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Christmas Trees Are Beautiful. Just Don't Bring Them Into My Home

A Christmas tree is a longstanding tradition for many families. But what if it's not your tradition? 


Mojgan Ghazirad, a Muslim neonatal physician and author who moved from Iran to North America 15 years ago, was told her resistance to the Christmas tree would crumble in the face of her children's perseverance.


"I was new to North America and the festivities around the New Year in the Western world. And so was my daughter, age seven, who kept asking me if we were going to get her a Christmas tree where she could hang the tiny ornaments she’d received from her friends in school," writes Ghazirad.


“'No, we will continue to enjoy from afar,' I said to my friend as we entered a cozy coffee shop to have hot cider and a cinnamon roll. He laughed out loud at my resistance and said, 'Well, I’m sure you will, just like us. After a few years you’ll surrender to your kids.'”


Though she has seen other Iranian immigrants bring elements of Christmas into their own homes, Ghazirad has held fast to her belief that immigration doesn't have to mean uprooting a different religious tradition and planting it in front of children for whom it holds little meaning.


"I still wouldn’t erect a Christmas tree in my house, believing there should be a meaning bound to any ritual we add to our lives," writes Ghazirad. "What role does an emblem play for us if it’s hollowed out of the historic connotation it has?"


Christmas trees can be beautiful, Ghazirad has found – and best appreciated from a distance.


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