Creative and imaginative Christmas parties are becoming more popular these days, with employers putting more thought into how to mark the occasion rather than simply relying on the traditional knees up in a local pub or club.

This may be an advisable change in behaviour given the need to make sure that all of your employees can participate in the festivities, where some may have felt unable to take part due to their religious observations.

Away days where staff undertake an activity e.g. a cookery course or something more energetic like orienteering or abseiling gets people out of the office with a focus on teambuilding and fun – which is really what these kind of celebrations are all about – are a good alternative because this takes the focus away from evening activities which invariably lead to alcohol consumption.

However, staff are sometimes reluctant to give up a whole non-working day to spend with their colleagues and taking all staff away from work during the week is also not feasible for most organisations. So, if you are going to stick with the traditional Christmas party, you should consider the following to ensure people of all faiths may be included:

Choosing The Day
Typically, Friday nights are the most convenient night for a Christmas party because it’s the end of the working week for most people meaning no-one needs to get up for work in the morning; and people are already all together. However, nightfall on Fridays signifies the Sabbath in the Jewish religion so Jews may not consider it possible to attend a Friday night event.

Choosing the Food
Various religions place restrictions on the food that can be eaten and therefore, if you are going to provide food, some thought needs to go into the variety on offer so that each employee is catered for. This may mean providing vegetarian food; as well as a variety of meats (i.e. not just pork); both kosher and halal meat; and acceptable forms of fish.

Choosing the Drinks
Always make sure that there are plenty non-alcoholic beverages available for those who do not drink because of religious observations.

Ultimately the Christmas party is arranged so people can have fun and enjoy themselves at the end of what may have been a difficult year. A little forethought may mean that none of your employees feel excluded from this.

If you need any clarification on this issue then contact the Peninsula Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.