AIBU to give a v. small Christmas gift to DD's Muslim teacher?

(69 Posts)
bowerbird Sun 02-Dec-12 16:39:56

Just that really. Have usually given a very small gift (a little bauble for the tree, or some homemade ginger biscuits) with a card made by DD to the teacher at Christmas break. DD's teacher this year is fantastic and an observant Muslim.

Would like to give her something, if only to mark the holidays and say thank you, have a nice break etc., but don't wish to offend. Any advice, particularly from Muslim MNers?

dinkystinky Sun 02-Dec-12 16:41:34

Why not get her a "Happy Holidays" present? Some home made biscuits would be good. Nothing with alcohol/christmas connotations.

DS1's lovely muslim teacher gave his entire class happy Eid presents which taught them that its nice to celebrate all types of celebrations with the class.

hattymattie Sun 02-Dec-12 16:42:03

I think it is the thought that counts and it's a lovely gesture - I wouldn't be offended at all.

poppycat04 Sun 02-Dec-12 16:43:51

I think it's a lovely gesture. I'm sure she would be very pleased. Just a couple of things that I'm sure you already know, but no alcohol and make sure the ingredients are suitable for vegetarians if you do make biscuits. Oh and she probably won't have a Christmas tree.

CailinDana Sun 02-Dec-12 16:46:21

I'm not Muslim but I know from working with Muslim people that most are perfectly happy to observe Christmas in a non-religious way and to get involved in the festive side of it. In the last school I taught in the vast majority of the children were Sikh/Muslim/Hindu and yet we still had a tree, did a Christmas concert, the whole shebang and their parents were perfectly happy with that.

Lavenderhoney Sun 02-Dec-12 16:46:27

I gave ours (ta) a happy holidays card and a gift wrapped in non Santa paper. The teacher who is not got a Christmas card and a Santa wrapped gift. Both v happysmile

It's a nice thing to do, it's a good time to show appreciation.

fortyplus Sun 02-Dec-12 16:47:48

I always used to let my 2 choose their own gifts for their teachers. When ds1 was in year 2 he insisted on buying his Muslim teacher a church tealight holder. She wrote a very sweet thank you letter saying 'thank you for the cottage candle holder - I have put it on my kitchen window sill where it looks very pretty' smile

TrazzleMISTLEtoes Sun 02-Dec-12 16:47:50

Obviously this doesn't count for everyone, but all the Hindus and Muslims I know have a Christmas tree and exchange small gifts on Christmas Day.

It's the thought that counts. No one I know would be offended by being offered a Christmas present.

fortyplus Sun 02-Dec-12 16:49:29

ps I have Muslim friends who give eachother wrapped presents at Christmas and have turkey (smeared with tikka paste because plain turkey is too boring!)

fortyplus Sun 02-Dec-12 16:50:17

pps would you be offended if a Muslim friend gave you a present at Eid? Of course not! smile

TeaBrick Sun 02-Dec-12 16:50:49

My Muslim neighbours sent Christmas cards to the whole street (and were the only neighbours to do so as far as I know).

bowerbird Sun 02-Dec-12 16:52:48

Thanks all you lovely people for taking the time to respond.

catgirl1976geesealaying Sun 02-Dec-12 17:15:59

YANBU - I'm sure it will be fine

The two Muslim people I work with join in Secret Santa, come to the Christmas party and are happy to recieve Christmas cards and gifts etc

lovebunny Sun 02-Dec-12 17:18:09

you could always ask him/her if it would be ok.

BegoniaBampot Sun 02-Dec-12 17:19:43

I collected for a class Christmas present for the teachers. The TA was Muslim but we didn't want to miss her out and she seemed pleased at the thought. Guess it is a bit strange as the school celebrated most religious and cultural holidays equally and don't even know if the majority of pupils were Christian.

MrsMushroom Sun 02-Dec-12 17:27:30

God I never thought. I've helped DD aged 4 write cards for her classmates and we have included her little Muslim friend. Is that not on?

BegoniaBampot Sun 02-Dec-12 17:32:12

Depends on the parents, but my friends are strict Muslim but always send us a Christmas card and some chocs or such. They also have no problem with their kids being involved in the nativity play in the choir or narrating etc so I doubt they would be offended if their child got a Christmas card.

witchface Sun 02-Dec-12 17:37:42

I got sweeties for eid once, was a very nice surprise! Im sure it would be the same the other way round.

mato3 Sun 02-Dec-12 17:42:29

I'm a Muslim and although I would accept the gifts, card out of politeness i would be very uneasy to do so.

