So, you want to include a holiday, but don’t want to have the traditional names so you don’t upset anyone who doesn’t celebrate the upcoming event. Well, why not invent your own name for it and send an OOC to your players?
This is essentially what many fantasy shows/movies/books do. An example is the Disney Junior show, Sofia the First, where Sofia and her family celebrate Wassalia, a Christmas type of holiday where family and friends light the Wassalia candle at the end of the night. It is a good way to not only celebrate the season of giving, but also incorporate different elements from many different winter holidays.
But there is more than just Christmas. There is Thanksgiving, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, New Years, and so on! How do you come up with a holiday name that fits your game, but still make it obvious what holiday is being celebrated?
Well, you could always just describe a feast and time of year, but if everyone is doing that, it gets to be too “in you face,” and can put off current and future players. This could eventually cause a player to just put a well known holiday name up and cause someone to get offended and leave.
Another way is to simply say “Fall Feast” or “Winter Festival” because it states what celebration is taking place, but also the time of year, so the players aren’t offended and can have fun making up the holiday traditions.
You can also just make up a name that feels like the type of holiday/time of year you are trying to embody. The best way to do this is to look over traditions from the past and present to get an idea. This one is time consuming as it takes a great deal of research, but you not only learn something from it, but may even find a new tradition you may want to try at home.
The last way is to use a name generator. One such generator is on Fantasy Name Generators, where you can find several types of generators. This can be considered an easy out, and there is the potential of other games using the same name in their games, but that is the risk taken with any name generator. However, you can find some amazing names you may never have thought of before on there, and you can mix and match the names to come up with your own holiday name.
Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that the holiday name should fit your game. If your game takes place on Earth, use known holidays and encourage your players to have their characters celebrate their own way. But if you are in a fantasy/sci-fi world, then, by all means, make up a name! Have fun with it! But please, tell your players about the holiday and encourage them to add to it before putting it into the game so that everyone is involved. Because, everyone being together, is what the holidays are all about, right?