With restrictions lifting and families and friends finally coming together again over Ramadan, here are ideas — ranging from activities to decor tips — to host the perfect iftar feast without the hassle.
Online feast with the family
Most restrictions may have lifted in the UAE but if you are still far away from family who are unable to travel, then it doesn’t mean they can’t be a part of your iftar. Thanks to technology and apps such as Zoom and Google Hangouts, we can all be a little bit closer to share those big moments in life. Set the table and bring your family members and/or friends to break bread with you virtually. Just hearing a voice or three can bring that bit of cheer needed for festive occasions. Those who are unable to join need not be forgotten. Make a phone call or send an e-card.
Cook up homemade treats together
Some of our best memories during the festive season is conjuring up treats in the kitchen with our mums or grandparents. Continue the tradition this Ramadan with the kids at home or if a grandparent or a sibling is around then call them over and make it a family affair. After all, no one can beat mum’s cooking right?
One of the best parts about Ramadan, aside from the delicious treats of course, are the colourful decorations that truly dress up the house for the occasion. Those with younger children at the iftar feast can make this a fun activity for the brood and have them get creative. Make an arts and crafts project with paper and paint or crayons and have the kids paint lanterns and moons to brighten up the house. They can even paint up the balcony glass door if your OCD allows.
Ramadan viewing anyone?
Round up the troops and hunker down for some seasonal soaps that release just over Ramadan. Gulf News has already compiled a list of 66 shows, ranging from thrillers to comedies and a bunch of cooking shows, to keep the family busy. We certainly recommend catching ‘Suits Arabia’ on OSN+, along with ‘Ahlan Simsim’ for the younger kids on MBC3. And if you fancy a bit of culinary mastery, then Fatafeat has some great shows this year.
Dress up for the occasion
You may decorate the home and have the table heaving with the feast, but nothing truly makes a festive occasion than dressing up for the part. Don’t forget to take out your festive best and enjoy this time with the family. You deserve it.
Transform sitting room
Sedar Global’s Creative Director Nahel Selo suggests turning the sitting room at home into a modern majlis with an arabesque style. Selo said in a statement: “True to the heritage of a majlis there should be creative space division so that if you have formal, low-seating arrangements in a certain area adding elements such as ottoman or poufs can create more of a circular and social environment for the family.”
Another trending look for the home is Moroccan motifs that can be added with curtains in bright colours and traditional designs, rugs and even throw pillows. Keep the vibe modern and classy for an iftar setting that will get loads of compliments from guests. Go for warmer colours if you want to keep the home looking cosier, while brighter shades can look more energetic and youthful.
Accessories are key
Lanterns and candles dotted around the home can add a touch of elegance and an element of drama without being too expensive. Light from candles can also make the home feel extra welcoming. If lighting a bunch of candles and monitoring them through the evening isn’t your cup of tea, then fairy lights sprinkled around the house can also add some beautiful lighting. Vases and trays in gold tones can serve as accessory pieces that will look pretty through the year and add visual interest.
Temporary wall art to add focal point
You don’t need to break out the paint can or drills for this one. Temporary wall designs such as a brass accessory, arabesque mirror or even a large, beautiful piece of fabric can create a classy and memorable space for iftar. It’s best to pick just one or two big items for the focal point to retain its impact and prevent the home from feeling too cluttered. The decor can be take down and stored away if not needed after.
A visually stunning table
Is there anything as beautiful as a table filled with your favourite food? The only thing that could enhance it would be some well-thought out decor. Add a bowl of lemons or oranges for a visual treat, place sprigs of herbs or flowers in little glass vases all over, pull out your nicest cutlery and crockery — or at least order some fancier paper plates — and get creative with the dining table. Don’t be afraid to mix colours and textures whether it’s with the table cloth or even a mix of plates and glasses.