If you’re not Christian, do you take time off for the winter holiday season? I feel like all my homeschooling resources for free printables and Kindle books are all put on hold for me until after the Christmas season is over. So what do we do in the meantime? Well, keep doing what we’re doing for one, but I think it also deserves attention to study the history of Christmas.
As Muslims, we are called to be mindful of everything we do, and that means knowing what celebrations are really celebrating, and only participating in that which is beneficial. To be fair, our family does have dinner around the Christmas holiday and our parents typically gives us gifts. We have said that we don’t give gifts on Christmas, but rather we are joining them for a time of gathering. Frankly, we would be burning more bridges than building them if we abruptly walked away from their treasured holiday. Given the fact that my husband and I are the only Muslims in either one of our families makes it that much more important for our kids to understand why we don’t celebrate it at home, and we try to only have a small dinner with our parents and not take part in the larger Christmas celebration and preparation of Christmas of our families.
Christmas should never trump Eid in the family of a Muslim. Since we are living as a religious minority, that only means we have to try that much harder to make Eid special for our kids, and they will not feel like they are missing out on anything. When Eid comes around, we should be talking about the history of the holiday and why we celebrate, just like we discuss the history of holidays we don’t celebrate, and why we don’t.
The History Channel has some great videos on the history of all major holidays we see in the United States. What was the original intention of the holiday? Why did people celebrate the holiday and partake in the activities? What are the purposes of the various traditions? These are questions we should instill in our children from early on. Simply following the crowd, or doing things only for the sake of tradition that have other meaning, are not ways of being mindful of our actions.
For those Muslims that still partake in Christmas in their homes, don’t roast me on this one. We are all in our own places in our journey, but this journey should being moving forward, inshaAllah. Being mindful of all our actions is a major component to taqwa (God consciousness), and that includes knowing why we are doing what we are doing. If our actions don’t have roots that agree with in our lives today, we should inshaAllah work towards removing the heart’s attachment.