End of year celebrations – Supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace during the holidays.

End of year celebrations – Supporting diversity  and inclusion in the workplace during the holidays.

Dilemmas around the holidays – what do you do… Christmas tree up in the workplace? Christmas cards and Kris Kringle celebrations? Do you wish everyone happy festive season?  Do you totally ignore the time of year altogether in the spirit of not insulting others who may not be celebrating?  But then, do you potentially insult people in the workplace that do celebrate Christmas?  Does your head spin with all these questions?  That is understandable, because it does for me!

I am very blessed, as a Jewish woman, to celebrate Hanukkah as well as Christmas as my partner is Christian.  In our household we celebrate the diversity and gifts of two traditions – we have the Christmas tree and Hanukah candles up, so we all celebrate the month of December with double the joy. Our children love December so much with all the sparkle and light!

So for me, the lesson I share with you from my own experience in December often begins by just being mindful of diversity, inclusion and belonging in the workplace.  Whatever you do to recognise the month of December, a good start is by consulting with all those in the workplace.  Have the conversation, listen to everyone’s contributions and collectively decide how you as a team recognising and valuing everyone’s differences, want to celebrate the month of December!  

Just remember in the month of December there are numerous celebration days across a wide variety of backgrounds.

A couple of tips for building awareness of diversity and creating an inclusive holiday environment:

  • Combine office Christmas parties to include happy holidays parties that help to spread a message of diversity and inclusiveness.  This is about using the holiday celebration time with colleagues  to build understanding and awareness of the traditions and beliefs of others.
  • Learn about others religious celebrations of your team or colleagues and share your learnings with others. Use it as a chance to expand the conversation at the office party!  Encourage employees to share their celebrations through stories, decorations and food!
  • Not holding expectations and acknowledging that there will most likely be colleagues who may choose not to celebrate any festival during this month.  Be respectful of these differences by taking an interest in others who have their own unique traditions  around the year and engage with them. Ask them what holidays they celebrate and what traditions look like for them.  Share the joy of the conversation and learn from each other.

So however you choose to celebrate the month of December in the workplace, the key message is to celebrate the multitude of traditions from many cultures and use it as an opportunity to further your understanding of those around you.

So until next year... enjoy, celebrate, and be grateful for the simple joys this time of year gives us. Often the most wonderful connections are made when diversity is celebrated.

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