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How To be Inclusive of Every Team Member During The Holidays

Hayley Folk

Hayley Folk

December 19, 2019

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It’s that time of year again: the holidays are fast approaching, festivities are all around and your office is likely gearing up for their annual team celebration. But it is important to recognize that while it’s great to celebrate this special time of year — and can be very fun — our office should aim to be inclusive to every team member, during the season. 

If you’re unsure of how to go about being inclusive to each of your team members during the holidays, we’ve compiled the best ways to go about it. Keep reading to find out how, below: 

Build Awareness 

First, if you’re looking to be more inclusive to every one of your team members during the holidays, you must build awareness throughout your team. Celebrating diversity and inclusiveness is to use the time of holiday celebrations, with family, friends and your coworkers to build understanding and awareness of the traditions and beliefs of others. 

By being willing to be aware and understanding, your office will show each and every team member that they are respected and honored in what they believe in, what they place value in and who they are as people. 

Have No Expectations — Not Everyone Celebrates Holidays

During this time of year — especially in the workplace — it is critical to have zero expectations or make assumptions about someone else’s beliefs. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays and each team member has their own set of beliefs, values and traditions unique to themselves. 

By approaching your team with zero expectations, and making no assumptions about everyone’s celebratory holidays, you give everyone a chance to openly discuss their special celebrations, traditions and unique values. Everyone on your team will be able to learn about one another, honor each other’s preferred holiday and ultimately become closer as a team because of that. Everyone will feel a sense of inclusion. 

Learn About Other Religions and Holidays

Traditionally speaking, when many people think of the holiday season, a few different festive celebrations and days might come to mind: Christmas or Thanksgiving, for example. But there are so many other widely-celebrated holidays, often derived from different religious backgrounds, that coworkers might celebrate instead. In order to be inclusive to your entire team, it is imperative to learn about other holidays and religions, if you’re looking to honor those as well. 

If you’re unfamiliar with any holidays, we’ve compiled a list of holidays celebrated, below. While these aren’t all of the existing holidays, these are commonly celebrated, across the world.

  • Hanukkah: Hanukkah, or Chanukah, is an eight-day Jewish celebration that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem following the Maccabean Revolt. According to WorldStrides, Also known as the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar. Celebrations revolve around lighting the menorah. On each of the holiday’s eight nights, another candle is added to the menorah after sundown. The ninth candle, called the shamash (“helper”), is used to light the others. Typically, blessings are recited and traditional Hanukkah foods such as potato pancakes (latkes) and jam-filled donuts (sufganiyot) are fried in oil. Other Hanukkah customs include playing with dreidels and exchanging gifts.”

 

  • Christmas: Christmas, which is derived from Christian tradition, is celebrated on December 25th every year. The Christmas celebration looks different for everyone — some include the lore of Santa with milk and cookies, also including sleighs and reindeer — but it varies from country to country. Most people are familiar with this celebratory holiday.
  • Kwanzaa: This holiday was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. From He combined aspects of several different harvest celebrations to form the basis of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa comes from the phrase “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits” in Swahili. Each family celebrates Kwanzaa in its own way, but celebrations often include songs and dances, African drums, storytelling, poetry reading, and a large traditional meal. On each of the seven nights, families gather and a child lights one of the candles on the Kinara, then one of the seven principles, values of African culture, is discussed. An African feast, called a Karamu, is held on December 31. 

 

  • Ōmisoka: Ōmisoka, New Year’s Eve, is considered the second-most important day in Japanese tradition as it is the final day of the old year and the eve of New Year’s Day, the most important day of the year. Families gather on Ōmisoka for one last time in the old year to have a bowl of toshikoshi-soba or toshikoshi-udon, a tradition based on eating long noodles to cross over from one year to the next.

Create A Holiday Party That Reflects Different Traditions and Celebrations

If you really want to be inclusive to every team member during the holidays, celebrate by having a holiday party that reflects different traditions and celebrations. For example:

  • Include different decorations, to reflect different holidays. 
  • Ask each member to bring a food or dessert item that is a part of their traditional holiday celebrations.
  • Invite your team members to help contribute to holiday game ideas, decorations and more that brings their own personal flare to the party.
  • Enjoy delicious, festive foods with your team.
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