Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Party

I'm going to my job's Christmas party tomorrow night. I'm looking forward to seeing my co-workers. Been used to seeing them every day for over 3 years and now I've seen them once in the past 2 months! It'll be nice.


I have literally no negative feelings about attending a Christmas party as a Muslim. I'll always attend Christmas parties if I get invited and have any desire to attend. It's a tradition that I enjoy and even if it doesn't mean the same thing to me as others I don't care. I take from it what is important to me personally. Actually, here in Quebec, it has a religious meaning to very few people. We are simply not a religious bunch... It's good because it makes it much easier for me to celebrate things in ways that are not religious and not confuse myself or the kids or give me any feelings of guilt. And it's bad because people often don't respect religious people or people who simply believe in God. Yeah, in my age group most people I know would probably consider themselves atheists or agnostics who don't care and don't believe we should think about God. This makes it difficult for me to even want to admit that I believe in God and even more than I'm Muslim but I think the good outweighs the bad for me since I see religion as a very personal thing and don't have a problem keeping it to myself for the most part.

Any other Muslims doing something for Christmas?

9 Comentários:

Nikki said...

I gave up the guilt about Christmas last year. This will be my third Christmas as a Muslim and I am more sure of my faith than ever before, but also more comfortable than ever accepting the fact that I don't want to forget about or "shun" the idea of Christmas. I love giving gifts (and receiving's not bad..., lol) and I love gathering with family. I hate that my son's at an age where everyone is "santa this" and "santa that" because I was trying to leave santa out of his christmas experience, but it's not the worst thing to happen. I also hate that my son's at an age where he doesn't understand religious difference, but does know what mommy and daddy believe. You read my post on facebook...it's just very difficult with everyone in a "Jesus" mood and my son announcing every 10 minutes that "Jesus is Not God's Son!" I'm glad that he's got it down, but worried about who he might offend at the same time. The family KNOWS what we believe, but it's one of those things that is only "okay" because we don't talk about it. My son certainly challenges that daily! Do you put up a tree at home and do your children get gifts? We just have a tree at grandma's but we are staying here so it's like having a tree of our own. I want to make Christmas a specifically "with the grandparents" holiday, our house has a few snowmen decorations and that is all, and that is how I plan on keeping it.

Anisah said...

I do the tree and presents, but don't do a religious Christmas. A lot of Americans do this, even if they claim to be religious.

From what you said, religion isn't big up there like it is in the US. I need to move up there!

Anisah

Becky said...

I never gave up Christmas while I was Muslim, didn't feel a need to.

Now that I'm not really anything, I'm not giving it up either.

For me it's a chance to spend time with my family and enjoy their happiness :)

How did the Christmas aprty go?

Candice said...

Nikki: I'm glad you feel comfortable and happy about Christmas! It really is a great time to be with family.
It's cute about your son really. He's so young too! My daughter doesn't have any sense of what God might be - we haven't gotten to that yet I guess. It has never come up which might sound weird... But it's true. I guess people here are generally not religious and I take it as something very private.

Anisah: Yeah, you could move here and avoid all the religious stuff, but you'd be stuck with crap about reasonable accomodation and crap about the French language.

Becky: The Christmas party was nice! The eating part lasted way too long... I barely had time to talk to the ones I wasn't sitting with because we were there at the table until 10:30pm and had games and gift exchange after! But it was really good food and it was still nice to see everyone at least a little. No one went crazy this year - they had no time to! Last year we did it at the office with a buffet style thing so people had waaaaay too much time to drink and with the open bar and the boss passing dozens of shooters every 10 minutes we had a couple people go overboard. Anyway... That's another story!!

Anisah said...

Candice,

I love men with French accents lol.

If I can survive in Amman living with my in-laws who didn't speak English, I can survive in a place that is bi-lingual.

Have a fun party!

Anisah

SoulSearcher said...

Hi guys, I just came across this post and it got me thinking.. I live in the UK, and I know that the culture of where we live can affect how we live, but for me personally, regardless of what i've been surrounded by, christmas has never meant anything more than having loads of films to watch on tv durng the holidays! oh, and being stuck on where to get milk and bread on christmas day because for some reason - even when you think you have enough - it always seems to run out on the day! As a kid at school, we'd give out cards and receive them, and use that as a basis to judge how popular we were, but I stopped being into that when I was about 8 so after that it's never really meant anything!

If i'm honest, and this really isn't intended to offend anyone, i've always found it sad when i've seen muslim's celebrating xmas, or any of the non-muslim festivities, simply because it's not our holiday.. Of course giving presents, dressing up, having lovely food, seeing family is lovely, but we have eids and lots of excuses during the year to do that kinda stuff no?..

Saying that, I never really considered the position of what it would be like if you're family's not muslim.. I know that's when they celebrate and meet and get together etc.. it must be tough.

Anyway, I'm not hear to pass judgement on anyone at all, and I wouldn't have written anything but you got me thinking about feelings i'm currently experiencing.. So my uncle recently married to someone who was from a greek/irish background, who embraced islam, and judging by her fb updates, she's gone xmas crazy! and for some reason it really is winding me up!

