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Time for holiday decorations in your condo? In a country rich with different cultures and traditions, show awareness, respect, and understanding by making your holiday decorations inclusive of all residents.
Diverse condo communities offer opportunities to learn more about different cultural traditions. Condo boards wishing to reflect the festive spirit of the holiday season must consider how to represent the many diverse faiths and ethnic backgrounds of the community. Holiday decoration therefore must not only meet the guidelines provided by your condo corporation’s declaration and bylaws, but also fairly represent the different members of your community. Here are some tips to neutralize common area decorations while still remaining festive.
Refer to Your Declaration
Condo boards should be certain to refer to their condo corporation’s declaration to ensure they are following the rules of holiday decoration in common areas. However, unit bylaws are important as well. A good example is real Christmas trees. If they are banned in units, then they should not be used in common areas. Otherwise, the board is open to conflict. Stick to common area holiday decoration guidelines to help keep the peaceful spirit of the holiday season.
Avoid Religious Themes in Holiday Decorations
To create a neutral holiday decoration scheme, avoid any blatant religious themes such as nativity scenes, stars, minoras, etc. As well, specific icons that might not necessarily be religious in nature, but clearly lean towards a specific religious tradition such as Santa for example should be avoided. Instead, look for decorations that are festive in nature, but neutral. Some ideas for neutral décor themes would include:
- Artificial pine trees with neutral white lights
- Strings of white lights
- “Woodland” or nature themes
A good rule of thumb: Stick with winter themes that present a festive feel that is both sophisticated and neutral.
As well, ensure all decorations with holiday messaging don’t call out a specific seasonal holiday. Instead of choosing “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukah” focus on “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” to appeal to people of all cultures and religions. Use words such as “Joy”, “Peace” and “Happy” to remain neutral yet positive. These words are harmonious and reflect a feeling of community and well wishes for all.
Remain Inclusive when Decorating for the Holidays
Often those who celebrate Christmas feel their traditions suffer as more communities, retailers, towns, etc. try to become more inclusive. Because of this finding a balance that allows non-Christian cultures to feel included, while not offending or leaving Christians out is important. A fair balance of all beliefs must be included. Many boards reach out to the community asking for contributions to the holiday decoration plan so those who care about representation have a say. By doing so, those who have no interest in contributing ideas “opt out” by not contributing, while those who wish to be involved have the approval of how their culture is represented.
Just remember, the key is to keep things simple to avoid making a mess of the lobby. A diverse decorating committee helps ensure your holiday decorations celebrate the holiday spirit fairly and inclusively.
A property management company can put together an inclusive holiday decorating plan that makes everyone feel welcome and acknowledged. At CPO Management Inc., a property management company in Toronto and the GTA, our comprehensive suite of services can include the development of festive, yet sensitive condo common area holiday décor customized for your condo corporation’s needs. Contact us today.