Start making Eid Cards – This post gives some hints about where to pick up materials. The Eid cards around up until now tend to be quite cheesy or very boring. I am starting to see handmade ones and cards with nice prints, but they are pricey.
Start picking up Eid Gifts – I have a corner in my closet where I stick gifts that I pick up through the year on sale (although my Pakistan trip means it looks a bit empty this year). It’s also early enough to look on Ebay. Better still, if you have a skill, you might want to make them yourself.
Get your outfits for Eid day – the shops here put their prices up around Ramadan and nearer to Eid, not only is it hard to find anything decent, but the tailors are too busy to make you anything.
Stockpile - Gift wrap and gift bags, decorations (banners, balloons) and anything else you find in the sales/boot sale/yardsale.
I also hope to read more Islamic books to get me in the right frame of mind. I have Tariq Ramadan's 'The Messenger: the Meanings of the Life of Muhammad' and Asma Afsaruddin's "The First Muslim's - History and Memory" on my bedside table. Kooky Little Sister has also bought me a copy of "Sahih Bukhari" which is calling me. Aside from this as many seerah's (biographies of the beloved Prophet (PBUH)) to help get in the spirit, I have a hankering after Martin Lings "Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources" and might gift it to myself as a Ramadan present.
2 weeks to Ramadan
Try to plan in a volunteer activity if possible – many cities have arrangements to provide meals for the homeless and needy, including Muslim organisations.
Prepare any food you can freeze – my mum makes her samosa’s around now, I think I will give them a miss this year with my drive to be healthier this year.
1 week to Ramadan
Make Ramadan Baskets – Fill a basket with a packet of dates, a kufi, scarf, prayer book, prayer beads and sweets (or whatever takes your fancy – ideas welcome as always). I always make one for each household related to us plus two for the neighbours. Stock up – on dates, juice, snacks, sweets whatever else you will need for Ramadan and Eid.
Try to learn some surah and some new supplications. Try to keep iftar as simple and healthy as possible.
Calculate and pay your zakat
Halfway through Ramadan/2 weeks to Eid
Post those of your Eid cards/gifts that are due for abroad.
Last 10 days of Ramadan/1 week to Eid
Prepare for Lailat-ul-Qadr
Invite those family and friends that you want to share Eid with. For extra hassanah, invite someone who would otherwise spend Eid alone: a new revert, a student in your city, someone here from abroad who has left their family behind.
The Big Cleanup - around this time of year my neighbours (who run a carpet cleaning business) wash our carpets for us, which our children have spent all year beautifying. They are kind enough to do this for free. Last year my mum- and dad-in-law were here and spent two days scrubbing carpets and upholstery. For all of you civilised people the last few days of Ramadan are plenty to get your home in order. For me that means I better start now.
Create a Eid gift basket - I make one each year for my mom. I have found the local £-shop does giant baskets, so I fill one with sweets, fruit, nuts, virgin olive oil, indian sweets, honey and other treats and tie a bow on top. This is tailored to what she likes and still cheaper than the ones available online.
3 days to Eid
Post your Ramadan cards set aside for people in your own country. Plan your Eid menu and make sure you have all of the ingredients. Here we seem to have a scrum for meat the day before Eid, so it’s good to have it in the freezer a few days before.
Chaand Raat/Night Before Eid
Pray – Don’t let the good habits you have picked up during Ramadan fall away, give thanks for the blessed month and engage in the nafl prayer for this night:
The Prophet (PBUH), is reported to have said: "Whoever stands up (in worship) in the nights preceding the two Eids expecting rewards from his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die". (Ibn Majah)
Henna for me and Little Lady – plus it would be nice to send a cone to both the neighbours too.
Decorate the house - we usually wait until the kids are in bed and then put up balloon, banners, cards sent to us and any other decorations. The next morning they see the decorations and know Eid has come - and the excitement of children is infectious.
Set aside days for the six fasts of Shawwal
Our beloved Prophet (PBUH) is reported to have said: "Whosoever observes fast in Ramadan and then follows up with six fasts in Shawwal, will be regarded as though he had been fasting every day." (Reported by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)
Preparation and invites for the Eid Party
Of course if it all gets too much, then I suggest scrap the list, do as much ibadah as you can, wear a nice outfit for Eid from another year and go to Pizza Hut (as we did one Eid when the rest of our family decided to celebrate a day later than us).