Even if you’re a natural at organizing memorable office shindigs, planning a holiday party for a diverse group might leave you stumped. Before stressing about what to do, remember that Christmas might be a religious holiday, but it’s also a national holiday that offers workers many benefits such as time off from work and general merriment that almost everyone can relate to.
Theme and Decor
Focus your holiday party’s theme on the season rather than on the religious aspects of Christmas. Organizing your workplace’s holiday party with the season in mind opens the range of activities you can plan. Depending on your workplace culture, available space, budget and geographic location, consider organizing an indoor or outdoor winter carnival or a formal gala. Liven up the party venue with neutral decorations such as poinsettias, fresh and dried flower arrangements, white festive lights and brightly colored party streamers.
Create a playlist of seasonal but neutral songs. Classics such as “Let it Snow” and “Winter Wonderland” quickly set the holiday mood without the religious references that could alienate some coworkers. You also could skip holiday music altogether and play a neutral mix of oldies from the 70s, 80s or 90s. Hire a band or DJ experienced in playing for diverse audiences, since these professionals usually know exactly what to perform or play to engage their audiences.
For some people, there’s more discouraging than going to a holiday party and not being able to eat any of the food. So, instead of serving the standard array of cookies and punch, survey your coworkers to find out if you need to accomodate any specific dietary requirements. Offer vegetarian, low-sugar and low-fat options based on your findings. If you’re organizing a holiday party for a small, diverse workplace, consider organizing a potluck and encourage everyone to bring a celebration dish common in their culture.
Keep in Mind
To ensure that you throw an inclusive holiday party, invite your coworkers to be part of the planning committee. When it comes to beverages, avoid serving alcohol during daytime holiday parties, and offer plenty of beverage options at nighttime holiday affairs. Don’t require your coworkers to exchange gifts; every culture has different gift-giving traditions. Instead, your company might consider giving a gift to everyone or simply nixing the gift giving altogether. When possible, invite employee family members to mix and mingle to relax the atmosphere and lighten the mood.