Culturally Inclusive Holidays – A Practical Guide for Employers for Culturally Diverse Teams

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[Originally published on Substack on 16.9.23]

Between today and 25th December, marks a 100 day countdown for many.
Between these days are the following 17 cultural holidays (among so many more) that communities around the world observe:
Rosh Hashanah
Yom Kippur
Birth of the Prophet Muhammad
Moon Festival
Gandhi Jayanti
Dia De Los Muertos
Las Posadas
Bandi Chhor Divas
Day of the Covenant
Guru Nanak Gurpurab
Christmas Day

Also some upcoming days to significance to keep in mind:
International Day of Older Persons
Indigenous People’s Day
World AIDS Day
International Day of Non-Violence
Mental Health Week
International Pronouns Day  
International Day of the Girl  
Transgender Awareness Week 
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
International Day of Persons with Disabilities
Human Rights Day
International Migrants Day

Here are some suggestions for employers to create a more culturally inclusive holiday period:

  1. Inclusive Holiday Calendar: Create a holiday calendar that includes not only major cultural and religious holidays but also allows employees to request leave for personal observances or celebrations important to them. This demonstrates respect for diverse traditions.
  2. Flexible Leave Policies: Offer flexible leave options that accommodate various needs. This can include paid time off for cultural or religious holidays, parental leave, and additional paid leave for employees dealing with specific life events or personal matters.
  3. Cultural Sensitivity Training: Provide training for all employees to increase cultural sensitivity and awareness. This can help prevent misunderstandings and promote a more inclusive work environment.
  4. Inclusive Gifting: Encourage inclusive gifting practices during holiday seasons. For example, organize a gift exchange where participants are encouraged to consider their colleagues’ preferences, ensuring gifts are respectful of diverse backgrounds and beliefs.
  5. Remote Work Options: Recognize that not everyone may celebrate holidays in the same way. Offer the option for employees to work remotely during holiday periods, giving them the flexibility to observe their traditions.
  6. Diversity and Inclusion Workshops: Conduct regular diversity and inclusion workshops or seminars that address topics like cultural diversity, unconscious bias, and respectful communication during the holiday season.
  7. Inclusive Decorations: If your workplace decorates for holidays, ensure that decorations are diverse and respectful of various cultural and religious backgrounds. This can help employees feel more comfortable and included.
  8. Accommodations for Dietary Restrictions: If holiday meals are provided, offer options that cater to different dietary restrictions, such as vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free choices. Consider cultural and religious dietary preferences as well.
  9. Mental Health Support: Recognize that the holiday season can be stressful for some individuals. Offer mental health support services, such as counseling or stress management workshops, to help employees cope with the pressures of the season.
  10. Feedback Channels: Create channels for employees to provide feedback on holiday policies and practices. This can help you continually improve your inclusivity efforts and ensure that employees’ voices are heard.

By addressing these areas, employers can create a more inclusive and supportive holiday environment for their employees.

Allied Collective works with organisations to improve workplace culture, wellbeing and productivity with a holistic approach. Using inclusive facilitation and wellbeing at heart, we evaluate and implement solutions that receive the highest impact, and help your workplace lead the market in employee experience in a sustainable way. We’re just an email away. Contact us at to organise a consultation call.

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