As we’ve talked about before, North American Muslims are more likely to give their children wrapped gifts instead of money on Eid (called “Eidi” in some languages.) Collecting Eidi is a tradition similar to trick-or-treating. Adults make sure they have a number of small bills (or coins) on hand and when children greet them on Eid, they give each child a small amount of currency. Children collect small amounts of money from a bunch of different adults and at the end of the night, they count their loot! In many Muslim countries, it’s tradition for children to actually go door-to-door in their neighbourhoods collecting money, exactly like how children collect candy on Halloween. In other countries, children might collect money from adults at house parties and family gatherings. The advantage of giving out Eidi the traditional way is that adults don’t have to spend a lot. Each adult is only responsible for giving out a small amount of money per child just like how adults are only responsible for giving out a small amount of candy per child on Halloween. For instance, in 2015 the average American spent $24.65 on Halloween candy.
The disadvantage of the traditional Eidi method though is that it relies on community participation. In North America, Muslims are a minority and not everyone has friends or family to help carry out this tradition for the kids. In such cases, parents might try to keep the tradition alive for their own kids; they might even give their kids a larger sum of money than traditionally required to make up for the fact that their kids won’t be collecting Eidi from a ton of others. But when you’re already having to spend more on Eid giving, it’s no surprise that many parents opt to give their children wrapped gifts instead of money. With the “trick-or-treating element” lost from Eid in North America, wrapped gifts can be more exciting for kids, particularly since children grow up seeing that their peers receive gifts on Christmas.
However, even if we are giving more Eidi or switching to wrapped presents (which may include bigger ticket items), is our spending nearly as much as what the average American or Canadian spends on Christmas gifts? For me, the answer is no; my spending is still much lower. A possible reason for this could be that on I only gift to children on Eid (or people younger than myself even if they’re not technically “children”). On Christmas, however, people might gift to children plus a long list of others (parents, siblings, spouses, friends, co-workers, neighbours etc) and perhaps that accounts for the difference in spending.
How much do you spend on Eid gifts? Is it nearly as much as our fellow nationals spend on Christmas gifts?