Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years celebrations tend to take the limelight this time of year and can lend towards leaving some of your team members feeling left out. There’s nothing wrong with making a special effort to throw parties and gatherings for these days. It’s best to keep in mind that there are individuals who don’t follow the same traditions.

If you aren’t sure where to start, take some time to consider a few ways to make sure everyone in the office feels appreciated this holiday season.

Do Your Research

Maybe you have only resorted to focusing on Christmas because you really aren’t aware of how many other holidays there are for many types of religions/cultures. If you’re gathering a party/event team to celebrate the end of the year, try to include people that are familiar with multiple family traditions around this time. Make it clear that the goal is not to single anyone out, but to make everyone feel included.

Be Sensitive

Holidays in general can be very hard for a lot of people. For some, this brings up memories of passed loved ones, financial trouble, or lack of family around them. If some of your employees are reluctant to attend business parties, or celebrate at all, don’t take it personally. It’s not because they don’t want to have a good time. It may just be too difficult for them to enjoy.

Action Steps

Make sure people know that attendance is optional. Forcing people to come to holiday celebrations, can cause them to feel very uncomfortable, and ultimately resent you for this mandate. Overly communicate that you would love to see them participate, but ensure them you will truly be okay if they choose to opt-out.

Include many culinary options. Yes, there are traditional food items that are sure to please the majority of your work force. However, there are many other diets to consider while preparations are in order. Some groups may be following kosher, halal, or vegetarian diets, and can feel terribly uncomfortable if your event doesn’t provide options for them.

Think about creating a two-part event. If you want a “party” atmosphere that involves dancing, alcohol, or loud, secular music, considering a two-stage event could be best. Some groups do not participate in those traditions, and will not feel welcome, or possibly offended. Plan for a nice dinner at a venue that has a classier atmosphere, and if you still want the party aspect, take it to another venue! This plan seems optional and those that don’t typically enjoy those atmospheres won’t join.

There are many ways to make everyone feel appreciated during this time of year, and these are just a few options. Take some time to consider what works best for you and your team, because everyone workplace is different. However, don’t just settle for what’s easiest this year. Go the extra mile for those who always do the same for your business.