December 2024 Culture Calendar

HIV/AIDS Awareness Month

December 1st marks World AIDS Day and the start of AIDS Awareness Month. There are an estimated 37 million people living with HIV today, making this an important topic of discussion, especially since AIDS claims about 2 million lives every year. The more information we can share and the more resources we can support, the more we can stand with those diagnosed. 

Observance Suggestion: Ensure your employees have access to healthcare, including AIDS treatment. Look up AIDs resources in your area and keep a list on hand so your team members can share or use the information if needed.

Universal Human Rights Month

We’re living in a world where it’s easy to connect to all diverse people, no matter where they are or what their beliefs are. This month, we work to make deeper connections and have conversations that open up our understanding. Regardless of race, religion, background, beliefs, traditions, etc, we are all human and all deserve basic human rights. 

Observance Suggestion: Book a speaker to talk about the rights some people have and others don’t but should. Learn what you can do to make your own organization’s culture more equitable in rights, and perhaps share that information with those you partner with so they can do the same.

National Month of Giving

December is the Month of Giving, and it revolves around people making a difference in society by helping others. It’s a time for individuals and organizations to focus on charitable giving and volunteering. The month encourages acts of kindness, donations, and volunteering efforts that benefit local communities.

Celebration Suggestion: Organize a friendly competition between departments, with winning teams directing donations to their chosen causes. Match employee donations to various charities, doubling their impact.

Calendar dates:

December 1 – World AIDS Day (same every year)

Each year, we set aside some time to mourn those who have died from AIDS. Today, nearly 38 million people in the world are living with the disease, and while there is no cure, there is a viable treatment. Today, we celebrate that this treatment continues to improve and our awareness continues to broaden.

Observance Suggestion: Research nonprofit organizations near you, and give them donations to keep the research going. Get on the lists of updated information so that when the research pays off, you have access to the most recent data.

December 1 – First Sunday of Advent

The First Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the liturgical year for many Christian denominations and the start of the Advent season, a period of preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. This season focuses on themes like hope, peace, joy, and love, offering a chance for reflection and renewal.

Observance Suggestion: Organize a volunteer activity or donation drive that supports a cause aligned with the values of hope, peace, and helping others. This allows everyone to participate in a meaningful way regardless of religious beliefs.

December 2 – International Day for the Abolition of Slavery (Same every year)

On December 2nd, 1949, the General Assembly of the United Nations made a promise to end modern forms of slavery. This includes such acts as sexual exploitation, human trafficking, child labor, forced marriage, and forced recruitment of children for armed conflict.

Observance Suggestion: Commit to ethical labor sourcing in partnerships. Do your research on your current supplier list and ensure they aren’t using child or forced labor.

December 3 – International Day for People with Disabilities (same every year)

Today, we stand with all people who have a disability, regardless of how visibile they may or may not be. You deserve an environment where you and your gifts are valued and respected.  We are in your corner, advocating for accessibility, whatever that may mean for you. This year’s theme is [Insert Theme here]

Observance Suggestion: Learn the language of disability beyond sign language, braille, and electronic devices. Many disabilities aren’t obvious, and learning to communicate with correct and respectful terminology is important.

December 5 – International Volunteer Day

Today we celebrate the millions of volunteers who donate their time, efforts, and knowledge to their communities. Their kindness and generosity break down the barriers of gatekeeping and allows equity to exist more freely. We encourage you to volunteer where you can, whether it be your time at a charity close to you or your knowledge with a non-profit that would benefit from knowing what you know.

Observance Suggestion: Provide PTO for employees to volunteer their time/energy/knowledge to an organization important to them.

December 8 – Bodhi Day (Buddhist)

Bodhi Day celebrates the day the Historic Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. It’s a significant occasion for Buddhists around the world, marking the Buddha’s profound realization that led him to share his teachings and guide others towards liberation from suffering. This day is celebrated with mindfulness and meditation, sutra readings, and decorating the Bodhi tree with lights or candles to symbolize awakening.

Celebration Suggestion: Offer employees a brief opportunity for quiet reflection or meditation during the workday, allowing them to connect with the spirit of the day in a personal way. Consider offering a vegetarian or plant-based lunch option, reflecting the Buddhist emphasis on non-violence and compassion for all living beings.

