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Volume 37 Number 6 | December 2023

Ogechi Ohaeto, MLS(ASCP), ASCLS Ascending Professionals Forum Vice-Chair, ASCLS Diversity Advocacy Council Secretary

Stephanie Whitehead, MBA, MPH, MLS(ASCP), ASCLS Diversity Advocacy Forum Member

Ogechi Ohaeto Stephanie Whitehead

As the holiday season is upon us, it is important to consider the diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) of all in our workplaces when celebrating. DEIB should be at the forefront of holiday planning to ensure everyone is welcomed and celebrated. While it’s easy to get caught up in the festivities, there are some key things to keep in mind to ensure everyone feels included and respected. It is important to consider the different needs and backgrounds of all employees, and strive for an equitable and inclusive holiday celebration. This can include activities and events that are accessible to all, and that recognize and celebrate different cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds. Here are some considerations to help create an inclusive and equitable holiday season.

Be mindful of the religious and cultural backgrounds of your colleagues and be aware of any special observances they may have. If possible, provide flexible hours or time off to accommodate these special events.

  • Celebrate diversity. As the holidays bring us together, make sure to celebrate all of the unique cultures and traditions that make up our communities.
  • If you plan to hold a holiday celebration, make sure to plan activities that everyone can take part in, such as an ugly sweater contest.
  • When it comes to food, be sure to provide options that are suitable for all. A potluck is a great way to do this. Make sure you have inclusive holiday decorations, i.e., snowflakes, poinsettias, and strings of white lights.
  • Be sure to keep the event open to all, regardless of religious and cultural backgrounds, and be sensitive to any beliefs or practices that may be different from your own. Don’t forget your off-shift and weekend employees! Oftentimes we focus only on having festivities during the day because that is when most of the staff are present.
  • Consider being mindful of the language used to talk about holiday activities and be aware of potential hurt feelings that could arise from certain language. DEIB language should be used to ensure that any conversations about the holidays are respectful and inclusive of all employees. Consider replacing words such as “Christmas,” “Chanukah,” or “Kwanza” with more general terms such as “the holidays” or “the winter season.”
  • Provide education and resources. Educate yourself and your team on cultural and religious holidays and provide resources for further learning.
  • Acknowledge that the holidays can bring up different emotions for different people. For some, the holidays are a time of joy and celebration. For others, it can be a time of sadness and loss. Check in with those around you and create space to talk about the range of emotions that may arise during the season.
  • Create a safe space for open dialogue. This season is a great time to learn more about different perspectives and experiences. Ask questions, listen, and strive to understand. Commit to being a better ally and advocate for DEIB.

By taking these considerations into account, your holiday season can be a time to come together and celebrate our shared humanity while honoring our differences. Commit to creating an inclusive and equitable holiday season this year. In doing so, we can make this festive season not only a time of joy and merriment but also a time of unity, understanding, and compassion for all. Embracing the diversity of our world, we have the power to transform our holiday traditions into meaningful expressions of unity and togetherness, fostering a spirit of inclusivity that transcends the boundaries of our differences.

For more tips and tricks for planning your DEIB holiday party, visit:

Ogechi Ohaeto is a Medical Technologist II at University of Florida Health Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida.

Stephanie Whitehead is the Executive Director of Pathology Services at University Health in San Antonio, Texas.

Photo credit: Andrew Knechel on Unsplash