- Health, Wellness & Sports
- Equality Directory
I have become totally frustrated with how holidays are managed at my job. Shouldn’t there be some “separation of work and family holidays?” I don’t want to be an anti-holiday scrooge, so I came up with some ideas to make the season more rewarding and less stressful for everyone. For example, the tradition in my office includes a potluck the day before Thanksgiving where employees sign up to bring in turkey and pumpkin pie and all the same stuff everyone is preparing and eating the next day. Lame.
This year I suggested we pool the money we would spend on the meal and sponsor a needy family’s dinner instead. They were appalled. I didn’t give up and suggested this month, instead of doing Secret Santa, we pool our money and sponsor gifts for a local low-income family. Again, I was totally shot down. What is up with the selfishness of the season? Do the holidays bring out the worst in everyone?
Kudos on your attempt to work some elfin’ magic. My opinion is way biased as I’m pretty non-traditional. The premise of Thanksgiving and mass slaughter of fowl, is enough to sour that tradition for me; and, changing a “Christmas Party” to a “Holiday Party” does not disguise the fact that it is indeed a religious holiday. That said, phew!, I’ve learned over the years that each workplace has “culture” that includes distinct norms. Mess with these and it may trickle down to you being a “non-team player.” Your suggestions are admirable, but you are raging against the machine.
What you think is going to reduce stress among your colleagues is actually causing them duress. I am not suggesting you sell out, but you need not take their rejection personally. This year I pulled out of Secret Santa and told everyone I would instead use my $20 toward neutering one of the feral cats in the dirt lot across the street from our office. Would I have done this in some of my other workplace settings? No way. Am I going to win a popularity contest? Probably not. However, I’ve been there long enough to know that everyone expects such behavior from me, and that they are all emotionally comforted knowing that they will still get one of my tacky homemade gifts.
You’ve got to look at your career and decide if you’d rather invite negative scrutiny from your agency, or suck it up and toss a pre-wrapped candle gift set into Santa’s pile o’office goodies. Based on what you’ve told me, my call is to go with it and then enjoy the two month break until dreaded Valentine’s Day.
Diana L. Meier holds a Masters Degree in Social Work and a Masters Degree in Public Health. She is an advocate for the queer community and has developed programs for and developed therapeutic interventions to LGBT youth and adults over the past 12 years in Orange County, San Bernardino County, and San Diego. You can send your questions to email@example.com and if desired request confidential treatment.