Published December 24, 2008

  TO GIVE OR NOT TO GIVE AT CHRISTMAS

By Aysha Ibtasam

 Every year Macy's at Herald Square in Manhattan unveils breathtaking windows for viewers who come from all around the world.  Macy's windows attract a lot of people at this time of the year. Every year, Macy's features two series of window displays -- one set depicting scenes from the classic Christmas film Miracle on 34th Street and a second set that is new each year.  This year it is Dr. Seuss abstract characters in bright colors displayed in awkward actions stimulating your imagination.

 Holiday season puts everyone in a jovial mood and good spirit.  It is almost impossible to walk on the street without bumping into people.  As New Yorkers we tend to get a little impatient when a tourist is snapping a quick photo and you need to wait for the session to end to get to your destination but then you are reminded that it's the happiest season of the year and you just smile to yourself.  You may be wondering why is it the happiest season for those of us who don't celebrate Christmas well for one thing, we get the Holidays off!!

 

There are two more sights to see during the holiday season among the Macy's Windows are:

 

Saks Fifth Avenue - They do a spectacular job in decorating the windows.

Rockefeller Center - It holds the tallest tree and thousands of lights to illuminate it.

Santaland - Each year in Macy's at Herald Square in Manhattan on the 8th floor is something every child awaits around this time of the year.  Santaland is a magical holiday wonderland designed to delight children of all ages. Every year Santa is in residence to hear the holiday wishes of children from all over the world; whether or not he is able to deliver is another story.

 

We might not celebrate Christmas, but the bustling of elated customers on the streets and in stores, Christmas decorations, jingles, merry songs and Christmas parties grow on you. Involuntarily we are obliged to attend Christmas parties at work and participate in secret Santa.  So in a way we are involved with the celebration of the holidays.  I'll be honest, each year, I await for the classic holiday movies; my favorite, which I have not missed ever since I came to know, is "A CHRISTMAS STORY".  Then there are many other holiday movies like:

 

Nightmare before Christmas

Polar Express

A Christmas Carol

How Grinch Stole Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Frosty the Snowman

Home Alone

Miracle on 34th Street

 

Since it's inevitable to exclude yourself from the holidays, here are some gift ideas for co-workers, friends, and neighbors.  Depending upon closeness with the individual you can personalize the gift, but here is a general suggestion:

 

·          More and more stores now offer gift cards, if you know someone who is a coffee lover and drinks coffee from Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts or Tim Horton’s give them a gift card from either of the store. 

 

·          Lush is an incredible store with amazing smelling soaps and shower gels to body crèmes.  A gift from Lush would make any women feel happy! Little pricy though. 

 

·          Godiva chocolates make an excellent gift as well.  They are worth paying the price for since the quality of the chocolate is excellent.

 

·          Mrs. Fields cookies make another delicious gift.  Especially their bite-size assorted nibblers.  You can even choose a pretty tin box with the holiday theme.    

 

·          Afaze and Aldo offer great accessories from jewelry to shoes and bags.  There is always something for everyone there.

 

·          Oil, scents, sprays and candles also make a cozy and warm gift. 

These are just general gift ideas which you can share with co-workers, neighbors and friends who celebrate Christmas or the holiday spirit.

 

            I also would like to make the following point since it’s important and share my opinion with you.  Starting last year, I gave presents to co-workers for Eid ul Fitr and Eid ul Adha, or brought in something to share to mark these two significant holidays in the Islamic calendar.  I believe it is very important for us to let the non-Muslims know what our holidays are about.  Our holidays may not require all the fuss and buzz which goes around the holiday season in this country or around the world, but nonetheless, they require us to share with the less fortunate among us.  So if we can share the happiness and holiday spirit of Christmas with co-workers, neighbors and friends then I believe we should feel obligated to share the joy of Eid with others as well.  Our holidays should not solely be enjoyed with our family, friends, and Muslim community.  We should share with people of other faiths and let them know the purpose of our holidays and its importance. 

 

            Happy Holidays!!