December 9, 2010

The Lure of Christmas


What is it about Christmas that is so attractive? I"m talking about the commercialized, secular Christmas here. Even here, we can't escape the decorations in shops and the songs at school. There's something about it that just grabs children and adults alike. I don't know if it's because we grew up with it, but I find my self nostalgic for red & green candy and Christmas lights.  Is it because it's such an old tradition, ingrained in our memories? We didn't celebrate it at all as kids, our parent's would not have it, of course. But because we wanted to get in on the fun, my siblings and I got each other "New Years presents".  

 I'm not saying we should copy Christmas.I'm not. I recently came across some photos from an event, an Islamic function called 3mu 3Eid. (Uncle Eid) It was a dude dressed in full gulf Arab gear with a Santa beard and a bag of gifts on his back. How lame is that? It's messed up on several levels.  Do we have to cater to Christmas hungry children to that extent?! NO. That's just selling out. Besides, it's supposing that Muslim = Arab.

We do make a big deal about Eid and we get new clothes and pjs, give gifts, go out and have fun on Eid day, but we need to make our holiday more fun and exciting so it doesn't pale in comparison with Christmas. I know it's not a competition but I want my kids to really love Eid.

I hate to make it sound like we need to commercialize Eid but I'm afraid that's kind of what I'm saying. As much as we try to make Eid fun, and keep traditions for the kids, there's a certain spark missing. Maybe it's as simple as specific Eid candies or decorations that are Eid specific but It kind of saddens me when the kids come home excited because they decorated a Christmas tree in the classroom or because "Santa" came. I don't know, I'm just talking here.

What do you think? What is it about Christmas?

16 comments:

  1. I just read this few minutes before leaving my office and head home. I will come back to reflect on that as I have A LOT to say.
    Thanks for the tackle :)

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  2. I completely agree!! I grew up with Christmas since I was raised Christian and get so sad thinking that my son won't have "as much fun" on Eid. It's just not the same for some reason, and it makes me feel upset. I'm planning on doing a lot more for Eid next year inshAllah to make it much better. Here's hoping.

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  3. I love Christmas too! I used to love staring up at the North Star from my window and thinking about the three wise men staring at the same star making their way to baby jesus haha.

    Eid isn't AS exciting for kids maybe because there's that month run up for one eid, then on the day there's the slaughter.. not to say that Eid isn't exciting though, families getting together, gifts, lanterns.

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  4. Growing up, I've always respected Eid. But I personally believe that commercializing it would defeat it's purpose. I've always regarded eid as a personal Holiday that's just for Muslims. We enjoy the western holidays but Eid is all ours :D Haha I could only imagine what the commercials would look like :P Back to the question. Well living in Canada, ofcourse Christmas is everywhere. I just love the christmas spirit everyone gets in to. Plus the snow/winter wonderland thingy. I also think it's the cartoons. Growing up I was so used to watching christmas specials and the idea of santa claus. The homes that are decorated fancy on the outside and stuff the lights etc.. is a BIG one for me. Looks so beautiful *sigh* But hamdolilah at the end of the day I sort of knew that I'd always be different from them.

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  5. Salaam sis. Once again, convert weighing in here. I love Christmas time, the family dinners, the decorations, the songs! All of it. Alhamdulillah when I became Muslim I gave it up but still celebrated it vicariously through my family; I always had Christmas dinner with them as it was the one time a year we all got together.

    I miss it, of course, but I don't think we should push Eid in the same direction. I do want to decorate for it but not over the top, get the kids each a nice but not extravagant $$$ gift, and spend fun time together as a family. That's really the extent of what we as a family are willing to do. Well my husband and I that is! :-)

    I still look at all the beautiful Christmas lights and love to hear the music playing in stores though...

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  6. Mona I totally agree! I plan on buying led lights and making it a point to decorate the house the night before Eid. Next year, we will be making greeting cards and forcing relatives to send us greeting cards as well. There will be gifts (there were many this year) and like this year, more and more candies, fun cookies and traditional eid dishes.
    I think we don't do enough because not many people are. We need to take a break from whatever is happening in the outside world for the time and make sure we talk Eid UP!
    We're teaching Monster about Hazret Maryem and Hazret Isa (pbu them) where ever we see a statue or decorated house etc. Parenting is such a work in progress that we're just going to wing it when the times comes to say not to a pine tree in the house lolz.

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  7. What I loved about Christmas was the atmosphere and the fact that everyone was celebrating it. You don't get that same feeling about Eid in a non Muslim country, I want Eid to be special for my kids so we're creating our own traditions, so far we have our LED Eid lights :)

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  8. Dr. N, looking forward to your views, growing up in the Middle East and living now in the States.

    Lala, I actually asked my kids and they said it was decorations and gifts so maybe my kids will start exchanging gifts next year instead of just receiving.

    Jaz, Aw that's cute, We don't ever really do the slaughter and I always feel like Eid al Fitr is more exciting cause of the FOOOOD, lol.

