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Holiday Decorations and Celebrations Guidelines for a Respectful and Inclusive Workplace

During the year, a number of cultural and religious days of significance are observered. This document is to remind us of how we need to be mindful and respectful of the rich diverse cultures that are ever present in our workplace and the communites we serve.

Holiday Celebrations or Activities:

Holiday activities, such as luncheons, potlucks or gift exchanges should be voluntary. Every employee may not feel comfortable participating in the activities or their religious beliefs may prevent their participation. An employee's decision not to participate should be respected. To create a more inclusive work environment, plan a meal to share and learn about different cultural traditions during the holiday season. Supervisors or managers should not be perceived as endorising or supporting religion generally or one religion over another.

Holiday Decorations:

In accordance with federal guidelines, display of holiday décor is dependent upon whether the space is public or whether it is shared or a private workspace. In all casses, holiday decorations should be respectful and sensitive of employees and the public.

Public Work Space: A public work space is any space which the public has physical or visual access that is not private workspace. For example, lobbies, reception areas, front counters, conference rooms, community centers, hallways, or exteriors of buildings.

In a public work space, only secular holiday decorations may be displayed. For the winter season, secular holiday decorations include things like tinsel or garland, snowmen, candy canes, reindeer, etc. Images of people or geographic locations may not be sensitive or respectful of marginalized groups. Religious symbols or holiday decorations with religious content may not be displayed.

Private Work Space: A work space that is assigned exclusively to one employee, such as a cubicle, desk or office that may be seen occasionally by coworkers, but not by clients, customers, or the general public.

In a private work space, an employee may display holiday decorations with religious content or secular decorations.

Shared Work Space: A shared work space is used or shared by employees, such as copy rooms, conference rooms, shared offices, bathrooms or break areas.

In a shared work space, only secular holiday decorations may be displayed. Holiday decorations with religious content cannot be displayed.

Let's make UC Merced a welcoming and inclusive place to work and attend.

If you would like to discuss any of your ideas or have questions please contact De Acker at the Office of Campus Climate.


"Holiday decorations and celebrations guidelines for a respectful and inclusive workplace," adapted by University of Mary Washington