Employees Children's Christmas Party

I've been asked by my senior managers to look at the possibility of organising an employees children's Christmas party.  We haven't had one of these before (I've worked here for 10 years).  The usual Christmas celebrations are either organised departmentally or as a whole company (we alternate every year).

My main concern is if we hold a children's Christmas party, we are discriminating those employees who don't have children.  Should we therefore offer these employees an alternative?  The senior managers seem rather reluctant to do anything else for the employees but I am very concerned that we are being unfair and discriminating which will open up the opportunity of claims.

I'd be really interested to have some thoughts on these so that I can take them forward at our meeting.  Thanks in advance. 


  • I don't see what protected characteristic would be discriminated against, but as someone who doesn't have children, I would certainly be unimpressed to say the least if that was the only celebration on offer. But also keep in mind how upsetting that might be for people who cannot have children - I choose not to have any, but for someone who cannot conceive, may have had failed IVF attempts, miscarriages or still births, it is likely to strike a deeper chord especially at a time of year which is very family orientated.


  • Keith

    | 8974 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    7 Aug, 2014 16:40


     You are worrying unnecessarily and should just get on and allow this gesture to take place. You could open it up to Grandchildren and of course assume you will open it to dependants. But cant see any legal come back in teh highly unlikly event someone was so scrooge like to make a claim.

    HR are not and should not be the PC police

    Perhaps the HRD could dress up as Father Christmas?


  • David Perry

    | 4652 Posts

    Chartered Member

    7 Aug, 2014 20:01

    Christmas??  Now?  In Summer?  Humbug!!  Utterly disagree.  Forget the discrimination against those who don't have rug rats or bread snappers.  

    What about those that don't believe in Father Xmas coming down the chimney and leaving all the presents then??  

    Why isn't there a Mrs Xmas either??   HR should work to avoid or minimise all discriminatory matters - not just legal ones.  Indeed is it safe to allow Mr Xmas at any party where children are present unless he's been vetted and escorted by a voluntary, temporary, and trained in Equality training, Mrs Xmas.  After all we want any  scandal - do we?

    As for those people who can't have children, I think we aught to campaign nationally to ban all events which are exclusively children orientated.  Lets next start on Halloween (its american anyway), then the Debs thing (Its american too  but we won't discriminate will we).  So we'll include Bomb Fire  Night  and ban it to show we aren't against the good Ole U S of A.  Just for good measure ban children's birthday parties within sight or sound of anyone who doesn't have children, unless they've signed a disclaimer to say  there lack of rug rats is  voluntary - in which case the ban should not apply, after all we only should not discriminate against those characteristics where the individual exercises no choice (Sex for example).

     To avoid discrimination, those who don't have children should not be banned from attending such events anyway.  However, for a number of reasons, I do not think they should be allowed to sit on Santa's knee - whether he insists or not.  Its against elf & safety as well - probably.

    I strongly recommend you introduce a policy on the matter too.    We should allow them to exercise their right to have children even if they can't, won't or simply don't want them, so allowing them to attend will help achieve this laudable aim. 

    And if there is a Mr & Mrs Xmas at your party I think to ensure morals are of the highest order you should insist on seeing documentation to prove the said Mr & Mrs are married.  Otherwise it sets a poor moral tone. 

    If you have Xmas cake I also suggest you change the name as any one of a non christian denomination may see the slices as discriminatory too.  Perhaps change the name to something like;  'All inclusive religious festival (and non religious) cake'. 

     As you will see this also prevents you from inviting Grand children.  After all not everyone can have grand things can they?  It also discriminates against those people who don't have grandparents - all though in all fairness I can't yet see why.  But we don't want to be unfair do we.

    Anyway I'm far too hot and bothered to get worked up by Christmas (Humbug!) at this time of the year. 


    Happy new year to everyone! 

  • Anoushka

    | 63 Posts

    Chartered Member

    8 Aug, 2014 08:55


    Brilliant email. Certainly brought a smile to my face :)

  • Brilliant e-mail David, it has cheered up a dull Friday morning no end.
  • Kate  Bowditch

    | 199 Posts

    Chartered Member

    8 Aug, 2014 09:52

    While you probably won't get any actual claims (like others can't really see how this would succeed), sadly events like this can cause loads of problems in the form of disgruntled employees.  Like Andrea said, there will be those that don't have kids (or even with kids!) that are annoyed if it is the only offering.  There are the senstivities around those who can't have children, and what about employees who do have children but don't celebrate Christmas?  Issues like these often cause angst among those employees who like to have something to complain about.  You can't please anyone all of the time.

