Eid Goodie Bags - They're Not Just For Kids!
It started with a question: Why do only children get goodie bags on Eid? Eid Al-Fitr of 2015, I set out to make it happen: Eid goodie bags for grown ups!
What started out very simple has gotten more refined. The goal is not only to give gifts to friends and brighten their Eid (because let’s be honest, Eid can be kind of meh for adults), but also to inspire them. Here are the steps and guidelines (not necessarily in this order) I’ve used to make these special gifts that have brought me and my friends so much joy:
- Come up with a theme. “Wherever you go/travel” “love”, “Self-care”, “Inner beauty kit” “First Aid for the mind body and soul” are just some of the themes I have used for past “goodie bags”. These themes have a specific message for each item relating to the theme.
- Choose the recipients. I make a list of approximately 12 people (more or less depending on the circumstances) to whom I will give the bags to. Criteria include: a) being a friend or having shown me great kindness b) physically seeing them on Eid and c) someone I know will appreciate it or need it.
- Get the goods This is sometimes the toughest part because I need the items to relate to the theme I’ve chosen. It’s only with the inspiration (ilham) and blessing of Allah that I do it. Sometimes I have literally walked into a store looking for something (anything) and it’ll be there like Allah placed it there for me to see. Online shopping works but only to an extent. Buying things that come in packs is ideal because they’re individually wrapped, small enough to fit a goodie bag/box and cost efficient.
- Use your imagination: Ordinary items become inspirational with a little thought and creativity. Sunflower seeds represent the generosity of continuous charity and its blessings (i.e. each seed brings forth a plant that has hundreds of seeds that will grow more plants with more seeds, like sadaqa jariya).
- Set a budget and shop smart, not hard. To be able to afford these gifts, I set a budget and try to find things on sale or in bulk. I usually set a budget of no more than $10 per gift or an overall budget to see how many I can make that Eid and coordinate it with the list of people. The key is not to leave out anyone but to not have any leftover, either and not go broke making the gift bags.
- Make something: I have made things for the gift sets when I couldn’t find what I needed and it has actually been one of the things that brings me even more joy. Handmade things are more thoughtful than any store bought item. In sha Allah I plan to always include at least one handmade item.
- Make a note: The first couple of bags went without a note but when I realized this was my new tradition, I started putting in a note. The note includes a greeting, states the theme, explains what is in the bag and how it fits the theme.
- Be discreet. It’s no fun to see someone else get a gift and you don’t. For this reason, I try to give the gifts as discreetly as possible.
- Choose purposeful gifts There are few things I hate more than useless gifts aka junk. I’m very careful and meticulous about what I put in them. I could easily buy loot bag fillers from the dollar store and relate them to the theme, but will my friends really use bubbles? Or erasers? I do my best to give things that have a high chance of being used or given to someone that will. Also, some kind of food item (usually at least two) is a MUST.
- Watch the baraka unfold. I only buy enough of the items for the number of gift bags. However, a few times, there was a little something for me. One time, I bought a box of individually wrapped gummies only to find it had two extras. Another time, I got more “kindness cards” than the package said would be in there. I saw them as baraka from Allah and a small gift in return.
Thanks to this endeavor, Eid is always in the back of my mind. When I’m out running errands/shopping, I’m on the lookout for things I can include. The entire process of making these goodie bags, start to finish, brings me so much happiness and makes Eid something to look forward to. It makes running into those “specially selected people” on Eid day even better. Sometimes I’m unable to give it to the people I have pre-selected, but then Allah sends me others, and I take it as that is who it was meant for. I hope this inspires you to make goodie bags for your friends and family and that they bring you and them as much joy as they do me.
About Ruqaya Ibrahim