There is less than a week before Eid. You can eliminate last-minute stress and accelerate the festive part of our holiday by making plans for Eid in advance. Here are some suggestions that can make it joyful for everyone.
1. Get everyone involved in the planning.
Make specific plans for Eid TODAY. Of course, there are priorities such as when and where to attend the Eid prayer. There may also be plans to visit relatives for friends. Consulting teens and even finding out how younger children would like to spend the day can be an important first step. Be sure to listen to their suggestions and concerns. Make a list and creatively fit in Eid fun for everyone.
2. Decorate the house for Eid.
Get everyone involved in the fun and festivity. Use balloons, banners, streamers, lights, and more. There are lots of ideas online if you need inspiration. You can even choose a theme, if you like.
3. Dress the part.
It is a Sunnah to adorn oneself and wear new clothes for Eid. That will take planning if you have a big family. If you can’t afford to buy new outfits though, be sure that everyone’s outfit is clean and pressed, worthy of the festivity. In lieu of a new Eid dress, even a new scarf or jewelry can add nuance to clothes that you already have.
4. Rehearse the Eid Takbeer.
Involve the kids, especially the younger ones, in loud Takbirat while going and returning from the Eid Prayer. Practice reciting this beautiful chant now to build anticipation for the upcoming holiday. There is a simple rendition with the English meaning here. Be sure that everyone understands that this is a means of expressing gratitude to Allah for our blessings. If you have not indulged in this important Sunnah previously, make it a new family tradition.
5. Plan for gift giving.
Giving small gifts can strengthen the bonds between us. Eid is the perfect time to indulge. If you have not already taken care of purchasing gifts for your loved ones, make a plan to shop locally or online as soon as possible. Planning ahead saves not only time, but saves money, too. You’re also more likely to give more thoughtful gifts if you do so. Remember, gifts don’t have to be extravagant or expensive. Why not help children make gifts and cards for one another and other family members? Handmade gifts are generally fondly received because they come from the heart.
6. Make it a teachable moment.
Delve into the deeper meanings of the Eid holidays. For Eid ul-Fitr, learn more about the festive celebrations around the world. There are interesting cultural traditions around clothing, food, Nasheeds or Islamic songs, and more. For Eid ul-Adha, read up on the history of Prophet Ibrahim, Hajar, and Ismail (peace be upon them all), as well as Hajj. You can also research Hajj travelogues, like the Hajj journey of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcom X).
7. Make sure food is part of the festivity.
Plan for what you will be eating in advance. Will there be special or traditional Eid dishes on the menu this year? Are there individual favorites to include? Asking about preferences in advance will avoid confusion and disappointment. In a large family that may mean lots of options, so be flexible. Take the time to plan a menu, shop for ingredients, and even make portions of the meal in advance, too. Children can also be of assistance (just be patient with the mess!). You may also want to make extra (sweets is a great choice here) to share with non-Muslim neighbors, friends, or co-workers.
8. Organize a family road trip.
If you have time in the schedule either on Eid day or the day after, take a family trip for some quality time together. Find a new destination or visit a family favorite. Make even the drive special by reciting the Takbirat, singing or playing Eid songs, indulging in games designed for travel, making special stops for food, shopping, and prayers. Be sure to also check in advance for social distancing policies and closures.
9. Plan for family play time.
Every family’s notion of play can be different. Some love to play board games, others love to sing songs or recite poetry, some watch movies or play video games together. Make a plan for some Eid fun with one another. It may sound odd to call for planning here, but in the busy-ness of our daily routines, fun is not always on the list!
Of course, there can be different definitions of fun within the same family. Let everyone make a suggestion and take turns enjoying one another’s preferences. The point here is to strengthen the bonds and avoid anything that isolates. You may also want to intentionally turn off the cell phones, avoiding both distractions and interruptions. Discussing this ahead of time will also avoid complaints and sends a strong message that family time is important.
10. Share your blessings.
Make a conscious effort as a family to remember the less fortunate. Some suggestions include researching a charity or project for a monetary donation, volunteering your time at a soup kitchen or another community project, and/or donating gently used clothing or toys and books. Encourage each member of the family to donate something. This will build a sense of community spirit and social responsibility.
Eid is a very special time of year for Muslims and their families. We hope these suggestions help you craft meaningful and enjoyable plans for Eid, inshaAllah.