Tips for an Inclusive Office Celebration

As the year draws to a close, it’s that time again—yep, the holiday season is peeking around the corner. But hey, it’s not all about Santa hats and tinsel. For HR pros and managers, this season can be a bit of a puzzle. How do we host an end-of-year event that honors everyone’s traditions without unintentionally excluding anyone?

Enter the “December Dilemma.” With diverse teams and a melting pot of beliefs, the challenge is creating an inclusive celebration that embraces everyone’s traditions, preferences, and beliefs. It’s like trying to juggle a dozen snowballs without letting any hit the ground! So, where do we begin?


1. Understand Your Team:

Understanding what matters to your employees is key. While many celebrate Christmas, there’s a myriad of holidays and traditions that often go unnoticed. Recognizing these diverse celebrations is a step towards inclusive festivities.

2. Plan with Diversity in Mind:

Engage a diverse team when organizing the celebration. Different perspectives ensure a more inclusive event that embraces everyone’s traditions.

3. Opt for Voluntary Participation:

Respect individual choices. Make attendance optional, allowing everyone to join or abstain based on their preferences or beliefs.

Important Note: A common question we receive this time of year is whether non-exempt employees need to be paid to attend a holiday event or party. The answer – If it’s during normal work hours and if attendance is mandatory, you are required to pay them to attend. However, as stated above, we suggest that companies don’t make attendance mandatory.

4. Mindful Catering:

Ensure your menu accommodates dietary needs and cultural preferences. A varied spread ensures everyone feels welcome at the table.

5. Thoughtful Decorations:

Decorate thoughtfully, representing diverse themes and symbols beyond the usual holiday imagery. It’s a nod to inclusivity and respect for all traditions.

6. Celebrate Learning:

Host sessions where team members share their holiday traditions. Learning from each other fosters understanding and strengthens team bonds.

7. Flexibility with Time Off:

Offer flexible time off for religious observances. It shows respect for diverse beliefs and encourages an inclusive workplace culture.

8. Embrace Feedback:

Create avenues for feedback to continually improve your celebrations. Adapting to suggestions ensures an evolving and inclusive approach.

9. Embrace Imperfection:

Acknowledge that mistakes may happen. It’s not about flawlessness but responding inclusively when things don’t go as planned.


Let’s make this holiday season a time of unity, appreciation, and understanding. Cheers to creating inclusive and memorable celebrations that truly bring our teams together! Here’s to a jolly and inclusive holiday season, from all of us at JB Consulting Systems!