Mohammad Hussain is taking full advantage of his first Christmas, tweeting detailed field notes on the overwhelming and too-real phenomenon of gift buying, tree decorating and feast planning.
Growing up Muslim, Hussain never celebrated the intense holiday season. However, this year he’s not travelling home, thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic, and instead staying put with his Ottawa roommates.
He said they’re teaching him how to have a “proper Christmas” — a learning curve that seems to have resonated with a lot of people. The thread has more than 237,000 likes as of Sunday afternoon.
“I will say I am having a very pleasant time,” Hussain tweeted. “I am learning that I enjoy Christmas music and gift purchasing. I am also learning that I do not enjoy peppermint.”
Hussain told HuffPost Canada that he’s too busy wrapping gifts for an interview, but is “glad that this story has resonated with so many people and hopefully brought a smile to people in a year we sorely need more smiles.”
His first observation is how much time and effort people put into preparing for what he always thought was the “pretty simple” tradition of putting gifts under a tree. He’s learned it’s actually a part-time job beginning in November.
Hussain’s observations about gifts are absolutely true. Stuffing your own stocking? Please.
In order to honour the Christmas tradition of “keeper” ornaments, Hussain bought one that is truly special and unique — a pink “everything” bagel.
It brought him to his next observation. Ornaments people store in a dusty box in the back of the basement crawlspace, and bring out to hang on a tree for a few weeks a year, are outrageously overpriced.
Finally, it does sound like his roommate is planning a very delicious Christmas dinner feast.
“I want to applaud longtime Christmas celebrators,” Hussain said. “This is a lot of work and very tiring.”
Hussain, who works as a special assistant in the office of the Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, asked people to celebrate Christmas with him by donating to charities to help families through a particularly tough season. He suggested two in the Toronto area, near where he grew up.
Twitter pointed Hussain to other areas of historic Christmas tension for him to study.
Others confirmed the accuracy of his observations.