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December Article




A lot of people already get used to have Christmas holidays in December and is widely celebrated in different parts of the world. Christians celebrate December 25 as the birthday of Jesus Christ, while many others take this as a commercial opportunity. People started to do Christmas shopping as early as in November. Statistics show that Canadian spent an estimated of $1,276 per person in 2020.  Christmas celebration usually includes Christmas Eve (December 24) which Christians believe that Jesus Christ was born at the midnight of 25th December, and Boxing Day (December 26) which was originated as a day of giving gifts to the poor, and of course, today it is primarily known as a shopping day.


During Christmas, most people will get their Christmas trees decorated, having different kinds of gifts put under the Christmas tree and having Holly wreath on the door. In fact, there are Christian meaning behind these. Evergreen fir trees are used as Christmas trees because it is the symbol of eternal life that Christ sacrifice himself for people on earth. Gifts are a reminder of the gifts that the 3 shepherds brought to baby Jesus. Holly wreath, with its sharp, pointed leaves, represented the crown of thorns worn by Christ on the cross, and the little red berries symbolized drops of blood. You probably saw a lot of Christmas cards with a lit candle, this symbolized that Christ is the Light of the world.


What is the spirit of Christmas? Christmas spirit means: (1) Appreciation: appreciating what we have in life and be satisfied; (2) Giving: giving love to others; and (3) Servicing: Do something for others. Practicing this helps us to have peace in our heart.


I read an article by Jo Holness from Winnipeg, who talked about politically correct holiday greetings but dampen his Christmas spirit ( I think this article is worth for us to reflect.


In recent years, to be politically correct, ‘Christmas’, ‘Merry Christmas’ has changed to ‘Winter holidays’, ‘Season’s greetings’ because of the sensitivity to different cultures. Many companies started to change their ‘Annual Christmas Dinner’ as ‘Annual Appreciation Dinner’, which has totally demeaned the real meaning of Christmas. How exactly is changing these terms reflect diversity and inclusion?




Diversity and Inclusion is an important term to be discussed. It is all about RESPECT and ACCEPT. People sometimes use these terms interchangeably, but they are quite distinctly different. Diversity is the ‘WHAT” while inclusion is the “HOW”. According to Global Diversity Practice, Diversity is defined as ‘empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin’. Inclusion is ‘the effort and practices in which different groups or individuals having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed’.  A simple way to define Diversity and Inclusion is ‘about capturing the uniqueness of the individual or group; creating an environment that values and respects individuals or group to the benefit of the collective that strives for equity and embraces, respects, accepts and values difference’ (ref. Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion).


Canada is being recognized as one of the most diverse countries in the world based on the Global Diversity Index. The index was based on the ratings of 4 categories: cultural diversity, religious diversity, political diversity, and freedom for diversity. According to Rickshaw Travel, Canada is home to an astounding 195 different languages, and had scored full marks across the board for religious, sexual and personal freedom under the Global Diversity Index. It is a strength for Canada to be diverse, to have the opportunity to learn through differences and be strong via different talents. But the question is ‘How to practice inclusion?’

Before practicing inclusion, let’s start with knowing the barriers to diversity and inclusion. To name a few, barriers can include lack of self-awareness (not having the awareness of our own biases), lack of self-discipline (not able to remind and change our own discriminatory behaviour or view), cultural ignorance (not having the wide scope of different cultures and practices), personal biases and discriminatory behaviours, stereotypes (an unverified and oversimplified generalization about an entire group of people), prejudice (an irrational and inflexible opinion formed on the basis of limited and insufficient knowledge), and ethnocentrism (assuming that your way of thinking and acting is naturally superior to any other).


We can start making changes from ourselves.


“Being Self-aware is not the absence of mistakes, but the ability to learn and correct them.”

- Daniel Chidiac

Strategies to become more aware of yourself:


  • Recognize your biases

    • To understand and recognize your biases, start with reflecting on your own thoughts, perceptions and actions

  • Mindful communication

    • Listening is important, be attentive and sensitive to what interruption and over-talking you may involve

    • Ask respectfully if you have doubts 

    • Respect and welcome everyone’s contributions

    • Be mindful in the tone of your voice, words you use and attitudes you express

  • Be open-minded

    • When meeting ‘differences’, consider their life, their background, their talents, their practices with an open-mind

    • Be curious to learn new things and be educated

  • Challenge stereotypes

    • Recognize stereotype can happen in our daily life. For example, Boys like blue colour and girls like pink colour

    • Don’t label

    • Don’t judge

    • Be aware of the language you used

  • Avoid assumptions

    • Ask yourself what words that you often used. For example, girlfriend, boyfriend. You can use more inclusive term such as partner

    • When communicating, do not fill in the blanks for others

    • Recognize that there can be multiple possibilities

  • Be aware of your privileges

    • Ask yourself who you are, your socio-economic status, where you live, your educational background, your cultural background... All these can be your privilege

    • ​Recognize privilege brings power

  • Be proactive in educating yourself on the topic

    • Let yourself be educated and be responsible for improving your own reality


If we are able to see people just on an individual human level without categorizing them or labeling them, we are then working towards inclusion. It is just that simple humanity and humility that help us move on to the road of diversity and inclusion.


Coming back to Christmas, if we are working towards Diversity and Inclusion, do you think we should keep ‘Christmas holidays’, ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Annual Christmas Dinner’?


Remember the definition of Diversity: Empowering people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different, in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin’. RESPECTING and APPRECIATING Christianity as a religion to celebrate Christmas, which may be different from other religions, other cultures or other practices. But that is the beauty of diversity.

Remember the definition of Inclusion: the effort and practices in which different groups or individuals having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed. How are we to practice ACCEPTING and WELCOMING Christmas traditions in order to respect diversity?


“Inclusion is not a matter of political correctness. It is the key to growth”

- Jesse Jackson




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