    Perfectly Imperfect, See we don't do any Christmas celbration so we really have to hype up Eid for the kids. I agree, the cartoons, movies and snowy wonderland feel is definitely a factor.

    Umm Aamina, Christmas lights are so pretty and I miss driving around and seeing them.

    Ayesha, I like the greeting card idea. I agree, I'm going to make a big deal next year too. I think that all the time, parenting is so mulitfaceted. Lol as pretty as trees are, I always thought it was odd to take a tree from the forest and put it in your house.

    Muslim Convert, Even here, in a Musilm majority country somehow Eid is taken for granted and Christmas is exciting to the kids. Eid is definitely a big deal here though, decorations, people talking about their Eid outfits and shopping etc.

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  9. I agree with you, the kids get more excited about Christmas than Eid!

    In our school we decorate for Christmas, get the tree, have Christmas parties and Santa comes. It's fun!

    But when it's Eid we don't do anything? Why? Teacher's are not supposed to talk about religion with the kids. Although the majority of our kids are Muslim the only people who talk about Eid with them are the religion teachers. I think it's kind of sad. With Christmas you can avoid the religious aspect and just talk about Santa and reindeer and whatever so people think it's ok.

    I know many of the kids in my class have christmas trees and santa visits them at home, even though they are not Christians.

    My mum's famil celebrate Christmas and we are heading back to England for Christmas this year (We did last year too). It's a good time for us to take a holiday since I'm a teacher and we have time off. We receieve presents and she has a christmas tree at home. We take presents for them too. And we have a yummy Christmas dinner too.

    Next year though we won't be going back for Christmas and I'm kinda sad that the fun of decorating the christmas tree and stuff won't happen. But I do have some plans for Ramadan and eid when Nora gets bigger to make it fun for her.

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  10. Ok, I am back. When I was a little girl there wasn’t as much celebration in the Middle East for Christmas as it is now. I think this follow the trend of westernizing everything. And Eid celebrations were more glamorous and exciting than now.
    Now to be honest, I love Christmas time here in the US. It adds some glory in the air. I don’t think that we can copy that same atmosphere into you Eids. It’s completely different. Even in the Middle East, Christmas doesn’t have the same sparkle that it has in America. As for your Eid, I tried to have similar trends specially when my two oldest girls were young and that was during my first years in the US. I used to buy decorations for the house and put lots and lots of balloons that said Happy Eid. But I stopped doing that after they grew up may be because I got assured that they understand the occasion and no need to brag about it anymore.
    I love to hear the Christmas songs, smell that special fragrance that is tied with it. But I don’t feel that I want to do it; neither do my kids…..at least I think!!

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  11. I didn't grow up celebrating Christmas, but I did grow up in the US, which celebrates it excessively :). I always saw "through" and realized it for what it really is in Western society. A commercialized holiday. And lets face it who doesn't like, shopping for gifts, eating, and getting together with family. These are all things that we do for Eid, but Eid is even better because of the spirituality in it. The dua's the salah, etc.

    So for me and my family there isn't a "lure".

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  12. Amalia, You explained it perfectly. Have a great trip!

    Dr. N, You're right, it's about westernization. Even Halloween's starting to show up here.

    Zanjabil, That's commendable, I hope my kids can see it that way as well.

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  13. I think what it comes to is tradition. I think it's important for all families regardless of their faith to create family traditions unique to their situation. I think Christmas in North America is a beautiful time to reflect, be with family and be grateful, However it has become far from that in many homes. It's become a burden for families to keep up with all the monetary sharing they must do and debt they accrue as a result.

    I think Eid is commercialized in Muslim countries just as much as Christmas is in the Western world.

    I think it's challenging for parents to keep up with all the awesome things that come along with the tag of Christmas.

    My family used to celebrate Christmas when we were younger. We would decorate the tree and get presents, although it had no religious significance, it was more of an American holiday for us.

    If I wasn't living in the West and had no concept of Christmas and what it means, I would never have missed it :)

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  14. Organica, thanks, that was fast. I agree with the monetary burden and keeping up part. It's out of hand. I never thought of Eid being commercialized here but maybe I'm not looking at it from that perspective.Thanks for your feedback.

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  15. we celebrate krismas in our family but we try not to make it into a crazy thing. When I was a kid I got so much stuff that it would take up the whole living room and spill into the hallway. I have a twin sister so the toys would be double. I want to spoil my so with presents but I also want him to know the true spirit of Christmas is giving and being with loved ones. There is way too much Christmas hype so I can understand why kids of different faiths feel left out or get less excited over their own celebrations.

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  16. Salaam Alaikum,

    I think about this a lot too. We sort of have a Christmas with my parents, we exchange gifts and meet up either the weekend before or afterwards (because I usually work Xmas). We're a bit lazy for eid, but as Oreo gets older, we'll make sure we do the decorations, special food and presents thing. I agree in making Eid a big deal.

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Thanks for commenting!