Saturday 19 December 2009

The Great Escape

I usually find myself having to wheedle my way out of Christmas parties at work with whatever excuse I can think of. This week I had been covering a colleague who usually takes minutes at management meetings and at the end of the meeting found myself listening to a conversation about the Christmas do. Everyone agreed to put £10 towards the booze, someone mentioned that this wasn’t a Christmas party, it was a “team get-together” so everyone was expected to be there. I’m surprised no-one heard me groan. Another manager then mentioned food much to everyone’s amusement, “food? Who eats at these things, we’ll have peanuts or something.” I just stared at my paper-pad and inwardly seethed.

So on the day of the party, after feeling a bit down for two days, I felt quite upbeat, so turned up in my black and red (sequinned scarf, fave art deco brooch from Kooky Little Sister, Swarovski bracelet from Long Suffering Sister, long necklace of jet beads fro market for £2).

Everyone kept asking me if I was dolled up for the party. I must have had the same conversation four or five times:
Colleague: You like nice, coming to the party later?
Me: Nope!
Colleague: Why?
Me: Don’t celebrate Christmas
Colleague: Well nor do we, it’s a team ….”thing”
Me: I don’t drink
Colleague: Well nor do we, there should be food.
Me: Yeah I’m going to stay late to eat peanuts!
Colleague: You should come…
Me: (Piece de resistance) Have no childcare arrangements.
Colleague: Oh…

I enjoyed strolling out at 4pm while everyone else was being rounded up for the party and herded into the canteen.


  1. Asalaamu Alaikum

    Way to go for you!

  2. heehee.. the benefits of being muslim eh?

  3. I cant stand these situations. Good for you. this is a very awkward and soemtimes depressing time of year for me. My family has rooted traditions that I am no longer part of, and I think it hurts them (and me) a bit. These traditions and religious holidays will not be part of O's upbringing, so I think it woulod be cruel and confusing for me to intorduce him to them just because hes little. He gets things. He knows a party when he sees one.

    I just feel sad though, because my family's traditions are amongst my finest and fondest memories growing up, it truly was exciting and fun. My cousins and I would be up all night on christmas eve waiting for santa, and would eventually fall asleep under the tree, at which time our parents would sling us over their shoulders, carry us home and tuck us in bed.

    Every year I get invited, and every year i have to call my siblings and remind them I am not coming. Its like they keep hoping Ill change my mind.

    I often wonder why these traditions create such fond memories? All I can think of is that, in our busy socitey, and in my family especially, we all work- husbands and wives, and literally have no time to spend with each other, untl a major holiday comes and grants us the day off!

    I hope inshaallah now that we live in a much larger place, we will hold Eid celebrations in our home. These will be my new memories, but the cahllenge finding other muslims to join us! Im sure my family would come BUT I feel like I have no right to ask them to celebrate with us, when we are not willing to do the same for them.

    How nice it would be if we were neighbors!

    So as you can see, its yet another sensitive issue for me. My husbandito has no problem with ignoring the holidays since he grew up in a religious, conservative muslim community and observant family!

    On another note, I am SOOOOO happy we dont drink and that it is haram. Alcohol is a gateway drug and carries so many unecessary evils.


  4. As a non muslim posting this one has really opened my eyes.

    For the majority at my workplace going to a Christmas do isn't so much about Christmas and Jesus but really just a get together at the end of the year before the Christmas holiday time-off period.

    That said it's definitely filled with drinks and often a meal (turkey).

    Is there a way staff end of year socials could be made more muslim friendly at all?

    Can females attend staff social gatherings outside of the family?

    I think many in the western workplace would love to engage with their muslim co-workers more but really have no idea as to how to do it!

    Apologies if this sounds crazy, I really know very little about the traditions, similarly I'd guess many in your work place are the same.

    There's few places that I've been able to find out these things, your blog is very interesting to me indeed, thankyou.