Holiday Celebrations in the Workplace

The winter season is full of holidays that ignite a sense of unity, yet many in the HR field find that holiday celebrations in the workplace leave a large number of employees feeling alienated. While office events and celebrations are conducive to bonding and team-building, planning a holiday celebration must be handled with care to ensure that all employees feel included. This is not always an easy task; however, it is a necessary step that must be taken to ensure corporate wellness.

Consider Religious Connotations

While events such as the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving are American holidays, it’s important to remember that many winter holidays are religious holidays. Before planning a holiday celebration in the workplace, consider the meaning behind the holiday. Christmas, for instance, commemorates the birth of Christ, while Hanukkah honors the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Certainly, throwing an office bash that solely recognizes the birth of Christ or the lighting of a menorah could be seen as religious discrimination to those with different beliefs.

Throw a Seasonal Bash

Despite the fact that an office may have people who observe various religions, it is still possible to organize a holiday celebration that includes everyone. The simplest way to celebrate the holiday season is to organize an event that is not tied to any one particular religion. For instance, a celebration declared a “winter bash” is acceptable. Opt for decorations that symbolize nonreligious symbols of the season, such as snowflakes or snowmen. The food, beverage and activities should follow the same guideline; seasonal items that are nondenominational.

Make Attendance Optional

Workplace celebrations that do include religious symbolism associated with one religious holiday should also include symbolic mementos of others. This will ensure that individuals with varying beliefs will feel welcome and included in the celebration. Keep in mind that not all employees will observe religions that have holidays in the winter. These individuals may feel uncomfortable participating in celebrations associated with other beliefs. In this case, be sure that attendance is optional so that employees can determine for themselves if they feel comfortable attending. By following these tips, companies will eliminate the risk of religious discrimination while boosting morale.

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