Do We “Do” Christmas?

I was at a Christmas party the other day and someone was very curious about whether or not we “did” Christmas.  Living in a Islamic country with a Muslim husband I suppose it was a valid question.  The thing is, religion was/is never an issue for us.  My husband is not devout, more spiritual than religious, and I am not religious or spiritual.  I celebrate Christmas as a cultural custom and a fun holiday rather than a religious exercise.

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I feel lucky that our religious differences (he believes and I do not) were never an issue for our relationship.  I know that is not true for everyone.  I have several friends who converted to Islam as it would have been an issue for the marriage and children.  Their experiences vary from a conversion simply for peace of mind for family members to an uneasy balance between Christmas and the Turkish “New Year” holiday which includes presents and decorated trees.

I also have many friends who married Turkish men who have not converted.  These friends celebrate ALL the holidays, their own religious holidays as well as the Islamic ones.     I also have friends who married regardless of the issue, and while they have no problem with it, it is an issue for their families.

One time I had someone ask me if it was a problem for my parents that my boyfriend (at the time) was a Muslim.   I was shocked that a person who was not intimately involved in my life thought it was appropriate to ask me personal questions about my relationship at all—let alone such as ridiculous one.  I told her she should focus on her own daughter who had bigger issues in her own relationship.  (Oh the horror!  Her daughter was dating a Yankees fan rather than a Red Sox fan. )

So yes.  We “do” Christmas.  We decorate a tree, exchange presents, eat fattening foods.  We also celebrate the New Year by giving presents to his family.  We have found a nice balance of his customs and mine rather than his religion and mine.

And for the larger issue at hand—NO he does not cheer for the Yankees.

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