With the holidays just around the corner, it can be especially intimidating as a Muslim parent to partake in the holiday spirit. Even though my family does not celebrate seasonal holidays, we often are invited to seasonal events, work parties and holiday potlucks; you know how it goes in December, right?
Something I have learned over the years as a young adult and, now as a parent, is that gift giving is a fundamental way to bridge the gap between faiths and promote a culture with positive inter-faith dialogue, so I am sharing some of my favourite ways that I promote gift giving in my family. As a Canadian Muslim, partaking in the spirit of kindness, acceptance and inclusion that the holidays bring is such a critical piece in preserving the essence of being a Canadian.
Okay, let’s get to it! Below are THREE easy gift-giving ideas for you that can be handy this holiday season!
Give Your Co-workers and Friends a Thoughtful Handmade Gift!
I think handmade gifts add such a genuine and thoughtful touch to gifting that store bought items just can’t replicate. This is why I love taking a DIY approach to gift giving for my coworkers and classmates (since I am still in school). Although a handmade gift can seem intimidating and off-putting, there are definitely many resources and guides online that are simple enough even for the type of person who struggles to find their inner artiste.
Pinterest is a great resource for finding easy to follow crafts, like this Mason Jar Hot Apple Cider Cinnamon Spice Mix I made for friends and coworkers last year. This tutorial was great fun, featured free printable labels for your final project and only took 5 minutes to put together (for those on the go).
Spoil Your Neighbours with a Seasonal Box!
One of my favourite things to do is spoil my neighbours! Neighbours have such as special place in my faith as a Muslim and I truly believe in showing them kindness and treating them like an extension of your family. One of the ways I get into the spirit of giving is by putting together a box of goodies once or twice a year (keeping in mind any allergies) and taking them over. Since we have a toddler now, it is even more fun and special to get to share this tradition with her.
I usually put these goodie boxes around the holiday season and on other holidays like Eid. Since I moved into a new neighbourhood this fall, I put together a box with a pumpkin (the kids next door decorated this!), a blend of tea and some apple cider mix (see above!) for our neighbours.
Host a Hot Cocoa Party!
Who doesn’t love hot chocolate? Every year, at the holidays, I love having friends over for some hot cocoa. I set up a hot cocoa station, ask everyone to bring a board game, a dessert and we have a great time. It’s a great seasonal way to give back by hosting someone, without celebrating any particular religious holiday.
For this particular party, I even bought festive Starbucks red cups, set out delicious toppings for hot cocoa and let everyone go to town with the whipped cream. Needless to say, you can modify this to be kid friendly, invite your neighbours over and engage in gift-giving in a non-traditional sense.
I hope you found these tips useful! I will definitely be having a hot cocoa party this year with my friends and co-workers. I encourage you to join-in and give some thoughtful gifts to others this holiday season, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. It truly fosters a sense of community and trust that is key to an inclusive and accepting society.