Why don't you give the teacher a gift at the end of the school year that way you are not associating it with Christmas.

amirah85 Sun 02-Dec-12 17:44:05

I am muslim,I don't celebrate christmas but wouldn't find it offensive at all to receive a card/present for other religions festivals.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Sun 02-Dec-12 17:49:23

How lovely! A gift is always good, and the thank you sentiment always appreciated. I would bend to make it more of a thank you gift with non-Christmas wrapping.

I don't celebrate Christmas, and am not offended by presents at this time. Presents are fun - I give some out during my holidays and teach my children and try to live by the idea of helping everyone to celebrate their own identity.

The only time I've been upset is by people who were real knobs about it (sadly, there are too many of these) - Those that go on and on about, or try to convince me on what I'm missing (I have festivals almost every month but I think people would think it odd if we tried to tell the majority what they are missing out on with only 2 a year) or rudely going "Here's your not Christmas gift". Remarks about my poor kids (or even worse, remarks to my kids angry) upset me most. Or those who refuse to call holidays by their proper names, instead going [religion/culture]'s Christmas which makes me kinda erased and in the mood to give people a long history lesson. (blush sorry for rant, I've had a few of these lately!].

Your gift is through kindness, I'm sure it will be fine. I find sparkly paper works for all backgrounds smile.

Chandon Sun 02-Dec-12 17:55:24

Dinky, why isit nice of the teacher to hand out things to celebrate Eid, yet we would offend her if we would give her something to do with Christmas?

If you lived in a Muslim country, would you be offended if someone gave you an Eid related gift?

What I am really asking is, are we not beg Overly Sensitive on behalf of someone else?

Imo, I would be happy to receive an Eid related gift, but I would not be offended. Neither would I expect a Muslim friend or teacher to be offended if I gave them a Christmas card ( maybe not a religiously themed picture or message on it though). i men, is Christmas in itslef that offensive? Have not experienced that myself.

Kleinzeit Sun 02-Dec-12 18:04:13

I am not Christian, nor from a Christian background, and I would far prefer to be given a “Christmas” gift than a “holiday” gift. A Christmas gift is gracious because it is being given by a Christian. The assumption that all other religions have a holiday at Christmastime is just crass.

dinkybinky Sun 02-Dec-12 18:07:54

I would give her a packet of fresh dates all Muslims I know LOVE dates.

MadamFolly Sun 02-Dec-12 18:15:07

That's a funny stereotype dinky

No idea if it's true.

whois Sun 02-Dec-12 18:17:10

People at work handed round sweets for divali, eid etc and aren't offended by Christmas connotations. It's nice to involve others in celebrations.

I think giving a gift and a 'thanks' card would be appreciated.

natation Sun 02-Dec-12 18:20:27

Given the place in Islam of Jesus, why on earth would you think and observant Muslim would not be happy with a gift?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_in_Islam

PS have to be the BEST dates if you're going to buy some.

honeytea Sun 02-Dec-12 18:28:51

I think she would be happy with a gift.

I made the mistake last year of not getting the jewish children I teach a gift (I teach them in small groups and all this group was at a jewish school so it wasn't like the kids saw the gifts I gave to the other children.) The parents bought me a Christmas gift, it was a jewish star candle holder I was very touched.

GrrrArghZzzzYaayforall8nights Sun 02-Dec-12 18:54:01

Because some are uncomfortable with it. One Muslim woman already shared so on this thread. I know some who would be cool with it and others like mato3 who don't. This is why we should always ask the individual. We will have different histories with it within and regardless of their faith and wiki and what other people feel they should and should not be uncomfortable with.

I know I (Noachide, Judaism) would feel uncomfortable if someone gave me Christmas present rather than simply getting me a present. I know it's likely because of Christmas, but the effort to recognize my identity and that I don't really means a lot to me when for me Christmas is an all-encompassing in-my-face-in-all media-and-public-space-and-a-lot-of-rude-people really uncomfortable zone. I'm not offended, just uncomfortable and as I would try limit the discomfort in others I appreciate when others do the same for me.

Theicingontop Sun 02-Dec-12 18:59:50

OH's best friend is converted Muslim and a teacher, and is very devout, but still gets presents from his primary school students. He doesn't mind. In fact, he's grateful that the parents view him as open-minded. He rings us and wishes us a happy Christmas, gives DS a present. I'd say go for it.

I work in a school which is about half Muslim. I have never had any comeback from giving presents or cards to non Christian children, and all my Muslim colleagues are quite happy to accept Christmas cards & gifts, just as I am quite happy to accept a parcel of leftover Eid goodies!

