There are probably hundreds of things you can do in your life to be an ally, so here are just 4 ideas to think about this holiday season.
1. Remember not everyone celebrates the holidays you celebrate. This is not the obvious default that some people celebrate Hanukkah, which is true. This includes Jehovah Witness’s who traditionally do not celebrate any religious holidays. There are people who have lost loved one’s recently or around the holidays and quite frankly choose not to celebrate. As for myself, I have struggled with certain popular holidays in the U.S. for political reasons. This doesn’t make me a “Grinch,” but I have been accused of it quite often. This, in my opinion, just shows how different we can be without even realizing it. By the way, it hurt my feelings being called a Grinch…
Instead of Merry Christmas try “Hope your time off is exactly what you want it to be.” Or, “If you celebrate anything this time of year, then enjoy it! If you do not, then enjoy the time off!”
2. Use the holiday season as an opportunity to explore another culture. Decorate your personal workspace with a different cultural tradition. Research first! Google is free and easy! To make sure people don’t think you are making fun of another culture, print out info about your research and hand it out (with a wink) as an educational resource. Don’t forget to share what you have learned with the young people in your life, too!
3. Be thoughtful about the socioeconomic diversity around you. The way someone dresses or the car they drive is not a viable way to determine another person’s finances. Instead of setting price limits on grab bag gifts – make the gift a re-gift or make crafts available and encourage everyone to make something!
4. Never waste an opportunity to be an ally. Listen for opportunities to enhance community, appreciate diversity, be an ally, and encourage inclusive thinking. Why not help a friend out?
Have more ideas? Share them! I would love to hear them… and share them!