Every year I let my family know that I will not celebrate Christmas with them. Last year, my mother gave us gifts that said they were from Santa Claus. At that time, I was pregnant, and it became even more important for me that we distance ourselves from non-Islamic religious holidays. I know how time grows every year, and I hate making my parents feel so bad. I’m not quite sure how to explain this to them anymore. I was stuck between my mother with serious anxiety and my husband, who does not quite understand why it is so difficult for them. Another year goes by, and now I have a little girl, and I have to explain to my mother why I cannot see her at this time of year. I just saw them last month, and my mother already said that she bought Christmas presents. What should I do or tell them to make it easier?
You have a difficult time adjusting the value of Christmas for your parents, while at the same time wanting to raise your daughter, adhering to Islamic traditions. Looks like your husband doesn’t understand how tense you feel when you disappoint your parents year after year. You and your husband may not have discussed in detail how you will celebrate the holidays, given that your parents come from a different tradition before marrying. Since your experience is completely insignificant to your husband, he may not understand the meaning of the holiday for your parents and the traditions that they created with you in childhood. Parents whose children convert to Islam may find it very difficult to understand that “family traditions” will no longer be celebrated because of the new beliefs of their child.
You and your husband will need to discuss how you want to go to the holidays with your parents and share this information with your parents. Each family prefers to manage holidays in different ways, and these opinions may change as their children grow older. Depending on what is convenient for you, you can distance yourself from your family together during the holidays or you can join your parents according to their tradition. You and your husband will have to decide together what is best for your family. If you share with your parents that you are not celebrating Christmas, and they insist on giving you and your children gifts, you and your husband need to reconcile the idea of accepting gifts from the family. Is it a challenge to your faith or the expression of love and generosity from your parents? Emulate the love you have for your parents, understanding where they came from, and communicate with them with your thoughts and views. As your children grow and new traditions develop, your parents can learn to adapt their traditions to what is more convenient for you and your husband, and even join you in your religious traditions.