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Indiana Occupational Therapy Association

Inclusive Holiday Celebrations

  • Wednesday, December 06, 2023 8:02 PM
    Reply # 13288051 on 13285420
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I imagine the ways in which we professionally experience/engage/discuss the holidays can vary a bit by setting and population. Working with outpatient/home health peds lends itself more towards the arts and crafts side of things more than some settings. Online printable resources also made it very easy to just print and go holiday activities. It was a great way to build in holiday celebrations but there were definitely times that it can be misguided, for example if a family didn't celebrate a particular holiday. It can sometimes feel awkward to ask if someone celebrates a particular holiday, but perhaps we can work to normalize it more. Our occupational profile building is a great example of that. It is also always evolving, which can mean this is information we add as we learn and build more connection with that person/patient. 

    One barrier to inclusivity was that I worked for a religiously affiliated hospital network. As part of the company's values, they celebrated Christmas and other Christian holidays. I never felt that we had to pressure families into participating in the Christmas activities and did try to be mindful of different belief systems. However, the default was Christmas/Christian holidays. I think a lot of times I would try to keep things seasonal (eg. winter themed versus a particular winter holiday). 

  • Thursday, November 30, 2023 1:00 PM
    Message # 13285420

    Hi, friends!

    We are well into the season of holiday party after holiday party! Let's be honest though, most of the time, these are really Christmas parties and can make our non-Christmas celebrating friends feel left out and uncared for. This time of year is filled with many cultural and spiritual traditions. As OTPs, we recognize the value of these traditions to one's wellbeing. What happens to one's wellbeing when their traditions feel unrecognized or minimized? How can we help to not only acknowledge traditions outside of our own but to celebrate them with those around us? How can we structure our treatment sessions to recognize and utilize the traditions of our clients? What about clients who don't celebrate holidays? These are all great questions that we need to be mindful of not just at this time of year but all year round. There are many holidays or celebrations that may be important to our clients that we don't recognize in our personal traditions.

    Do you plan holiday themed treatment activities like worksheets or coloring pages? Does your clinic decorate for the holidays or only Christmas? Do you host a holiday party each December? What can we do to make all of these things more inclusive for everyone?

    I found a few good resources I'd like to share but would love for you to share your ideas and resources too! The more we learn, the better we can serve our clients!

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Since 1926, the Indiana Occupational Therapy Association has helped occupational therapists develop skills, connect with experts and ultimately provide better care to patients across the state.


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