While the majority of people in the US celebrate Christmas, there are millions who don’t.
That’s right. Tens of millions of Americans don’t celebrate Christmas religiously, either as followers of non-Christian religions s (Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Jews) or as individuals with no religious affiliation.
Because many stores tap into the cash value of Christmas with their plethora of Santas, ornaments, and Christmas fanfare at your nearby mall, we can easily overlook the depth of the diversity present in America during this season. In reality, many different events, both spiritual, religious, and tradition based, are being celebrated in many different ways during these times and the rest of the year.
There is a growing awareness in the US of the diversity of beliefs, however many people are not sure how to be inclusive of others.
It used to be that being inclusive meant sending out PC “Happy Holidays” greeting cards and changing Christmas office parties to “Holiday parties.”
Today, it’s about more than just changing labels and titles. It’s about using a time to be with friends and family to build understanding and awareness about others no matter what each person believes.
Here are five ways to be more inclusive for everyone:
1. Learn about other celebrations
. Carve out some time from online shopping or a Holiday TV show to learn about another culture’s celebrations during this time.
Watch a TV special on
other celebrations, do a Google search on a holiday, or read books about other holidays and celebrations. Share your learning with others, and use it as a chance to expand the conversation at parties and at the dinner table.
2- Be aware of the fact that
while Chanukah, Christmas,i and Kwanzaa always fall in December, there are other holidays, like Ramadan and Diwali that are not always in December, and can be observed different times of year. For the first time since 1888 Chanukah actually starts on November 27 and lasts into December.
3-Make no expectations.
Realize that people celebrate a variety of holidays during this time of year, people also celebrate the same holidays in different ways, and some people choose to celebrate none. Be respectful of these differences by taking interest in other people’s traditions and making them feel welcome. Spread inclusion and invite other people to yours.
Don’t be afraid to
ask people what holidays they celebrate.
Find out what they do during this time of the year that is special. Let it be an opportunity to learn about different cultures and religions and the traditions that accompany them.
4- Note your calendars
. If the calendar you use does not list holidays like Kwanzaa, Hanukah, Ramadan, and Diwali, find out the dates and record them as reminders. Take a few minutes to mark your address book and contact lists with the holidays that people celebrate. If you’re writing holiday cards, recognize their holiday, and include a little hand-written note acknowledging their celebration.
5- No matter what holiday you celebrate
or don’t, the end of the year is a good time to give the gift of gratitude to the people who are important in your life.