The beautiful thing about Canada is we celebrate a diverse range of faith identities, many of which don’t celebrate Christmas in the same way it’s traditionally done in North America. As much as we want share in the holiday spirit, we also want to create an inclusive environment while engaging in any festivities.
As you start to make plans for your work holiday celebrations, here are a few steps you can take to make your event more inclusive.
- Ensure the language around the event is ‘holiday season’ focused, rather than ‘Christmas.’
- Acknowledge all faiths present in your workplace.
- Decorations and food should be more general and encourage staff of different cultures to share their favourite foods.
- Be respectful of these special dates, and plan events and meetings around various holidays.
Christmas trees, stars, and angels are popular Christmas decorations. Here are some tips to consider when decorating your office to make the display more inclusive:
- Consider how your office might equitably recognize or acknowledge other dates significant to the members of your office or community. When providing ideas for decorations you can include Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Shinto holidays.
- Set an agreed upon limit to number of days that your office will display decorations.
- Incorporate a learning opportunity: Don’t assume everyone understands what the decorations are about or mean. Not knowing can cause people to feel alienated or made to feel like a foreigner.
- Use the holidays as an opportunity to build community within your office, and with the people your office serves or supports.
- Departments are encouraged to discuss how to hold a celebration in a way that ensures respect for all cultures, fosters inclusion, allows access, and is an educative experience. Use of symbols in one religion may have a different meaning in another and cause offense or seem coercive where that is not the intent.