This year, a Christmas commercial from a British retailer led to threats of a boycott on right-wing Twitter because it briefly included a Muslim family. The uproar seemed ridiculous—but the truth is, the ad might have provoked the same reaction in my parents’ conservative Muslim-American household. In my immigrant family, any celebration of Christmas was considered an affront. It was something observant Muslims simply didn’t do.
So as I stood on a Christmas tree lot in New Jersey earlier this month, choosing my first-ever tree with my wife, I wondered what I was doing there. Then I bought the tree. When I brought it home, I started to realize why I wanted one in the first place. In this episode, I consider the dissonance between calls for Muslims to assimilate and the anger when they celebrate America’s most popular holiday, and my own conflict with what it means to accept a Christmas tradition as my own.
This series is written and produced by Aymann Ismail and Jeffrey Bloomer, and edited by Aymann Ismail.