Ever since we published articles about diversity during the holidays, we have been getting questions asking for more information in specific areas. We decided to share three of the most common questions along with our answers.
We hope our answers will help you in your professional and personal relationships with people who are different than you.
Q1. Aren’t you being too politically correct when you tell us to not have a Christmas party? That’s a time when we get to socialize and feel good.
Answer: We have never said don’t have a Christmas party at your house. We are only speaking about the work environment, where you have people who do not celebrate Christmas but celebrate other holidays. You can have a holiday party or end of year party. You can even ask people to talk about any holidays they celebrate this time of year.
Q2. What’s wrong with calling it a Christmas party. Everyone at work knows what it means. I think you are being to nit picky.
Answer: There are a lot of people in the workplace that do not traditionally celebrate Christmas; Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Jehovahs Witness, Hindus, etc. Many of these people do not celebrate Christmas and feel excluded. They would like to socialize and be part of office festivities but are uncomfortable and their solution is to simply not attend.
When this happens your organization has lost an opportunity to bring people together and help build a more cohesive team. Its very important for the success and productivity of employees that they see themselves as a valued member of an organization where they can be comfortable presenting ideas, and being themselves.
Q3. How do I know what holidays people celebrate? I don’t want to say the wrong thing.
Answer: Just ask them. You might be surprised. Someone who seems a lot like you may celebrate very different holidays, and someone who seems totally different may celebrate exactly what you do. Also, don’t make assumptions about how people celebrate this time of year based on how they look.
Use this time to celebrate diversity and be more inclusive my engaging in discussions where you will learn more about people who are different than you, and where you may be surprised by some of the similarities.