Things work a little differently in a small section of the Gaza Strip.
A group of Muslim women hand-craft gifts for the Greek Orthodox Christmas to empower the local Christian community, which is only about 1,000 people. The Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7.
The group creates Santa Claus dolls, toy Christmas trees and red-and-white puppets that are highly sought after during the holiday season in Gaza, Bethlehem, and Italy.
The group’s product designer, Laila Tayeh, said:
“Our prophet encouraged us to respect all religions and we like to join with them in celebrating their day.”
Tayeh and her colleagues are part of the Zaina Cooperative Association, working in a Gaza community that often restricts women’s movement outside the home.
Haneen Alsammak, the association’s executive manager, said the project had given women training in carpentry and tailoring, and enabled them to leave their homes to work and spread some Christmas cheer.
“This is a message of love toward Christians inside and outside Gaza.”