Reading your post and everyone's comments did get me to think about and understand her sentiment and position towards xmas a bit more and I think my negativity is linked in with a whole lot of other stuff.. She hardly made any effort on eid to celebrate with us. We are a very inclusive family, and would have loved to share the day with her and her mum (who's not a muslim but always invited), but she didn't come for prayers or our traditional family eid morning big breakfast, she then turned up for an hour or so and barely showed her face wearing normal everyday clothes, and then went.. Then I think about how much she cried before she was married about wanting to be part of the family and experiencing what my uncle had told her about but her actions don't follow..

I haven't really spoken about my feelings regarding this with anyone, and I know you guys might be thinking i'm a bit militant, but I just want to know your perspective?? Do i have any right to be annoyed at her for seemingly embracing Islam, but not really being a part of it. I mean, I know it's between her and Allah but she has a baby, and I feel really sad that her lovely daughter won't grow up loving and appreciating the special moments Islam can give like eid, ramadhan, hajj, etc, and instead will also grow up only being excited about xmas!

what are your thought??

Candice said...

We don't have the same accent as the French though. Someone from here trying to speak English might as well be coming from another first language than the France French from the way he sounds. I still like their accent though :)

Candice said...

SoulSearcher:

I'm glad this topic got you thinking. I'm a relatively new Muslim but I have gone through more than one Eid since I converted (and experienced a couple before conversion too), which is a lot more than a very new convert experiencing his or her first and STILL at this point, I have trouble feeling the "specialness" of the holidays.

It sounds like your uncle's new wife is having a hard time finding the festive spirit too. The traditions are not the same so already it's not something that excites us automatically. I found that it took a lot of effort for me to be even a little excited about Ramadan and the Eids and that my husband's traditions bored me. At first I wasn't interested in doing the things that he found festive. To me, it was not festive.

This past Ramadan I combined some traditions in hopes that we could all feel festive in this blessed time. It was something that I, as a new Muslim needed to "feel" the holiday.

Don't be too hard on your uncle's new wife. I've heard things similar to what I just wrote out from other converts. Celebrating Eid doesn't come naturally to everyone even if they have accepted Islam. I hope that with time she will find it easier and I hope that she will do her part to make efforts to be part of the family. Obviously attending prayers and breakfast and dressing like it's an important event would go a long way and it's something she would need to do.

Zain Christopher said...

Christmas is a touchy subject for many, especially western converts. Our response should be an informed one, however. Understanding the historical aspects of the celebration is extremely important. The pagan roots associated with the celebration are no secret and should inform those who participate in it. It can be a difficult transition to make for people new to Islam, especially if their families use it as a time to proselytize. It’s not uncommon for non-Muslim family members to send gifts even when requested not to. This presents another problem. Our tradition informs us that the Prophet (AS) suggested his companions not refuse gifts from family members who opposed Islam but to accept them with grace. Refusing such gifts (assuming it’s not a bottle of wine, etc.) can cause resentment and substantiate accusations that Muslims are intolerant. The mashaykh have suggested we take a middle path, i.e., not to participate nor shun. Accept the gift but don’t emulate; those who do may be considered of them. Use these interactions as opportunities for da’wah. Reciprocate, when it’s appropriate, with an ‘Id gift−explain we have an ‘Id every Friday and invite them to Jumu’ah (no need to wait until summer).

The fact that Christmas is often considered no longer religious in its orientation is not a logical reason to celebrate it. This should cause us to use greater, not less, caution in our approach for if it had any true relation to Jesus (AS), it could at least be afforded legitimacy. The practice of decorating trees and placing gifts (offerings) beneath them, however, should arose our suspicion. Are we partaking in behavior pleasing to Allah and his messenger? Why, in the Book of Jeremiah, are the Jews warned against cutting down, propping up and subsequently decorating trees? Should that sanction be of concern to us, i.e., ‘not to do as the pagans do’? We must peer into the origins of Christmas ritual and understand the reasons it was coopted by the Catholic Church 350 CE and why later it was banned for more than a decade in the seventeenth century by Britain and the colonial leaders in America. These are important considerations we should be looking into.

Christmas is not like akin to observing a day of independence or thanksgiving in that its foundation is not secular. I’ve not heard and of my mashaykh or other righteous ulema say that celebrating the religious observances of others is permissible (be they People of the Book or otherwise. ‘Ashura is a notable exception as it was recognized by the Prophet that we are closer to Musa (AS) than the Jews of Medina were). As Muslims, we can reap a few benefits from it nonetheless. Most people have the day off and can make use of family time. Those who are working often have the option of making overtime and it can be a warm gesture to volunteer to work so that others who do celebrate are able to do so (perhaps when an ‘Id comes along, they’ll return the favor). What the mashaykh warn against is not unlike the hukm in the Book of Jeremiah, however. Wishing someone “happy holidays” and accepting gifts is one thing; decorating trees, attending parties and wishing people “Merry Christmas” is quite another. Let your research inform your decisions not cultural influence. ‘Read: and your Lord is most gracious, who taught by the pen, taught man that which he knew not.’

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