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Is it Christmas?

I know it probably sounds weird coming from me, (a Muslim) but Christmas, is my favorite holiday season; it’s always festive and full of cheer.
This year however, it seems to be lacking a certain ingredient from my point of view.
Past Christmases there was the excitement, bustling of Christmas shopping, the bundling up to keep warm and the malls and quite a few stores would be decorated in anticipation for the holiday. If I hadn’t gone to two Christmas Bazaars, then I doubt I would have even noticed the holiday was upon us.
I think part of the reason why I haven’t felt like it was Christmas, is because the weather unlike parts of Europe and North America is still fairly warm and it doesn’t give off the Christmas card vibe. There are less and less malls and stores decorating their windows and halls as they used to. More and more Muslim radicals are making those who’s birth right it is to celebrate the birth of Christ feel uncomfortable celebrating it proudly. I was saddened by the news that Christian Iraqi’s weren’t going to have their Christmas service and were told to keep a low profile. To add the sadness, on Christmas Eve in Nigeria a Muslim sect killed at least 38 people for celebrating Christmas.
*Shaking my head in disbelief, whilst thinking to myself, “What is the world and its inhabitants coming to? No wonder the world have such a bad image of us and think we are all terrorists!! These buffoons are ruining and mis-interpreting the teachings of our religion and twisting it in their favor to bring harm on to others. When our religion teaches us acceptance and tolerance and to treat everyone human with the respect that they deserve)
 Living alone also subtracts from the mood, but to try and rectify it, I went and bough some Christmas decorations for my house to give it more of a Christmassy feeling. The main reason I think is that the school I work at doesn’t celebrate it, so there weren’t any holiday cards being made or carols being sung.
With all the negativity that seems to be looming and surrounding the occasion, I still love the spirit of the holiday. I love the greetings and well wishes that are sent by post, e-mail, text and facebook. I love seeing people wearing the colors of the season and smiling and children getting excited!
Now that I am home with my family and I see the decorations, exchanged gift that had been placed under the tree, helped my mother in the kitchen cook Christmas Dinner, baked the mince pies and sat around the table enjoying each other’s company and the delicious meal, it is beginning to feel a lot more like Christmas!
My prayers go out to those whose flights were grounded and were stuck in an airport unable to make it home in time, those who live in a country of turmoil and conflict.
My Christmas wish to everyone for the coming year, (as cliché as it might sound and be) is health, happiness and peace.

I am one of those lucky individuals that gets to celebrate Ramadan, Eid, Christmas and Easter. Being of mixed ethnicity and having a mother from a different religious faith does have its advantages!

 Christmas like Ramadan is a very special time of year in our house hold. We, spend a lot of quality time together laughing, telling stories, gift giving and preparing for Christmas Day Dinner! It’s the meal I look forward to all year. (I guess its how a lot of American’s feel about Thanksgiving dinner). My Parents are both very good cooks, but my father can’t shine a light next to my mother when it comes to the delicious food that she makes on Christmas Day, it’s made with so much love that it could knock you out! A meal my father GREATLY enjoyed!

 The food isn’t the only thing that I love about Christmas it’s the magic that revolves around it. Watching children opening their advent calendars counting down the days until St. Nicholas comes. The sound of carol singing that fills the air and has the ability to make you tingle with excitement and make you want to burst in to song too. The generosity of people and seeing people smile as they look forward to the up coming holiday and remember past ones too. In Saudi Arabia and in Egypt the expatriate community would have been working all year making crafts to sell at bazaars for the holiday season and seeing their latest creations of patch work and ornaments was something I always looked forward to. The concerts and Christmas parties created a joyous and festive ambiance and got everyone in the mood.

 As a child Christmas Eve was the night I would look forward to most, leaving a plate of cookies and a carrot for the jolly old man and his reindeer, having my mother read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ to us even though we knew it off by heart. I also remember the torture of being so giddy with excitement that it would take me forever to go to sleep and I would try my very best to stay awake in the hopes that I would be able to catch a glimpse of the generous man dressed in red who would leave my sister and I beautifully wrapped gifts under the tree.

Then to wake up on the morning of Christmas and find that the carrot had been taken for Rudolf, Santa’s trusty reindeer and that there were crumbs left on the plate and the glass of milk had been drunk!! ‘He really is real!’ would be the thought that would race through my head! And then be quickly forgotten once the presents were in sight!

 We are older now and Christmas is still as important to us now as it was then, but it has a much deeper meaning. It’s the time I spend with my family that I treasure most about the holiday. It brings out the kid in me and my parents. Taking my mother to midnight mass and listening to the sermon, the organ and the choir sing.  I love being able to buy them gifts and watch their faces light up with appreciation, helping my Mum cook the most delicious meal and serve it to our close friends. Hear my father complain how stuffed he is with a huge satisfied grin on his face. Having friends and relatives sending us holiday cards and call us to wish us a Merry Christmas.

 It’s a holiday that reminds me of what I have and what I am grateful for.

What is it you love about the holidays?