It’s easy for people to get caught up in the festive spirit at a time like this. Some people will want to decorate their desk or the whole office. Others will bring in mince pies and sing carols, nonstop, from 9am on the 1st of December. It can make this cold and dark month feel immediately cheery.
But what about people who don’t enjoy Christmas? Or don’t celebrate it?
How do you make sure that no one feels left out in the cold or excluded from that warm, cheery feeling?
To help you manage this Gordian Knot, we’ve put together a few simple tips to make sure your office is both festive and inclusive this December.
But First: Take a Straw Poll
Before the festivities kick off, why not put together a quick anonymous straw poll to find out how many people want to decorate, how many people don’t, and how many people would be interested in decorating one of the other holidays that are celebrated during this time of year.
This information should help you find out if where you stand before the season starts.
If you’ve got a lot of people who want to celebrate something this season, but there is a fair amount of variation in the specific holiday you could try dividing to conquer.
Why not ask all the people who celebrate a certain tradition if they would like to participate and then give each of them a space to decorate?
This way you might end up with a Solstice themed tree, a Hanukah table, an Eid wall display, and a stuffed Santa Claus in the corner. You might even get a Grinch or Jack Skellington lurking around the place. A great way to make sure everyone is able to celebrate (or not).
One Elf vs One Thousand Grinches
Maybe instead of a number of different faiths and traditions to involve, you have a fair number of people who really don’t enjoy the whole festive thing.
You want to make sure you are sensitive to their feelings, but at the same time, you don’t want to stop the minority of people who do want to deck the halls. This split could be 80:20, 50:50, or 20:80 depending on your office.
The easy solution to this is to put the decorations down to the individual level, i.e. people who want to can decorate their own desks, but leave the common spaces alone.
Another solution I’ve heard about but never tried to implement is the combined tree. You put up a tree in the office. Each person in the office is asked to bring or make something to put on it. This can be Christmasy or Grinchy.
So you might have a few nice baubles and some tinsel, along with a small number signs that read “Boo Christmas!” and “Santa: Go Away!”
Obviously this is one that only works if everyone is willing to participate and has a good sense of humour about these things.
A Group Effort
The final option is probably the simplest, but only works if everyone is interested in participating. You ask everyone staying after one day or put the phones on hold for an hour and you get the whole team to bring in decorations and just go mad.
You’ll end up with a myriad of decorations (and anti-decorations) spread throughout the office.
Now this only works if the people who don’t enjoy or don’t celebrate a holiday at this time of year are still willing to decorate. This is a good question to ask on your straw poll.
You can see how, with a bit of knowledge about your team, you can make your office both festive and inclusive.