Most of my class tell me they will be putting a Christmas tree up at home, and many exchange presents. I was told by a young man on Friday (while making paper chains) that Eid is only good for money and clothes - if you want new toys & games then you have to ask Father Christmas for them. grin

dinkystinky Mon 03-Dec-12 06:33:41

chandon - I dont think it is offensive (I am hindu a d ot offended by christmas gifts/cards) - I'm merely suggesting as I do which is to wish everyone a happy festive period as IME it definitely doesnt cause offensive, which is what the P was worried about causing. MadamFolly - was your comment aimed at dinkybinky?

ripsishere Mon 03-Dec-12 07:14:28

I hope not. DDs BFF hmm is an observant Muslim. They are exchanging gifts and both are part of the secret santa in their class.

beeny Mon 03-Dec-12 07:21:01

I am a practising muslim i always give gifts to my non muslim friends and colleagues.I dont celebrate christmas at all.

Latara Mon 03-Dec-12 09:04:05

YANBU; she will probably like the fact that 'her' children have thought of her & given her a small gift.

BartletForTeamGB Mon 03-Dec-12 09:09:53

I am an evangelical Christian. I have never been offended at Muslim friends giving me Eid cards or presents and have always been really touched. I'd be thoughtful about the picture on the card but would happily give a gift/card to Muslim friends & colleagues.

SomersetONeil Mon 03-Dec-12 09:26:49

There's no way any one of us can say definitively whether she would be offended - as far as we faceless, random MNers can advise - it could go either way.

You know her better than any of us - go with your gut instinct.

Madmum24 Mon 03-Dec-12 09:27:18

I am a muslim and would prefer to receive a non-xmas related present. If I did receive one though I would accept it out of politeness, and I would be touched that they had thought about me.

MrsTwankey Mon 03-Dec-12 10:58:10

I would. I don't think of it as a Christmas gift but more of a thank you for being a good teacher.
Friend who is a teacher in an inner city school with a high proportion of Muslim famillies. Well they all buy her 'Christmas gifts' at the end of term

SooticaTheWitchesCat Mon 03-Dec-12 11:25:59

My husband is Muslim and he gets Christmas cards and presents form work. We celebrate Christmas at home too.

Get her something, I'm sure she will appreciate it.

LoveYouForeverMyBaby Mon 03-Dec-12 11:31:20

I second the happy holidays type present.

joanbyers Mon 03-Dec-12 13:33:24

Dates are a good idea.

I have been in Indonesia at Eid, and as far as I know they do not grow dates in Indonesia, but there are LOTS of people selling them on the streets, specifically as an Eid/'holidays' item.

I think dates are referenced numerous times in the Koran/by Mohammed, which is why they are consumed by Muslims all the world over.

Agree that you need to buy good ones, when I bought some in Indonesia they had about five or six price grades, and yes the pricey ones are the best! In this country you are just as liable to pay good money for cheap ones, but I suspect an Asian grocers would have a proper selection.

LoopsInHoops Mon 03-Dec-12 13:38:50

I wonder if one might be more likely to be offended were they the only one not to receive a gift?

Seriously, what are the chances of all the other staff being Christians?

becstargazeypie Mon 03-Dec-12 13:42:02

When DS had a Muslim teacher I gave her a gift along with gifts to the Christian TAs and labelled them all as something like 'thanks for your hard work, this is just to let you know we truly appreciate all that you do and hope you have a lovely holiday'. I put non-Christmassy wrapping on all of them. She was delighted and gave me a huge hug.

Alitoomanykids Mon 03-Dec-12 13:45:56

I think I agree with the majority of posters - a 'happy holidays' type gift rather than any specific Christmas reference, would probably be welcomed. I saw a lovely craft on pinterest recently. Standard choccy bars, wrapped in plain white paper, wrap red ribbon round 2/3 of way up as a scarf and then kids can glue on orange paper carrot nose, sequence for buttons and eyes etc to make a snowman. That's what my kids will be doing for their teachers this year - a wee (almost handmade) gift to say thank you for all the hard work teachers put in during the run up to christmas.

goralka Mon 03-Dec-12 13:47:35

I'm a Muslim and although I would accept the gifts, card out of politeness i would be very uneasy to do so
I have no wish to be offensive but I find that really odd. Imagine if I was living in a Muslim country and said Eid made me 'uneasy'.

I'm a liberal Muslim and love to give and receive Christmas presents. I also insisted that we do a secret Santa at work.

I HATE dates though so not too sure about ALL Muslims loving them...I don't really think that they would make a suitable Christmas present.

