Holiday Essentials for Leaders in Education

The holiday season filled with celebrations, religious observances, and overeating is upon us!

We know you are making your lists and checking them twice. Here’s another item to add to your list of to-do’s: using the holidays to connect with your parents, students, staff and the entire school community. 

While students and fellow staff are gearing up for the holiday break, seize the opportunity to unite the community through multicultural holiday celebrations and communications. Acknowledging the cultural traditions in your community can go a long way in building and maintaining the relationships that are so vital to school success.

Few months present the multicultural opportunities that December does! The following multicultural events and celebrations are among those that will happen this year:

  • Saint Nicholas Day (Christian-December 6)
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican-December 12th)
  • St. Lucia Day (Swedish-December 13th)
  • Hanukkah (Jewish-December 18th-December 26th)
  • Christmas Day (Christian-December 25th)
  • Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian-January 6th)
  • Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish- December 26th)
  • Kwanzaa (African American- December 26th-January 1st)
  • Omisoka (Japanese-December 31st)
  • Yule (Pagan-December 21st-Sunday January 1st)
  • Saturnalia (Pagan December 17th to the 23rd)

Begin your multicultural holiday planning process by seeking the guidance of local religious and community leaders who celebrate these holidays so that your work in recognizing these days is appropriate and in line with the traditions of the community.  The holiday inclusion planning chart from the Tanenbaum Center For Religious Inclusion can serve as a starting point to plan inclusively for the holidays, taking the demographics of your community in mind. This can serve as the framework for which you base inclusive holiday themed events, communication to families and students, lesson plans, and social media. Avoid planning big school events, tests, and communication to families in accordance with the multicultural holiday schedule out of respect.

The holidays are a great opportunity for content that demonstrates the diversity of your district. Photos and videos of students and families interacting in holiday activities and events make for strong content on your school district website and social media channels to repurpose throughout the year. 

So, while the holidays can be a time to wind down, they are also a time to gear up when it comes to making the most of multicultural holiday celebrations to connect with your school district.