When the red cups come out at Starbucks, you know the holiday season is upon us. There’s excitement in the air, your colleagues are booking their time off, and you’re in charge of planning holiday celebrations at the office.
You know that not everyone in your office likely celebrates Christmas, so what do you do?
What do you celebrate?
How do you avoid cultural appropriation or tokenism?
How do you celebrate diverse cultures genuinely rather than check a box on a diversity list?
Tip 1: Ask your employees for their advice.
Assumptions never get you anywhere so ask everyone in your office what’s important to them during the holiday season. What and how do they celebrate? What traditions do they follow? How can you bring that into the office? More importantly – do they want to bring them into the office? Stick to what matters to your people and plan your celebrations accordingly.
Tip 2: Bring food into the conversation.
What brings people together more than food? Invite people to bring their favourite holiday foods into the office by organizing a potluck or special treat days. Having different types of food can spark conversations between your people about what their dish is, if there is a cultural or family history associated with the dish, or how to make it at home. Everyone gets a treat and learns something at the same time!
Tip 3: Be flexible with vacation dates.
Did you know that Hanukkah runs from December 2 – 10? That Kwanzaa is from December 26 – January 1?
If there are people in your office that celebrate the holidays on different dates, be flexible to their traditions and when they need time off to celebrate with their loved ones.
Tip 4: Support your community.
As families traditionally come together during this time of the year, consider that not everyone has a family that they can or want to go home to. Extend an invite out to someone you know to join you on the days that they may want to feel extra loved by their friend or colleague. In Canada, temperatures also drop significantly at this time of year – so consider those folks who don’t have a roof over their head and could benefit from a warm sweater, blanket, or healthy meal. Rally your office to volunteer at the local food bank or with a charity that supports people living in harsh conditions.
This is a great way to make your celebrations holiday neutral and human-centric.
In our opinion, the best way to spread the holiday spirit is by making someone’s day a little bit brighter. And we want to hear what works for you! Share in the comments below if you found these tips helpful or if there’s something on the list we missed.
Meet Matt. He is bold. He is always up for the adventure. He is your biggest fan.