While many like to travel during this time, the benefit of a staycation remains, not just in terms of safety from illness, as well as affordability, but also as a way to build spirituality.
The shorter days of winter make it easier to catch up on missed fasts from Ramadan. Fast and recreate a Ramadan meal at Iftar time, featuring dates and winter fare, like soups and s’mores. If you have older children, have them help prepare the Iftar meals or take over them completely.
If you and your family and friends are fully vaccinated and feel safe meeting, host an Iftar. Also feel free to add those who can’t make it via Zoom or FaceTime.
2. Tahajjud and/or Qiyaam
Fajr begins later in winter, and the nights are long. This makes it easier to wake up for Tahajjud, as well as to offer Qiyaam, continuous prayer during nighttime. “The best prayer after the obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” (Sahih Muslim). Don’t pass up this opportunity to become closer to God. Wake up family members to join you as well.
3. Family/friends Quran challenge
Memorize a new Surah for every week of winter break as a family or with a group of friends. Learn their translation as well. Encourage each other by texting daily reminders to memorize. Whoever memorizes the most gets a prize.
4. Build a Masjid in your home
Designate a part of your home, no matter how small, as your prayer area. Decorate it with Islamic art and calligraphy, bookshelves filled with copies of the Quran and Islamic books, and beautiful prayer rugs.
5. Story time
Every few nights, over hot chocolate, cookies, and dimmed lights, have family members share a story on an Islamic theme. Ideas include being hopeful, gratefulness, Jesus in Islam, and death. You can do this in-person or virtually.
6. Raise Money Online For Your Local Masjid
The pandemic has hit our Masjids very hard, as donations are often given in person, especially during Ramadan - when many Masjids were in lockdown or at reduced capacity. In winter break, fundraise online for your local mosque. Share the link for online donations. See if there is some way to host your own online fundraising drive.
7. Raise money online for your local food bank
8. Look For And Serve The Homeless
Winter is one of the deadliest and hardest times for the homeless, when cold weather can not just make them sick, but literally kill. If you see a homeless person asking for help, offer them what you can in terms of cash. You can also make small bags of items that can help them stay warm and safe. These include mittens, hats, scarves, hand and toe warmers, sanitizer, snacks, and a water bottle. If you feel comfortable, buy them a warm meal and drink.
You can also volunteer to serve meals at a homeless shelter, as well as collect items they need.
9.Make Juma Joyful
Each Friday that you are home during winter break, fulfill the Sunnahs of Juma (taking a bath, cutting nails, reading Surah al-Kahf), and watch an online Khutba if you cannot attend Friday prayers in person. Make sure to pray four Rakat for Dhuhr, not two, as this is not considered Juma prayer. But it will give you that ambience of this blessed day.
10. Reconnect With Relatives You Have Lost Touch With
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said that a person who believes in Allah and the Last Day should maintain good relationships with his or her relatives (Bukhari and Muslim).
With more free time during the break, make an effort to reach out to family members you may have lost touch with, or mend your relationship with those you’ve had a falling out with. It can start with a simple text or WhatsApp message, maybe even a phone call. Then, you can build from there and start an online family group to share news and updates about each other. You will get the reward for staying in touch and bringing relatives together.