For Eid this year, we wanted to come up with a simple gift that could easily be distributed to our growing list of friends and family. We wanted something that was generic enough to be enjoyed by a wide range of children, but personal enough to make the recipient feel special. We also wanted something inclusive whereby we could involve our non-Muslim friends in the festivities.
During one of our trips to our local grocery store during Ramadan, we noticed something special. A woman had rented out the parking lot for the summer (she was living out of her RV) and had a train set up. The wheels in my head got turning.
I introduced myself to the woman and paid for a train ride for my daughter. I asked for her business card and after speaking to my husband and thinking through the logistics, I contacted her and asked her if it would be possible to make up gift vouchers that I could pay for in advance. She was supportive of the idea but was not sure how to go about it.
I designed my own simple vouchers, printed them and brought them to her to be signed. My daughter and I came up with a list of age-appropriate friends we would like to give vouchers to. I then started getting the envelopes ready to share with our family and friends. My daughter was super excited to fill her backpack with the vouchers we would be mailing and take a walk to the mailbox to drop them off. Since our complex has a community mailbox, she assumed that’s where we would be dropping off the mail, however that mailbox is not set up to receive mail. She was surprised to learn we would be going to a farther mailbox. While I didn’t take the time to explain the postal system, for an older or more curious child, this topic could be more deeply explored. She also walked with me around our complex to hand deliver envelopes to neighbours with young children.
In the past, our Eid gifts to other children have been more elaborate, but as our circle grows, we needed an economical way to bring some joy to more children, many of whom were toddlers that were at the train-loving stage. I loved this idea because not only did it match the criteria I listed above, but I was able to support a local small business. It was also convenient because of the twenty vouchers we bought, we only saw one of those children on eid. The format of our gift allowed children to enjoy an experience (instead of add to their growing list of toys and knick knacks) and the children were able to receive their gift on time without us having to drive around all over the city.
This post concludes our Ramadan festivities for 2016. I hope our learning has inspired you to reflect on your own experience and brainstorm for future Ramadans.
Please remember my family in your prayers,