Date chutney on the other hand...(starts drooling)

LettyAshton Mon 03-Dec-12 14:05:35

Dates?! Frankly I find that a bit confused . Why would all Muslims like dates? Would you give a Jewish person a pound of chopped liver? I'm sure a candle/box of chocolates/standard teacher present would be fine - perhaps just avoid the bottle of wine (although this is a generalisation too!).

Dd has a girl in her class whose family are clearly very strict Muslims. She was the first to hand out Christmas cards - Christmas cards.

I don't know anyone - Sikh, Muslim, Jew who doesn't celebrate Christmas as a cheerful holiday festival. In fact I think the only people I've come across who don't do Christmas are Jehovah's Witnesses and the sort of grumpy moneysavers who like Watchdog.

starfleet Mon 03-Dec-12 14:23:54

Another Muslim here - we have a Christmas tree (albeit a very small one)/Christmas dinner and presents! Funnily enough DS's name is the Muslim name for Jesus smile

I should think that she would probably be very appreciative of a gift and the thought behind it and you don't have to worry about offending - most other Muslims I know seem to enjoy Christmas just as much as they do Eid.

Letty thank you for speaking out about the dates! grin

I've just spent the last few minutes thinking how disappointed I'd feel if I got dates for a Christmas present.

Seriously OP, I think it's a lovely idea. Just steer clear of any alcohol or non-halal food items and dates

BridgetBidet Mon 03-Dec-12 14:40:23

Why don't you ask her? My old boss was a very religious Muslim and preferred not to join in with Secret Santa or card giving but was happy to come out for the Xmas meal.

I think it's individual, I would ask or just go ahead. Most people don't get offended at being given a present.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Mon 03-Dec-12 14:48:52

Could you write her card/present the gift in an end-of-term way ie 'Thanks for everything this term and have a lovely break from school', rather than it seeming like a Christmas present?

I'm not sure how you'd convey that, admittedly.

As a bit of an aside, I think it's lovely if schools celebrate, or just make pupils aware of, major festivals and holidays in non-Christian religions (as dinky mentions upthread), especially in schools where other religious backgrounds are represented. I didn't have a clue about Hannukah or Eid or Holi or anything when I was a kid but I'm sure I would have loved to learn about them (and to get the associated presents smile)

giveitago Mon 03-Dec-12 14:49:37

I'm from a multi religious family but I'm not particularly religious (my side is cofe and hindu and my h is a devout catholic).

Quite a clash.

Having said that the majority of my friends are from other religions.If I were a teacher I'd be happy to receive anything from the parents by way of thanks for hard word done with kids. But I'm not a teacher.

I think we overthink things too much. If something is given with genuine gratitude to a teacher (in this case) by way of thanks for a good job done at a time when it's normal (like UK is a country with a christian tradition) to give a gift then the issue is with the receiver. These days it's possible to give accompanying cards that are not not overly religious (aka rubs someone's nose in someone elses religion/culture). Can't say I've ever felt it (someone once gave me some candles - they turned out to be relgious candles but I didn't mind at all) but then again I'm not from a culture that says that my way is the right and the other way takes away from my culture.

Dunno. I guess at the end of the day would a) not want to give a dear teacher a present because you're giving it at the time of year that they do not recognise b) leave a dear teacher out because of fear of offence.

littleducks Mon 03-Dec-12 14:58:28

We are muslim and dont celebrate xmas.

I wouldn't mind receiving a gift. I might feel uneasy/uncomfortable as I wouldn't reciprocate (at xmas time) and would worry that it would appear rude.

I would prefer a less religious card, like snowmen or robins rather than a nativity scene but at the end of the day wouldnt be offended.

giveitago Mon 03-Dec-12 15:07:04

I don't celebrate eid, non christmas catholic festivals or any jewish festivals at all but I certainly recognise them as they are in calendar and I wouldn't be offened to be included in someone elses celebration of them.

I just don't feel discomfort.

grovel Mon 03-Dec-12 15:18:47

Perhaps we should remember that Muslims believe in Jesus and in the Virgin birth. They may not have chosen to have a festival to celebrate his birth but it is still good news in their religion too.

