Undoubtedly, Eid is a special time for Muslims, children and adults alike. What makes it extra special is the quality time spent with family, friends and the community. It doesn’t have to mean spending a huge amount of time and money on buying food, toys and clothing for our family.
These days, some Muslims living in Western countries try to overcompensate their children for not being able to join-in with the non-Muslim festivities by overspending on them at Eid time. Sadly, it has become materialistic. We spend large amounts of money on lavish food, so that we end up spending the last day of Ramadan in the kitchen preparing elaborate meals and delicacies for Eid. The result is that we tend to overeat on Eid, and it’s as if Ramadan has taught us nothing about moderation. Remember that Allah says in the Qur’an:
“O Children of Adam! Take your adornment (by wearing your clean clothes), while praying and going round (the Tawaf of) the Ka’bah, and eat and drink but waste not by extravagance, certainly He (Allah) likes not Al-Musrifun (those who waste by extravagance)”. (Al-Araf, Chapter #7, Verse #31)
Buying presents for children on Eid is not what makes Eid special. I learned this years ago when I went to Indonesia. I had bought presents for some children, and when I gave it to them they looked at me and wondered what it was for. They opened their toys and went back to playing with each other. I learned then that Eid is a more a time to spend with each other and interacting with family and friends.
It’s shouldn’t be time to spend a lot of money to buy toys for our kids. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against giving presents on Eid, especially if it’s from the heart and if it has meaning. But if it’s extravagant, where the present is given just because the child has to have a specific toy or must get a gift, then it loses the specialness. Where I live (Australia), before Eid, Muslims are in toy shops buying the latest toy or electronic game for their kids, and God forbid, it seems that we lose the essence of Eid by turning it into a gift-giving Christmas.
Then too, the only requirement for the clothing that we wear on Eid day is that it should be your best clothes. It can be new, but does not have to be, and it certainly does not have to be fancy. I’m sure that if we look in our child’s closet, we’ll find a special outfit that has hardly been worn at all, and can be worn again for Eid.
So How Can We Make Eid Special without Spending Too Much?
Cook one special meal
Choose only one special meal that is traditional to cook for Eid. In Indonesia, there is a special curry-like soup that is eaten with rice cakes, each region and family has its own version. When we first got married, my husband had his mum teach me how to make her version, and ever since then, this is the only dish that I make for Eid. We eat this dish, and if anyone visits us, we serve this dish to them as well. My children look forward to this dish every Eid. They even ask for it on other days, but they know that it’s only served on Eid so it makes it extra special.
Since Eid is about visiting family and friends, for lunch we go to my mum and have her traditional Vietnamese soup. Dinner is usually at one of my sibling’s place and we all bring a dish to share. In between these meals, we visit friends so there is snacking all day. What this shows, is how you don’t need to cook a lot of dishes on Eid.
If you don’t have extended family, then you can cook one special meal together. Spend this time cooking as a family and choose a dish that you’d like to be traditional for your family. Let your children be involved, no matter how young or old they are. Don’t forget that your husband can have a hand in it too! In this way you can create your own special tradition that your family can look forward to.
Make meaningful gifts
Instead of buying the latest expensive toys, you can try making something that you know your children will like and appreciate. You and your children can make something for their dad – it can be as simple as a poster that says ‘Best Dad Ever!’. Another idea for gifts, is for everyone to make coupons to give to one another. A coupon would allow the holder to a special privilege that he or she can ‘cash’ in.
For example, you can make a couple of coupons for your children and husband that says “This coupon entitles the holder (name) to 20 minutes of my undivided attention (privilege)” or “This coupon allows the holder (name) to have a special meal (name of meal) cooked for him/her”. Your children might want to write something like “This entitles the holder (mum) to 30 minutes of peace and quiet from me” or “This allows the holder to have 20 minutes of my (name)’s assistance around the house.” You can have fun thinking up things to do for each other.
If you need some help, click on the images to get free printable gift-giving coupons from my website.
Spruce up one item of clothing to make it special
Instead of buying a new or expensive fanciful outfit that your children will probably only wear once this Eid, look in their closet and find an outfit from a previous Eid that still fits them. You can add a new bow or sash to a girl’s outfit.
Boys are easy. If they’ve been wearing a special jilbab for Friday prayers, then let them wear this for Eid. If they don’t want to wear this, then take a pair of their best trousers, and all you have to do is buy a new shirt or top. No fuss and less expense. Don’t teach your kids to be so conscious of clothing, that they have to wear the latest fashion or brand names to feel well-dressed.
If you follow these three steps, then your children’s Eid should still be fun without you being extravagant and over-indulgent. What other ideas do you have that is fun and not extravagant for Eid? Let me know by commenting below.