Trigger warning: college Christmas guidelines

Check out the Christmas celebration guidelines issued by some U.S. colleges.



University members are reminded to be respectful of the religious diversity of our students and colleagues and are encouraged to use an inclusive approach in celebrating the holiday season. Individuals and units demonstrate this inclusive approach by:

  • Focusing on the winter season rather than a particular holiday
    • Displaying symbols that visually represent holidays of several religions in combination with secular decorations of the season.

Guidelines for inclusive seasonal displays:

Winter Holiday Displays/Decorations that are Consistent with Cornell’s Commitment to Diversity and the University Assembly Guidelines:

  • Snowflakes
    • Trees (in accordance with Fire Safety Guidelines) decorated with snowflakes and other non-religious symbols

Winter Holiday Displays/Decorations that are NOT Consistent with Either University Assembly Guidelines or the University’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusiveness

  • Nativity scene
  • Nativity scene
  • Menorah
  • Angels
  • Mistletoe
  • Stars at the top of trees
  • Crosses
  • Star of David




Best Practices for Inclusive Holiday Celebrations in the Workplace

We encourage you to implement the following best practices for inclusive holiday celebrations.

  • Ensure your holiday party is not a Christmas party in disguise.
  • If sending holiday cards to campus and community partners, send a non-denominational card or token of your gratitude.
  • Holiday parties and celebrations should not play games with religious and cultural themes–for example, “Dreidel” or “Secret Santa.” If you want to exchange gifts, then refer to it in a general way, such as a practical joke gift exchange or secret gift exchange.
  • Décor selection should be general, not specific to any religion or culture. Identify specific dates when décor can be put up and when it must come down.
  • Refreshment selection should be general, not specific to any religion or culture.




  • Individuals or departments may choose to focus celebrations on neutral, seasonal themes. Greenery, white lights, snowflakes, bows (preferably not red or green), and similar motifs convey an inclusive holiday spirit.
  • Decorations and food should be general and not privilege any religion.

It’s a new era, folks.






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