The English celebrate Christmas by putting up Christmas trees and purchasing advent calendars from their favorite stores. The Japanese celebrate Christmas by eating KFC, believe it or not. Czech women — they celebrate Christmas by throwing shoes in front of their doors (google it!).
Though not everyone celebrates it, Christmas has become like a universal language. When we think about Christmas, we think of decorated houses and trees, Santa Claus, Christmas presents, gingerbread cookies, or maybe even toffee nut crunch lattes. These Christmas traditions are like a thread in the fabric of diversity. Its fingerprints are seen in many different cultures, yet in very different ways.
This tells us that togetherness is not the absence of differences, that unity is not the absence of diversity. Rather, it is when we acknowledge and embrace the differences among us that the walls of separation begin to crumble. Christmas is the time of the year to embrace differences, to give generously, and to love without discrimination.
This year, Axioo celebrated Christmas with the theme “Christmas Voyage”. All of us were told to dress up in traditional costumes from all around the world. Before the day of our Christmas party, to help get everyone ready, we had “pre-Christmas” proceedings. We told everybody to find hidden Christmas bells, sang Christmas carols, and gave away chocolate all around the office to invite people to come to the party.
It was fun to see people taking the dress code seriously. People saw it as an opportunity to showcase their creativity. Some showed up to the party in Indian sarees, Korean hanbok, Japanese kimono, Arabian keffiyeh, and someone even showed up as a local Indonesian hero — the satay seller from Madura. One highlight of ours was seeing a rich Middle Eastern man, a cowboy, a Javanese sultan, an English soldier, and George Washington walk down the runway to compete for the best dressed title.
There were games for the best dressed and for the people who found the bells that were hidden during the “pre-Christmas” event. Everyone went home smiling, having received gifts ranging from chocolate bars and instant noodles, to vouchers and even speakers.
Each year, we make sure that we pour out much of our creativity to our Christmas parties. We love celebrations — it is within our DNA to celebrate love and life. This Christmas, other than celebrating old Christmas traditions, we chose to celebrate cultures all around the world, too. It was an important eye opener to us all, how diversely beautiful the world we live in is.
Happy holidays, everyone!