One Season, Many Traditions: How Others Celebrate the Holidays

Arin N. Reeves
November 2014

Is history the same thing as tradition? Is tradition always derived from history? These questions, while somewhat philosophical in nature, raise important questions about how we gather, connect and celebrate holidays in today’s workplaces.

As we move into the holiday season and prepare ourselves for the barrage of commentaries, critiques and counsel on how the holiday season should be recognized and/or celebrated in workplaces (especially ones that are focused on being inclusive), reflecting on the question of how history and tradition are different is an exercise that leads to greater understanding of differences, no matter what answers you select.

Think Smarter. Lead Better.

  • When we lose the right to be different, we lose the privilege to be free.

    Charles Evan Hughes
  • Wit lies in recognizing the resemblance among things which differ and the difference between things which are alike.

    Madame De Stael
  • Diversity and independence are important because the best collective decisions are the product of disagreement and contest, not consensus or compromise.

    James Surowiecki
  • In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.

    Audre Lorde
  • America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. It acted on this belief; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.

    Louis D. Brandeis
  • Diversity: the art of thinking independently together.

    Malcolm Forbes
  • Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity.They are the vital process of policy among free men.

    Herbert Hoover
  • Peace is not unity in similarity but unity in diversity, in the comparison and conciliation of differences.

    Mikhail Gorbachev
  • Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in.

    Isaac Asimov
  • The biggest mistake is believing there is one right way to listen, to talk, to have a conversation -- or a relationship.

    Deborah Tannen
  • Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

    Stephen R. Covey
  • There never were in the world two opinions alike, no more than two hairs or two grains; the most universal quality is diversity.

    Michel de Montaigne
  • The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.

    Albert Einstein
  • Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.

    Walter Lippmann
  • Honest difference of views and honest debate are not disunity. They are the vital process of policy among free men.

    Herbert Hoover
  • To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.

    Tony Robbins
  • The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Differences challenge assumptions.

    Anne Wilson Schaef
  • It is not that I'm so smart. But I stay with the questions much longer.

    Albert Einstein
  • Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilisation.

    Mahatma Gandhi
  • Wide differences of opinion in matters of religious, political, and social belief must exist if conscience and intellect alike are not to be stunted, if there is to be room for healthy growth.

    Theodore Roosevelt
  • Difference of opinion is helpful in religion.

    Thomas Jefferson
  • Strength lies in differences, not in similarities.

    Stephen R. Covey
  • I not only use all the brains that I have, but all I can borrow.

    Woodrow Wilson
  • Diversity creates dimension in the world.

    Elizabeth Ann Lawless
  • Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs.

    Leo Tolstoy
  • Controversial' as we all know, is often a euphemism for 'interesting and intelligent.

    Kevin Smith
  • One must even beware of too much certainty that the answer to life's problems can only be found in one way and that all must agree to search for light in the same way and cannot find it in any other way.

    Eleanor Roosevelt