"Muslims respect and revere Jesus .They consider him one of the greatest of God’s messengers to mankind. The Quran confirms his virgin birth, and a chapter of the Quran is entitled ‘Maryam’ (Mary). The Quran describes the birth of Jesus as follows:

(Remember) when the angels said, “O Mary, God gives you good news of a word from Him (God), whose name is the Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, revered in this world and the Hereafter, and one of those brought near (to God). He will speak to the people from his cradle and as a man, and he is of the righteous.” She said, “My Lord, how can I have a child when no mortal has touched me?” He said, “So (it will be). God creates what He wills. If He decrees a thing, He says to it only, ‘Be!’ and it is.” (Quran, 3:45-47)"

crescentmoon Mon 03-Dec-12 15:20:04

I think you are really nice OP.my children just started at a new school and both their christian (i think) teachers have been so kind and really eased them into settling in. Above and beyond.I missed the chance to give them Eid presents - didn't realise I could do that until weeks after! I also Don't want to wait until next summer as I really want to show them our appreciation now. I'm going to borrow the lines from some of the posters here and put that in the card and attach to the gifts we are giving to them both before the end of this term. I find Christmas time exciting as its the only time you can buy halal turkeys too- most butchers are taking orders now. It's the only change from chicken, lamb, beef all year!

mmm halal turkey...with date chutney...(starts drooling again)

Bonbonchance Mon 03-Dec-12 15:23:34

I work with lots of Muslim children and lots of them celebrate Christmas with tree, presents etc as well as Eid. Have worked with someone who was Muslim and her family always celebrated Christmas as a cultural thing as well as doing Ramadan, Eid etc as their religion. She got lots of Christmas presents from children & gave cards, little gifts etc to her class, it wouldn't have occurred to her to be offended I don't think!

Go for it, I'm sure your child's teacher would appreciate the sentiment as a thank you and have good holidays type thing.

mato3 Mon 03-Dec-12 23:23:53

goralka i didnt say christmas made me uneasy i said receiving gifts or cards would make me feel uneasy. The op asked muslims view on it and i gave my view on how i feel. I also wouldnt mind if u said that you were uneasy about being given eid presents as its your choice and how you feel. Personally i would feel like a hypocrite in taking part in christmas or giftgiving/receiving or any other religious festival because i have chosen another faith and i cant just pick and choose the best of all faiths. It just wouldnt be right to me.

I dont mean any offence to you or others by this, its just how i feel.

Bakingnovice Mon 03-Dec-12 23:32:23

I always give the Muslim teachers a pressie and card. In fact at our school all the Muslim mums help organise the Xmas fair. They get more excited about the nativity/Xmas choir/ Santa than anyone else. And they also have wonderful recipes for spicing up Xmas dinner. A few years ago the Head tried to call the Xmas fair 'happy holidays fair'. It was the Muslim parents who set up the campaign to restore the word Christmas and impressed on everyone that no one need be offended in their name.

WorraLorraTurkey Mon 03-Dec-12 23:40:38

If anyone is offended at being given a thoughtful gift, chosen, bought and wrapped with good intention, they are very easily offended and quite frankly up their own arses imo.

I would give the teacher a gift and if they're offended there's nothing you can do about it OP.

Though I suspect MN contains more PO's than real life does...or let's hope so anyway grin

mato3 Mon 03-Dec-12 23:41:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FannyBazaar Mon 03-Dec-12 23:47:10

I am neither Muslim or Christian and find my Muslim friends are just as likely to give Christmas presents as anyone else I know. We give presents to the teachers at Christmas and don't bother asking the teacher's religion first but do chose something I think would be fairly acceptable to anyone.

The children all seem to exchange cards at Christmas regardless of religion.

WorraLorraTurkey Mon 03-Dec-12 23:49:29

That's it Fanny I've never asked anyone's religion when giving a Christmas gift or card.

It's none of my business anyway and I'm not particularly interested in any religion.

narmada Mon 03-Dec-12 23:51:44

I have no problem accepting and giving xhristmas presents despite the fact I am an atheist. Obviously I am therefore very broad minded and multiculti grin. Christmas is different things to different people. To me it is an annual cultural and family event.

I would give the presents.

peppapigpants Tue 04-Dec-12 00:02:04

About half of my class are Muslim, 2/3 of the rest Hindu or Sikh. There are fewer Christians than any other faith. We are doing a nativity play and the children talk about Christmas and what they are planning at home. They also talked about prayer mats when we studied patterns in RE and about how they celebrated Divali. We made divas and every child, regardless of faith, took one home. I will write a card for every child in my class. They all know who Santa is but most are quite clueless about Jesus smile.

Bakingnovice Tue 04-Dec-12 08:08:40

The only thing I would add is that the gift should be appropriate. No alcohol or alcoholic chocolates or sweets containing gelatine if the teacher is Muslim.

bowerbird Wed 05-Dec-12 18:43:01

Crescent thank you for saying that - really made my day!

Baking, I know obviously about no alcohol - but gelatine? Is gelatine a pork derivative perhaps? I didn't know that. Thank you for pointing that out.

Many thanks to all who have kindly posted here.

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