There may be no better time of the year to practice inclusivity in your school community than the holiday season. Whether cultural or faith-based, this time of year offers new insights about those in your community, including students, teachers, and fellow administrators.
Below we’ve gathered some important considerations when planning holiday observances or celebrations in your community.
Be aware of the “December Dilemma”
In case you’re unaware of the term, the December Dilemma is the time of year where multiple holidays collide, and even those with the best intentions can find themselves in the middle of potentially hurtful misunderstandings. Developing a plan that recognizes and honors the many different holidays is the best way to approach this month.
Celebrate all year round
Only celebrating holidays in December (even if you attempt to acknowledge them all) is not being inclusive. Make sure to consider holidays that fall throughout the entire school year and recognize them appropriately. Some examples include Diwali, which falls between October and November, and Rosh Hashanah, which is observed in September.
Keep it balanced
If you look at what events you have planned for your district during the month of December, does more than 50% of your calendar center around one theme or holiday? If so, ask other admins to weigh in with thoughts on how to keep your December events balanced.
Don’t single anyone out
While it might be exciting to have a student that celebrates Kwanzaa in your school, don’t make them an ambassador for their culture. A true inclusive community means that no one person is left out – or put on the spot – because of their traditions or beliefs.
Remember to include those who don’t celebrate
There is a chance you will have students or faculty members who don’t celebrate any religious or cultural holidays in December. It’s important to make sure you schedule a few winter-themed activities that don’t involve a holiday motif. Some popular ideas include celebrating the winter solstice, creating a life-size igloo out of milk cartons, or decorating gingerbread cookies.
Need more ideas for celebrating the holidays with students? Check out Celebrating the Holidays in the Classroom.