How To Be Inclusive At Christmas
Do you know how to be inclusive this Christmas? With the festive season well and truly here, you may be looking forward to an office party, a Christmas meal, a simple exchange of gifts or for it all to be over. Nevertheless, your company will likely join in the festivities in some way or another. But will they be inclusive of the entire team?
Today, we’ll be guiding you through how you can ensure your festive activities this year are more inclusive. From gifts to parties, there are many ways that people can feel left out at Christmas. However, these suggestions for an inclusive Christmas will prevent your business from making any missteps this year.
No required revelry
Christmas isn’t for everybody, whether it’s due to religious or other personal reasons. While everybody should be invited to your festive celebrations, don’t make them required. You must also avoid making people feel pressured or like they’re missing out if they do not join in.
Name-calling like ‘Scrooge’ and ‘Grinch’ may seem lighthearted, but you could end up hurting someone’s feelings. This is especially important if a person doesn’t celebrate for religious reasons. If they are being called names, you may not only hurt their feelings but also insult their beliefs. To tackle this, warn your colleagues against name-calling at the start of the festive season.
To make everyone feel included, why not hold ‘festive celebrations’ or a ‘winter party’ this year? Putting less focus on the religious aspects could encourage those who don’t celebrate Christmas to join in.
If your colleagues will be exchanging gifts this year, there are a few ways you can be more inclusive. Firstly, like with Christmas celebrations in general, you should make sure that everyone is invited to the present exchange but doesn’t feel pressured to participate.
Some of your colleagues may have personal reasons for not wanting to participate. Others might not be in a position financially to be able to join in. To ensure everyone who wants to participate can, decide a maximum budget together. Ask everybody for budget suggestions and go with the lowest.
Another way to make gift-giving more financially accessible is the tradition of ‘Secret Santa’. This is where everybody is randomly assigned somebody to secretly give a gift to, therefore only purchasing one present. Keep in mind, though, that ‘Secret Santa’ can mean having to choose a gift for someone you don’t know.
This could particularly exclude newer employees or those who work from home. However, to prevent gift-giving anxiety, you could make a list of gift suggestions like food or gift sets. This may also reduce the chances of people giving inappropriate or offensive gifts. If this is something you are concerned about, you could further minimise it with guidelines on unacceptable gifts.
Food faux pas
Speaking of inappropriate gifts, ensuring that employees are aware of each other’s dietary requirements, allergies and food-related religious beliefs is essential. Asking everybody to share any food restrictions they have will prevent them from receiving gifts they can’t enjoy themselves.
This is also a good idea if you are planning on having an office party involving food. Ensure there are plenty of options for those with dietary requirements and allergies to make sure they feel included. If you are having a buffet, you can minimise the chances of cross-contamination by grouping similar foods together.
Similarly, if your team is planning a Christmas meal, have you considered the dietary requirements of those attending? Ensure you choose a restaurant not only with options for those with restricted diets but plenty of them. This way, your entire group will feel included and catered for, which is the goal of an inclusive Christmas.
Parties are all about having fun, but it is important to ensure your festivities are fun for everyone. If you only think about the needs of the majority, you may not be inclusive of the minority.
In addition to being thoughtful about the food you provide, consider how the decorations might make people feel. Like we mentioned, a wintery theme rather than one leaning into the religious elements of Christmas may make some people feel more welcome. In addition, you should also consider the neurodiversity of those attending. As we mentioned in our guide on Halloween, autistic people may find loud or bright decorations overwhelming.
Another thing you must consider for your party to be inclusive is avoiding a drinking culture at the get-together. Drinking responsibility has many benefits for inclusion, such as reducing the chances of inappropriate language and behaviour.
In addition, evading a culture where drinking is encouraged or even just seen as the standard will prevent those who don’t drink from feeling like they are missing out. This is key for being inclusive of those with a history of alcohol dependency, those who do not drink for religious reasons, pregnant people and those who simply wish not to drink.
Enjoy your event
Whether it is a party or gift-exchange, these tips should help you make your festive events more inclusive. Taking a moment to consider the different perspectives of those around you could make their experiences much more enjoyable. In addition to spreading joy through inclusion, these tips can also improve the Diversity + Inclusion of your business. The business benefits of having inclusive events are innumerable, but don’t forget to have fun during the festivities too!