Yesterday we celebrated the first day of Eid al Adha, the second of two annual holidays in the Muslim calendar. This Eid (“festival”) comes at the end of the yearly Hajj pilgrimage. It’s a celebration of the sacrifice that Abraham was willing to make of his son. This Eid is usually celebrated for three days after one day of fasting. On the first day of Eid, most people go to an extra congregational prayer and then spend the rest of the day eating and visiting friends.

This year we decided to invite friends over for lunch. With two small children, I didn’t want to stress myself out. We kept the menu simple– beef, chicken or salmon burgers, chickpea salad, samosas, and (store bought) desserts. We had a total of 11 adults, 9 kids, and 3 babies. We would have had more, but several friends had gone out of town. (Missed y’all!)

We also spend some quality time together as a family of four. We opened gifts and played with them. I got Hubby some pants and a hoodie. Belle got two teething/baby toys, and Boo-Boo got a battery operated train and a ball for water play. (More info on the toys below.)

It was really a great day. I learned a lot about planning for a holiday, so I’ll share my Top Five Tips:

1. Let your creativity run free. Since our holidays aren’t widely celebrated in the United States, there aren’t commercialized decorations or set motifs. They also move about 2.5 weeks forward every year, so next year this Eid will be near the end of September. I’m thinking paper lanterns and polka dots for summer, yeah?

I love being able to mix and match decorations to fit my design. We had lights, candles, flowers, balloons, and a new tablecloth. I also made my own Eid sign with painted letters from the craft store. I got the idea from a friend’s house last year. And even if your holiday does have a set of typical decor, why not mix it up? Sometimes “tradition” can end up being mindless and monotonous.

2. Start early. I thought I started early this time, but I need to be earlier next yea– like a month early. If you want to keep your sanity, make your plan early and do everything possible in advance.

Shopping and gift-wrapping is one example of something that can happen anytime. I’m hoping to teach my kids how to be considerate of others through gift-giving. This year Boo-Boo “gave” a toy to his sister. I talked to him about how she would like it and why. In the future I want him to think of her (or anyone else) when he comes across something. Not only is this a nice way to instill thoughtfulness, it also avoids the last-minute I’ve-got-to-find-a-present shopping, which usually never turns out well.

3. It doesn’t have to be “perfect.” My mind’s eye is my biggest enemy. I have an idea of how I want something to be or look and it never turns out that way. Never. When I was younger I didn’t deal with this well and would often abandon a project that wasn’t just right. Now I’m a little more forgiving with myself. I’m not sure how this happened, maybe it’s just part of growing up.

4. Set realistic goals. I try to make a list of the food and decorations that I want to do first. My lists are a crazy page of brainstorming ideas and sketches. As I’m thinking about it, I have an internal list of what will get cut if I don’t have the time or money to make it happen. I’d planned to make cupcakes, make a banner and hang some sort of decoration over the table. They were on my list and I knew I wanted to do them, but I was also okay with letting it go. On the other hand, I knew I really wanted to use a gold/silver/autumn theme and make those burgers as the main dish. It’s about mapping priorities.

5. Interacting with friends and family is top priority. The decorations and food won’t be around for long. Yes we do these things to enjoy a special atmosphere. But we have to keep in mind that the memories we make with friends and family are what’s important. It is so so easy to forget that.

Here are a few more photos from our day. I included links to where I got the toys since they aren’t found in many mainstream stores.

{Hubby surprised me with roses.}
The Baby Paper was a big hit! At three months she’s already grabbing it and trying to put it in her mouth. She likes the crinkly sound, too.

{Brio Train is a 3-piece set that runs on one AAA battery. He loved it! He also got a Plui Ball, which I discovered at the Marbles Museum. They have them in their water play section and he was fascinated with the shower ball.}

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