By Ileana Najarro
Children’s Ramadan books were stacked on Asma Malik’s dining table, soon to be wrapped and placed in a gift basket. Colorful lights bought during an after-Christmas sale framed a paper plate scissored into the shape of a crescent moon. A similarly handmade message etched in gold on a wall heralded the coming season.
“It’s Ramadan time!!!”
As the sacred, monthlong tradition begins this week for the world’s estimated 1 billion Muslims — and upward of 60,000 across the Houston area — a growing number of Americans who practice Islam are decorating their homes by repurposing items purchased at craft stores and Christmas closeouts. It’s how Malik, 30, has decorated her southwest Houston home for years.
But big retailers now see opportunity as well, following the lead of companies like Mattel, which makes a Barbie with a hijab, and Macy’s, which offers a line of women’s wear designed with Islamic sensibilities in mind.
Earlier this year, the national party supply outlet Party City launched a line of Ramadan-specific decorations for the first time. The chain, with 850 U.S. stores, sold the party goods online and then in select stores, including one in Sugar Land. The company quickly ran out and is working to restock.
“We listened to our customers who were requesting Ramadan decorations and recognized an opportunity to fill this underserved category of party good items,” Party City’s president of retail Ryan Vero said in an email statement.
Malik, who runs a side business with an Etsy site to sell gift items like baby onesies embroidered with, “My first Ramadan,” gladly bought the new holiday plates and napkins to supplement her crafty home decorations.
“When you see Party City doing this,” she said, “it’s an honor for us.”
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