We Asked Five Muslim Women About Their Holiday FOMO(Fear of Missing Out). Here’s What They Said:

by Ameera Hammouda

December 25th is always a weird time to be a Muslim. Do I eat the Christmas cookie or not? How harmful or harmless is it to hum Mariah Carey’s "All I Want For Christmas Is You"? For some, Christmas is celebrated as a religious holiday, for others it is cultural.

One thing is certain in America- Christmas is everywhere. December 1st comes and it’s Freeforms "25 days of Christmas", holiday soundtracks 24/7 at every single store, and decorated trees that warm even the Grinch's heart.

Is not partaking in cookie-bakes and secret santas what causes holiday FOMO (fear of missing out). Or is it the dwindling spirit during Eid that we as an Ummah have neglected for so long? We interviewed five incredible women about their holiday FOMO. Keep reading to learn what they said.

Fareedah 

An accomplished Forbes 30 under 30 recipient and founder of "The Accidental Arab", a podcast describing Fareedah's experience as she "accidentally grew up more Arab than American. This podcast is a look inside of my [Fareedah's] experiences, trials, and breakthroughs of drifting between two identities.” 

Fareedah has lived between Saudi Arabia and the US, which has provided her manifold experiences around the holidays. She mentions the irony and awkwardness of the term “happy holidays” which is usually referring to only one holiday.

She believes the reason some people have holiday FOMO is that Christmas’s positioning is more fun from the substantial marketing of the holiday. She has kept her circle small, but these intimate relationships allow her to have a fun, intimate and cozy time during Islamic calendar holidays which she is so grateful for. 

Noor

Is an up and coming therapist with an MBA in women’s studies. Noor says she grew up appreciating the holiday season. She is aware of the cultural divide around holiday festivities. Noor’s birth mom is a revert. This allowed her to experience having santa growing up and says she learned to appreciate the holidays.

When it came to celebrating Eid, they would make sure to make the time extra festive with a special family trip to the salon, new outfits, which are Sunnah, and spending the whole day with friends and family giving thanks and celebrating. She said they were equally special times for her (although she admits Eid was more fun) and it enabled her to appreciate her faith while learning about others in the process.

Jan

Is a seasoned Communications Coach, Freelance Journalist, and mother of five. When asked about how Jan deals with holiday FOMO, especially with five children, she said she embraces the joy and privilege of learning.

“Dynamics of diversity and inclusion allow us to understand each other.”

She educates her children to respectfully discuss differences with others. If you have a defining product that helps you appreciate who you are, I’m in. Building confidence from a young age is so important because it helps you with your deen. Jan’s focus on continuing to seed her relationship with God has filled her no matter what part of the world she is in or what season it is.

Marwa

A writer from Cairo, Egypt who is soon to release a new book! She has seen that even in a Muslim majority country, Muslims have a disconnect. The way other faiths promote their holidays is attractive. For Muslims it can be outdated. Marwa states, "We need to make it attractive, during the younger years, especially, when children are rooted in their values. That’s when they will appreciate them as they grow." Marwa notices that community events and celebrations are still lacking in the west and east and advocates for a change.

Mariam

Mariam is an educator based in the U.S. Mariam had a epiphany when visiting her friend for Ramadan who had so ornately decorated her house. It was the first time she’d ever seen Ramadan decorations. "Everyone needs a holiday." Mariam says she realized she wasn’t giving the attention, preparation and respect to Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr and Al-Adha that they deserved. Really truly appreciating them as the “most wonderful time” of the year for her is what released her from this terrible holiday FOMO she’d been experiencing for years. 

“There’s not really FOMO if you’re not missing out. I stopped missing out on holidays that aren’t mine when I started celebrating my holidays the way they are meant to be celebrated, and with my family, friends, and community.” 

Tell Us Your Holiday FOMO Stories

Thank you to all the incredible women who shared their stories with us. 

Have you ever experienced holiday FOMO? We want to acknowledged that holiday FOMO is real. And that some people the FOMO comes from not being able to gather with loved ones in a time where everyone is with their parents, siblings, cousins and grandparents. That can be hard to witness when some people have family overseas and live alone, regardless of the holiday. Take a moment to reach out to your loved ones and wish them happiness and joy.

Do you have any holiday FOMO stories you’d like to share with us? If so, let us know in the comments and over on our Instagram!

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