    I was staff engagement lead in a previous job and encountered this all the time.  I put together a staff engagement group, which had a small budget.  It had Management, HR, Staff and staff reps on it, and together, along with surveys from all staff, visits to sites etc, we would draw up a shortlist of events and then get staff to vote on them.  If anyone had a serious objection (i.e religious) then we may veto a project (as obviously getting staff to vote doesn't work if you are in a minority in the first place).  We were a large organisation mind and had the resource to do it.  The group also gave the people sitting on it a valuable insight into how you can't please everyone.  If you can't feasibly set up something like this, I would suggest that you at least draw up a shortlist and ask what people think.  If you are unionised or have staff reps, I would ask them.  Then if you do have complaints you can just direct them to the staff reps.  Which is always a pleasure I find.


    p.s: good email David :)

  • Why offer separate events for children and the rest of staff? Surely just a staff plus family end of year party would be the catch-all event?

    My company does a family summer party where kids and partners are invited. Those without a significant other can bring a friend. There are activities that are more grown up (like a quiz) and others more for the children (outdoor games and bouncy castle). But everyone comes together with the quiz having a round that needs knowledge of  Cartoon Network and the bouncy castle being used by the *ahem* bigger kids later in the evening. We have also found that most of the families tend to head home around 8pm, leaving the evening free for most colourful grown-up entertainment (karaoke and shots anyone?).

    Personally I am firmly in the 'bah-humbug' camp so would always suggest end of year emphasis rather than Christmas, but as Kate says, asking people what they would like is always the sensible option if you have concerns.

  • Lesley

    | 393 Posts

    Chartered Member

    8 Aug, 2014 14:26

    Agree with commentators before that I doubt you'd ever get discrimination claims on something like this, but unhappy employees is definitely a potential outcome. 

    As a child-less person I would be pretty annoyed if the annual festive party was replaced with a kids event instead. I would prefer there be no event at all rather than one I couldn't participate in.

    I am not sure running two different events (kids party vs party for people without kids) would be such a great idea either.

    I think company events should be about bringing people together, not creating factions!

    Instead a "family" event like Catherine suggests is a more inclusive option, especially if those without significant partners and no kids (likely to be younger employees) can bring a friend, but this would require a much bigger budget! 

    Also agree that not having a Christmas focus is also better. End-of-year or "winter" is a more appropriate secular option!

  • Keith

    | 8974 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    8 Aug, 2014 15:11

    Why is not having a Christmas focus better? :-)

    Hate with a passion the whole "winter" celebrations

    Think many people end up being too sensitive around this. Its impossible to avoid Christmas in december and it has for many only the vaguest link to its Christian originals (without going back to its pre Christian origins).

    Recognising and celebrating diversity doesnt also mean you have to neuter the main celebrations from teh UKs rich diversity.

  • In reply to Keith:

    Very true, in fact the 'christmas' specific nature gives excellent justification to also celebrate events of other religions throughout the year if you want to be inclusive - for us, this approach results in a pretty much daily supply of treats & goodies. Through cake consumption we are embracing both equality & diversity ;)

  • Elizabeth

    | 1338 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    8 Aug, 2014 16:09

    Celebrating diversity through cake - what a marvellous idea!

    Now I stop to think about it, we've had some cake-based iniatives in my organisation - mince pies before the Christmas holidays and doughnuts for Eid. I don't recall any Christians refraining from the Krispy Kremes or Muslims likewise with the mince pies - we did make sure they were made with vegetable shortening, though. Pizza is fairly non-denominational ...


  • Anna

    | 882 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    8 Aug, 2014 16:26

    David and Elizabeth

    The offering of cake, mince pies and even pizza should be banned under organisational wellbeing policies. The first two are laced with large amounts of sugar (and sometimes alcohol too) while all are high in saturated fats.

    I would recommend that in future all such celebrations are marked with a salad or green smoothie if falling in the summer months, or a bowl of hearty vegetable soup otherwise. 

  • Anna

    | 882 Posts

    Chartered Fellow

    8 Aug, 2014 18:14

    On the basis that the word sounds like "cake" when said quickly, and some people might not notice until they've eaten it.
  • David Perry

    | 4652 Posts

    Chartered Member

    9 Aug, 2014 05:34

    So are some you saying we should ban an event at work that might upset some people?
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