CommunityTips for Holiday Inclusion

Michelle Zohlman

Michelle Zohlman
writes on November 25, 2020

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…except when it’s ruined by lack of inclusivity, am I right? Seriously though, it’s so important that we hold ourselves accountable around the holidays to ensure that everyone can enjoy this time of year. 

There is so much to celebrate, whether it’s Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, New Years, Ōmisoka, and many more! I want to share some tips to keep in mind this time of year to create a more inclusive tech industry (and world).

  1. Not everyone celebrates the same holidays (or the holidays at all). Avoid using terms that isolate celebrations such as Merry Christmas or Happy Thanksgiving. If you don’t know if or what someone celebrates, don’t assume. You might have good intentions, but the impact can be hurtful to someone else. Happy Holidays” is always a better option unless you know that person well.  
  2. Keep in mind financial restrictions when having folx participate in gift-giving. I get that your team or close friends at work may want to exchange gifts because ya’ll are close! Keep in mind this should be something that brings folx together so no one should feel excluded or like they have to participate. Money can be tight this time of year, so don’t mandate folx to spend an unreasonable amount. It’s a tricky balance, but it can be done! 
  3. In addition to financial restrictions, you’ll want to be intentional about dietary restrictions when inviting people to a celebration. Some folx may not eat meat, others might be recovering from an eating disorder, or some may be fasting around a holiday. You’ll want to take this all into account when planning! (This tip is in regards to a post-pandemic world. Right now, no companies or groups should be getting together!)
  4. This time of year typically involves drinking alcohol. Remember to have options for folx who opt not to participate in this, so they feel included. For example, your company might want to have a “Holiday Happy Hour” online. Consider focusing it around gathering instead of drinking for folx who are recovering from alcoholism, pregnant, or just don’t want to consume alcohol! 
  5. HAVE FUN! Whether or not you celebrate this time of year, it is more than OK to share your traditions. You want folx to be able to be authentic and share their lives. This can be sharing how you’re spending your holiday, decorating your office, etc. steer clear of assuming what folx celebrate or pushing them to celebrate something they’re not comfortable doing.  

What tips do you have to make the holidays (and tech) more inclusive this time of year? Let us know!


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One Response to “Tips for Holiday Inclusion”

  1. Thanks for sharing and teaching these most important but so often forgotten principles and ideals Michelle! Happy Holidays! Inclusion matters.

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