December 9 – Genocide Prevention Day

Today, in honor of genocide victims and their families, we are encouraging you to do your part in preventing this horrendous crime. It’s necessary to understand the causes of genocide in order to prevent them from happening again. We stand strong in our belief that in order to be innovative and thriving, communities need to celebrate their diversity. Let’s learn from the atrocities of genocide and do better so we can continue the celebration of diversity, not destroy it.

Observance Suggestion: Find an existing organization that inspires global efforts for victims of genocides. Volunteer to work alongside them and encourage employees to do the same.

December 10 – International Human Rights Day

Each person is born with human rights, regardless of where they are born in this world. International Human Rights Day celebrates and honors these freedoms as the standard that all nations can share. In 1948, the UN adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today, we are able to respect this declaration by extending our appreciation for all people in our growing and connecting world.

Observance Suggestion: Hire a speaker to share stories of marginalized people and their fights for human rights. Ask questions on how you can help.

December 21 – Yule Winter Solstice (Pagan)

The Winter Solstice marks when nights become longer than days, but it’s also seen as a mystical day of rebirth in many cultures. Neolithic humans used the solstice to determine the best times to hunt. The Ancient Romans honored the God of agriculture, Saturn. The Inca Empire paid homage to the Sun God. Today Pagans honor the rich history through their own celebrations such as burning paper lanterns to mark the end of the year.

Celebration Suggestion: Give back to nature by scattering seeds for birds or planting a tree. Ask your team members which traditions they may participate in themselves and offer up time to share those traditions with them.

December 25 – Christmas (Christian)

While many people in the United States know Christmas as the holiday to exchange gifts, spend time with family, and feast on large meals, Christians around the world celebrate in different ways. The Philippines holds the Giant Lantern Festival. The demon Krampus captures naughty children in Austria’s streets. Even the Japanese have adopted their own tradition of eating KFC for their Christmas dinner. It’s important to understand that no matter how unique or different some traditions may be, they’re important to the culture that celebrates them.

Celebration Suggestion: Exchange gifts. Not just in your organization, but give to a local hospital, homeless shelter, or other non-profit where people may not otherwise get gifts. Don’t forget to include the organizations your partner with.

December 25 – January 2 – Hanukkah (Jewish)

This 8-day Festival of Lights commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple and is a prominent piece of Jewish history. Each night, families light another candle on the menorah and recite their blessings. 

Celebration Suggestion: Ask to attend a menorah lighting to learn about the holiday traditions.

December 26 – January 1 – Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa is a cultural seven-day celebration full of gifts, community, and African values. Even though many people in the United States mistake it as a religious holiday akin to Hanukka, it is not rooted in religion. There is no deity involved. It’s simply based on African cultures and traditions. During this time families and friends spend time together to discuss the seven principles of Kwanzaa. And even though this is largely an African-American celebration, everyone who values quality human relationships is encouraged to practice its principles all year round.

Celebration Suggestion: Take time within the day to think about the Kwanzaa principles within your organization’s culture: Unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.

December 26 – Boxing Day (Great Britain and Commonwealth countries)

Known as one of the busiest shopping days of the year in the United Kingdom, Boxing Day comes from the church’s practice of opening alms boxes the day after Christmas and distributing the money to the poor. In more recent years, other countries have taken the name of Boxing Day a little more literally by celebrating with fighting events to win prizes. Regardless of how it’s celebrated, those in the United Kingdom take the day to remember their history dating back to the reign of Queen Victoria.

Celebration Suggestion: Honor those who work for you by gifting them a bonus. This could be in money or in the form of something that would make doing work and life easier.

December 31 – New Year’s Eve

As the last day of the calendar year, we say goodbye to one year and welcome in the possibilities of a new one. This gives us the opportunity to reflect on the highs and lows of what we experienced in the last 365 days and make goals for the next. Through late-night parties, ball-dropping countdowns, and toasts to whatever is to come, New Year’s Eve is a worldwide celebration.

Celebration Suggestion: Take time to ask yourself how your organization’s culture has expanded this past year. Then, consider how it might be improved within the next year. Make goals for it. Write it down. Create a promise to yourself and your organization to bring in partners and specialists who can help achieve them.

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