Holiday Best Practices

Dear Colleagues,

As we venture into the time of year when many of our departments and teams have gathered to celebrate the year's accomplishments and holiday seasons, we want to pause and reflect upon past events, contests and gatherings that may not have been as inclusive as intended. 

We all want to appreciate and recognize the incredible work that has been accomplished as the calendar year comes to an end, and that can still be done through the many benefits of community building and recognition activities. Throughout the year, and using the UC Davis Principles of Community as our guide, we ask that you review the information below regarding recommended best practices, reflection questions, trainings and resources to create an open dialogue that will inform event/activity planning processes and final products.

We would like to encourage our campus community to also reflect on upcoming plans for gatherings or other activities (traditional and new) and celebrate using truly inclusive best practices, and also, where needed, work toward making them more inclusive, considerate, and representative of the immediate team and of our broader community, as appropriate. While for many this time of year in particular represents a season of celebrations, religious observances, giving, and more, it can also be a challenging or stressful time for many different reasons, including factors at or beyond the workplace, peer or environmental pressures, mental health challenges (anxiety, depression, feelings of fear or isolation, etc.), and/or financial hardship.

Additionally, we would like to honor the inclusive efforts that continue to recognize and cherish the richness contributed to our lives and organization by our diversity which fosters a campus culture and climate based on mutual respect and caring at UC Davis and UC Davis Health. Thank you for all that you have done and will do in valuing both our individual differences and our common ground.

Recommended Best Practices
  • Train organizers, supervisors, etc. on how to recognize and accommodate needs. (See information below).
  • Develop a well-communicated and consistently applied practice, rooted in policy and law, that prevents discrimination or exclusion.
  • Offer multiple structures/methods for employees or visitors to report incidents of discrimination, harassment, exclusion, etc. and be prepared to respond.
  • Encourage employees to be sensitive to the beliefs and non-beliefs of other employees and visitors.
  • For planning purposes do not ask questions about an employee's beliefs, however, do solicit interests, ideas and feedback anonymously.
  • Do not ban conduct or expression in the workplace but do have conversations regarding its impact on the work, which includes its impact on one another.
  • Keep events/activities/gatherings (including décor) broad or neutral to be as inclusive as possible.
Recommended Reflection Questions
  • What is/was the original intent or purpose of the event/activity and how is it connected to your work/workplace? 
  • Is this the appropriate time to hold this event/activity? Can this be held until Spring or Summer or another less busy time of year with the same result?
  • Is the event/activity inclusive and respectful of the broader department/unit/team needs?
  • How can the event/activity be adapted to be more inclusive?
  • How has input or feedback been gathered pre- or post-event/activity? Is it gathered anonymously?
  • What is done to measure or to understand the perceived and actual impact of an event/activity?
  • Has feedback from prior events/activities been incorporated into the planning process?
  • Has the Multicultural Calendar been reviewed to identify any conflicting observances and/or accommodation needs that can be incorporated for the event/activity?
  • Does this event/activity encourage community building and/or engagement in a safe and equitable way?
  • Is event/activity attendance mandatory or optional and with what intent?
    • If mandatory, do all participants have equal benefit from this event/activity? Will participants be disciplined in any way, directly or indirectly, for not participating? Why?
    • If optional, do participants receive a special benefit by participating in the event/activity? Is the same special benefit provided to those not participating? Why?

For Questions 

For questions about any of the Holiday Best Practices, please contact us at, or schedule a DEI consultation to discuss any needs or thoughts you or your department may have.