required to be educated. As Muslims in the West, that means we need to be educated about the customs that are going on around us. Many American holidays are watered down to a materialistic skeleton of their original, but that doesn’t mean that the original meaning doesn’t hold value. Imagine if April 20th each was a an incredibly festive, and joyous holiday with candy, parades, fireworks, decorations, etc. It was the best and brightest holiday of the year. Nevermind that it is Hitler day and it celebrates Hitler’s life and legacy, right? As a family, learn what a holiday means, and why we do or do not celebrate it.
Some families don’t mind accepting gifts from friends or family for their children while others prefer to only exchange gifts on Eid. Find what you are most comfortable with, and try to stick with it. It is confusing for friends and family when each year is different, with different expectations. Will you visit family on Christmas day? If so, what do you take part in? Opening the line of communication often and early is best, and can help avoid misunderstandings, in sha Allah.
Winter for the believer
Always remember. Winter is the best season for the believer.
Traditions are so important. My children look forward to Ramadan and Eid. They anticipate the yearly traditions we have created through crafts, cooking and decorating. It’s worth the extra effort.
Shannen Espelien says
I completely agree. The time is an investment! Thanks for stopping by!
MashaAllah, excellent topic and well presented. I especially agree with picking one tradition and keeping it not to get the kids or other family members confused. This is very important as non-Muslim relative see you as confused and that you are not sure what you believe in doing or not doing when you change your “rules” each year. Although, this tends to happen to many families as the age of their children change and the children are able to express their feelings about holidays. May Allah guide us on the straight path.
Shannen Espelien says
Jazak Allah khair for your sweet comment! I’m surprised this year there has been no question on whether we’d participate. We aren’t even invited anywhere, which would have bothered me a few years ago, but it feels freeing, especially with young kids who would get confused.