Creating Inclusive Holiday Celebrations – ep.116

Achieving Your Dreams – ep.115
November 16, 2023
Becoming Mindful – ep.117
November 30, 2023

In this episode, I explore tips for creating inclusive holiday celebration that fosters a sense of community and recognizes diversity around your dinner table. 


Melyssa Barrett:  Welcome to the Jali Podcast. I’m your host, Melyssa Barrett. This podcast is for those who are interested in the conversation around equity, diversity, and inclusion. Each week I’ll be interviewing a guest who has something special to share or is actively part of building solutions in the space. Let’s get started.

Welcome to today’s episode of the Jali Podcast. Today I wanted to spend just a few minutes talking about inclusive holidays. We are in the midst of the holiday season, so I wanted to make sure just to highlight some opportunities to create inclusion. How do we make this holiday season more welcoming and enjoyable for everyone? Let’s talk about how we create an inclusive holiday that celebrates diversity and fosters a sense of community. Many think of Thanksgiving as a time for family, friends, and good food, but it can also be a time for exclusion, discomfort, it may even trigger trauma. This can be especially true for those who don’t fit into the popular traditional Thanksgiving or holiday narrative. I wanted to offer a few tips for making sure you’re creating an inclusive holiday season. First, look at the diversity of people at your table. Is there an opportunity to pull in others and engage? This could include people of different races, ethnicities, religions, gender identities, sexual orientation. And as we gather around the table this year, let’s make a conscious effort to create inclusive holidays that embrace those cultures, backgrounds, and beliefs from all over.

New friendships, relationships, or partnerships often bring new people to the table. Be intentional about welcoming them into the family conversation. Be more aware of some of the subtleties. Do a little research even maybe on the land where you’ll be eating your meal. What tribe inhabited the original land? Do some research. Get interested and curious about how you want to spend your time. Next, think of opportunities to show gratitude to others, not necessarily through gifts, but through words, gestures, even a note. Make an actual phone call to show your gratitude to others. Talk to someone, see how they’re doing. Don’t send a text, but actually pick up the phone and say hello. Ask them what their biggest focus is these days and whether they’re pursuing their purpose. Take some photos to remember the occasion, but maybe bring some photos to help people experience the stories that you will share. What were some significant events that occurred in your life this year, and what types of plans do you have for next year?

Be mindful of language and avoid making assumptions about people’s backgrounds or beliefs. Instead of making assumptions, get curious and guess what? You may actually learn something. When thinking about food, think about food options that are inclusive. I have a friend who has a gluten allergy, for example. Then guess what? I found out I should actually be eating a gluten-free diet because of a medical condition that was just diagnosed. So, make sure the food options are inclusive and cater to different dietary restrictions. This does not mean that you need to make a whole second dinner or change your whole meal. Just be more intentional and conscious about what we are putting into our bodies. What other traditions or rituals do you have in your family or from the friends that you are inviting? Be open to learning about other cultures and traditions? Is there an opportunity to create a new tradition or ritual?

Try out a few new things. Is it making some great food or dish? I know some family members use the opportunity to get together and create all sorts of great meals. Does your tradition include watching or playing a sport, baking, whatever it may be, create the time to be present and enjoy the time together. Creating inclusive holidays is not just about making people feel comfortable. It’s also about enriching our own lives. By experiencing the richness of different cultures. By opening our minds and hearts to others, we can create more vibrant and meaningful celebrations. And guess what? A more vibrant and meaningful life. Thank you for listening to today’s episode. I hope some of these tips will help you create more welcoming and enjoyable holidays.

Be intentional about the gratitude you have for these moments. You never know when this time, these moments might be the last. Enjoy every moment of every day and create the life you want to see. For everybody out there, have a great season. Whatever you celebrate, enjoy the moments that you have with family, friends, and be grateful. Before my father passed, one of the things that he used to tell us all the time, everyday is another day to celebrate. Thanks for joining me on the Jali Podcast. Please subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. See you next week.