Celebrating the season even if you don’t do Christmas

Last week on my Instagram stories, I shared about a holiday pajamas tradition that has kind of happened with Anya. It started 4 years ago when Anya was very upset we didn’t celebrate Christmas and we were trying to tell her how we could still enjoy the season even if we don’t do Christmas as such .. While technically we could celebrate Christmas, I know lots of Muslim families do that because it’s become a non-religious holiday mostly, I personally find it too much work to do that (i also resonate a little with this point of view) when we already do our own holidays as well (I also think it’s okay for our kids to not have every single thing they want..).. but we do love the holiday season in general and how it brings a little cheer to dark winters so we do try to celebrate the season in our own simple ways..

Here are a few ways we try to celebrate the season:

1: Every year we make it a point to go check out the lighting displays in our city: Snowflake Lake & Garden D’ Lights are two we end up going to every year. I think it could be fun to check out different displays too every year. Bring hot cocoa along and make it a tradition. Last year we were in Pakistan when Christmas came so mama took Anya to see the displays at Serena Hotel in Islamabad (that last photo up there with the Christmas tree). It was really good for Anya to realize that just like Eid, Christmas is also a universal holiday celebrated by people all around the world.

2: The holiday PJs tradition that I shared about earlier is a favorite of mine. This is how it started. I try to make the whole thing into a little ritual, wrap them up nicely and leave them for her as a little surprise somewhere. These are the ones I got this year (affiliate link) (I love this brand on Amazon for kids pajamas).

3: Holiday gifts for your neighbors/friends/kids teachers/colleagues etc – I usually do something small like a candle + some chocolates or cookies but just try to do something even if it’s a gift card and a plant (more on my gift giving philosophy here). I’m realizing how important it is for our kids to see us wishing our friends on their holidays that might be different than our own family’s.

4: This is also a great time to help in the community in whatever way we can – signing up to buy gifts (or even sharing gift cards for grocery stores) for a needy family (keeping an eye out or asking in local groups can help you find families). We also love making bags for homeless during the winter time and keeping them in our car to hand out every time we see someone looking for help.

5: Buying holiday gifts for each other – it can be anything simple or something you already need. I also love asking Bilal if there’s something he’s been wanting to get and ordering that for him and also checking in with Anya.

6: In normal times (everything is different with Covid this year), we love hosting a holiday party too (more on that here and how we gave it a Muslim touch). Make it feel special for kids with this kids table. Especially for those of us living away from families, it’s just fun to gather more with friends through the winters.

7: I love to embrace hygge (if you aren’t familiar with the term, this book is wonderful. Here’s a summary of it) through this time of the year, candles, fireplace, hot drinks, music, board games in front of the fire, random little things.

Do you have any ideas to add?

Lots of love, Nataliya