Choosing to recognize winter holidays celebrated by various cultures helps employees who would otherwise be left out of traditional mainstream festivities feel connected and respected.

Diversity experts say celebrating cultures at work brings together differing histories while encouraging learning and a true sense of belonging. Whether your entire team is working from the office or dialing in from home, you can make sure they’re represented by incorporating specific and general holidays from a diverse set of cultures into your corporate calendar.

Here are 4 tips for hosting diversity and inclusion winter celebrations at work.

1. Focus on inclusivity

Inclusivity means including all holidays and celebrations represented by your workforce. If you’re not sure whether a particular holiday is celebrated by someone on your team, put it on the calendar anyway. It’s an opportunity to raise awareness and create a more globally-minded professional community. And, even if a holiday isn’t directly relevant to your staff, chances are you have a client or business contact who does celebrate and will appreciate your efforts to be inclusive.

Though this list is by no means comprehensive, here are some fall and winter holidays to consider:

  • Bodhi Day: A Buddhist holiday, traditionally celebrated on December 8, that serves as a time of meditation prayer in honor of the day Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment
  • Diwali: A 5-day Hindu Festival of Lights that usually occurs late October or early November
  • Hanukkah: An 8-day-long Jewish festival commemorating the Maccabees’ rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 165 BC
  • Kwanzaa: Though Kwanzaa is a secular holiday, this week-long celebration is still enormously important to many African Americans and is celebrated from December 26 through January 1
  • Chinese New Year: Also known as Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year, starting on February 1 (the new year according to the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar)

2. Make your events fun

While these celebrations can certainly be informative — and in many cases should be — that doesn’t mean they can’t be fun. Incorporate traditional games, encourage participation from all employees (not just those who celebrate the holiday), and use food as a bridge to help familiarize attendees with cultural norms and the flavors of various seasonal dishes.

One way to increase engagement is to use a variety of formats. Some celebrations can be lunch and learns or webinars while others can be evening parties or happy hours. Of course, food is essential. Have the event catered, or if your workforce primarily works from home, provide individual meal credits so your team can order in from a local restaurant and everyone can enjoy the holiday virtually.

3. Plan in advance

Participation goes a long way toward education and enjoyment. Tell your team what events are coming up and what the agenda is for each celebration, even if it’s a simple plan such as offering a few relevant breakfast or lunch options or bringing in musicians to serenade employees.

You can even involve employees in planning by sending out an optional form for staff to fill out and volunteer to help plan an in-person or virtual celebration. Each event can include an educational portion followed by shared food — you can send around local restaurants that make typical dishes for that holiday ahead of time so employees get an idea of what to order within the provided budget.

4. Offer flexible holidays and corresponding time off

Parties are fun, but for many people, winter holidays are more than just a chance to share snacks and exchange gifts. Instead of mandating days off for only the most commonly requested holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, consider offering floating days employees can choose to use anytime throughout the winter months. This makes it easy for employees to engage in traditions or celebrations that occur outside the office.

Providing meals at your company celebrations 

A Grubhub Corporate Account is a simple, cost-effective way to provide meals for your winter celebrations and more. With hundreds of thousands of restaurants in over 4,000 cities across all 50 states, Grubhub offers a variety of cuisines for your team to enjoy during these cultural celebrations, all while supporting local restaurants.

To learn more, contact our team today.