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How My Muslim Family Celebrates Christmas

If you know me, you know Christmas has always been my favorite holiday (with Halloween coming in second). I’m one of those people who, right after Halloween ends, starts listening to Christmas music and really gets into the spirit of the holiday season. Yes, I completely ignore Thanksgiving — sue me. It could just be that we have winter break, but there’s something about the holiday season that puts me in a really great mood.  Ever since I was little, my family and I never celebrated Christmas in your typical way. Growing up in a Muslim South Asian household, I don’t even think we would be doing anything for Christmas all these years if it wasn’t for me. So, let me introduce you a little bit to how my family celebrates the Christmas season.

Like a majority of people, my mom and I put up a tree for the holiday season. However, it’s not your typical tree. Our tree is extremely small and, not to mention, artificial. She’s very cute though and has held up all these years! At the beginning of December every year, we decorate the tree with little ornaments and tassels. Since the tree is so small, we put the gifts not under the tree, but next to it, as our gifts start coming in.

Cut to Christmas Day. My mom and I spend our day watching your classical Christmas movies (such as The Santa Clause, Elf, Home Alone, etc.), playing board games (usually Monopoly), and sometimes baking cookies at night. Again, we don’t really have any other family members come over since in my Muslim household, I’m 100% sure I’m the only one who cares this much about the holiday. At this point, you may be wondering, “What about the presents?” Well, that’s actually where it gets interesting. 

Now, I’m not exactly sure why, but ever since I was a kid my family put a unique twist when it came to Christmas and presents. Instead of the usual tradition of exchanging presents on Christmas Day, we actually exchange presents on New Years Day. Why? I have absolutely no idea. I think it’s safe to say this is where my family stands out the most when it comes to celebrating the holiday season.

As a kid I used to think it was really odd that we used to put our own twist on holidays, such as Christmas, but I’ve actually come to really appreciate our unique family traditions. At the end of the day, Christmas is all about spending time with your family, and after all, why do it in the same old-fashioned way instead of creating your own traditions? 

I hope you enjoyed taking a walk through my family traditions, and if you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about any traditions your family has for celebrating the holiday season!

Fizza Rizvi

UC Irvine '23

Fizza Rizvi is a coffee enthusiast who enjoys spending her free time reading, finding new places to eat with friends, and watching crime tv shows. She is currently pursuing her bachelors in both Psychology and Criminology, Law and Society, with the goal of raising more awareness in society about issues that heavily impact people’s lives.
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