The Christmas Trap
December with its holidays is a special month. Many people get swept up into feeling good, sharing with others and reconnecting with old friends.
But mind you: December can also be tricky, especially if you are working with a globalized team of people.
Who celebrates Christmas and who doesn’t? If you don’t want to harvest an uncomfortable silence after wishing colleagues from other religions a ‘Merry Christmas’ it is time to do a little research. Find out what holidays members of your team are celebrating. You might be surprised.
In the Islam for instance Christmas is not a holiday. Muslims celebrate the birth of the prophet Mohammed which will be on February 15, 2011. They do have festivities in December though the beginning of the Islamic New Year which was commemorated this week on 16 December. Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah in December. Also known as the Festival of Lights, this is an eight-day Jewish holiday celebrated with family and friends.
The Chinese have copied some elements of Christmas – like exchanging gifts and sending cards – but they don’t celebrate Christmas. Some African Americans celebrate Kwanza, the first fruits harvest that takes place the last week of the year. Buddhists, Hindus and Jehovah Witnesses also do not celebrate the birth of Christ in the traditional way.
Since celebrations in the office are meant to create greater team spirit why not turn the corporate Christmas party into a holiday party? Or make it an End of Year celebration? And why not ask each person to articulate something about their traditional or religious festivities?
Do you agree with renaming the Christmas party or do you think it is too politically correct?