From the end of November to the beginning of the new year, festivities are abundant. Known as the holiday season, decorations are up, gifts are being bought, and cards and season's greetings are exchanged. Some of the holidays celebrated during this time include the Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, and, to conclude, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. However, it's likely you know someone who celebrates a holiday you've never heard of!
The holidays are about celebrating old traditions and creating new ones. We all celebrate differently based on religion, traditions, personal beliefs, and family values. Your friends, coworkers, and even other family members could celebrate a holiday differently than you. This is a season to embrace all cultures, religions, and manifestations of holiday celebrations.
Here are six tips for creating an inclusive and memorable holiday season for all.
Host a Holiday Potluck
Nothing brings people together like food. Hosting a holiday potluck is a great way to bring people together and share aspects of holiday traditions with one another. Having guests bring a specific dish related to their holiday, culture, or tradition to share keeps the spirit exciting and refreshing. Better yet, you can spice it up by making it a themed party. Some ideas include a dessert-themed potluck, pajama party potluck, or appetizers only.
Gathering around a meal is a great way to spark discussion about different cultures, foods, and beliefs in a lighthearted way.
Holiday Game Night
A fun and competitive game night should always be on the list of things to do during the holidays. Ask your friends or family to share a game night favorite — extra points if they are teaching everyone about new cultures and customs! If you want to make an educational event, try trivia or jeopardy to test everyone's knowledge on the holiday season. Select a few different games, create a point system, and plan for prizes at the end to really set the tone.
This is also a great option for work parties around the holidays. Diversity is often seen in the workplace, and creating a fun, competitive, and educational atmosphere is sure to bring employees closer together.
Gift-giving is not exclusive to Christmas. Many other holidays have gift-giving traditions. You can celebrate with friends by doing gift exchanges. The gifts can follow a theme or a budget. You can even decide to have a craft night and make each other a keepsake, such as jewelry or tied blankets while creating a special memory.
Gift-giving does not have to be stressful! The purpose is to show each other gratitude with a side of holiday spirit. If a friend, coworker, or family member celebrates a holiday that you do not, offer them a gift that is sensitive and encouraging to their culture or beliefs.
No matter what holiday you celebrate, nothing is more valued and celebrated than giving back. Sign up for a volunteer event with friends or family, or host a food/clothing drive. You will be able to spend quality time together and do something good for the community, despite your religious or cultural beliefs.
Volunteering has also been shown to increase self-esteem and reduce the impacts of depression and anxiety!
Holidays are unique to the cultures that they come from, but some things are a common denominator across cultures. That is, being present with people we love and care about, creating memories, and offering our time and energy to create a memorable holiday season.
Whether our holidays are driven by religion, personal beliefs, or family values, a willingness to learn about other cultures and customs is rewarding. Be open-minded to other holiday traditions, and understand that how someone celebrates (or doesn't celebrate), a holiday cannot take away from your own beliefs or traditions.
If a coworker, family member, or friend celebrates a holiday and you do not, ask questions, be curious, and be kind.
Holidays are unique to everyone depending on belief, religion, or family values.
A game night or potluck are great ways to bring coworkers or friends together who may share differing holidays.
Being open-minded to other cultures and holidays is rewarding and does not take away from your own traditions or beliefs.