Whether your team works from home due to the pandemic or you have a fully remote company with employees from all around the world, there are ways to give your employees a holiday party where they can relax, reconnect, and enjoy the holiday spirit. Yes, we’re talking about hosting a virtual party.
And although you might agree that nothing lives up to attending “a physical party”, hosting a virtual one is better than hosting none. Plus, what better way for your employees to keep in touch with their peers when physically distant than on a virtual office holiday party?
Not only will this be a unique party experience for them, but they can get to know each other on an entirely different level.
And when you take a look at the virtual holiday party ideas we’ve chosen for you, you may continue this tradition even after the pandemic is over.
What Are Virtual Holiday Parties?
Virtual holiday parties are online celebrations held via a video conferencing platform, such as Webex, Google Meet, Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and so on. These parties usually include engaging in a specific activity, such as playing an escape game, doing a quiz, watching a movie as a group, and so on.
The purpose behind these virtual parties is to help employees gather in conditions where having a physical party may not be possible or advisable. That said, you may decide to host a virtual party even if there is an opportunity to host a physical one. It all comes down to everyone’s preferences, the company’s previous event planning experiences, as well as your decision as an employer.
The parties allow coworkers to reconnect, meet for the first time (for instance, if you have workers in other countries and they’ve never had the chance to meet those who work in your company), relax, and have fun.
33 Best Virtual Holiday Party Ideas
1) Virtual Holiday Party Karaoke
Can you see you and your team members singing Steve Drewett’s It’s Christmas Time (Oh yeah, NaNaNa) from the bottom of your heart(s)?
Perhaps Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, which is probably the most frequently played Christmas song.
Regardless of whether you’re a karaoke fan or not, you have to admit that hosting karaoke and hearing your workers imitating Mariah Carey does sound kind of fun. Plus, holiday parties are an excuse for people to relax, socialize with one another, and just have fun. What better way to achieve all of this than to plan a holiday karaoke party?
You can just use a video platform such as Zoom, share the lyrics and the music using the Share Screen option, and improvise. If you wish to do things more professionally, we suggest using a virtual karaoke app, such as Lucky Voice. It’s quite easy to set it up, and it comes with a free 14-day trial. It has ready-made playlists, you can sing using your tablet, PC, Mac, Android, or iPhone, and even turn your phone into a remote control.
Oh, and the best thing about attending a virtual holiday karaoke party? You can mute the others at any time! :) Not that we suggest it, but it may come in handy.
2) Playing Holiday Bingo Games
Bingo may sound like something that elderly people play in a retirement home, or something kids play at school. But if you plan it properly, Bingo can be a fun game for you and your employees!
It’s very easy to organize, and it’s a game which stimulates healthy competition and encourages interaction among team members. Players get to learn a lot of new things about their peers and they also get to show how much they already know.
There are many ways to approach playing bingo. You may set different rules, criteria, and ideas. You can develop your own bingo or play an already existing game you can find online. You can even play a Christmas-related bingo if your employees are feeling the Christmas spirit and you like the theme.
If you want to get some bingo inspiration, we suggest checking out these bingo templates on Etsy. Who knows - you might even end up purchasing some of them.
3) Gingerbread House Challenge
If you’re trying to challenge your employees with your virtual holiday party ideas, you might as well opt for this one! While making a gingerbread house isn’t an impossible task, it certainly is a challenge, as this isn’t something people tend to make on a daily basis.
A gingerbread house is a confectionery with the shape of a building (house). It’s made of cookie dough, and it’s usually cut and then baked into well-formed components, such as roofing and walls. The material typically used for these houses is a crisp ginger biscuit made of gingerbread (the ginger nut). The gingerbread houses are usually covered with various candies, and some icing.
You can use any candy you wish - the idea is to focus on making your gingerbread house look Christmassy. If you need some candy suggestions to put on the house, here are some popular ideas you can try:
round peppermint candies;
regular or mini marshmallows;
red licorice twists;
evergreen tree and snowman Peeps;
shredded coconut (to use as snow);
colored cereal o's.
To keep things as simple as possible, ask your employees to buy the necessary ingredients (or the company may pay for them instead), and schedule a Zoom call, or whichever platform you prefer using. Spend the night making the gingerbread house (each person in their own homes), and then each person should show the house to the rest of the team members.
You can set a time and see who finishes first, or who chose the best candies. You can even stage a gingerbread house contest, and just choose the best house based on criteria you’ve agreed on previously.
Gingerbread house bonus
And if you don’t wish to do all the planning, just take a look at this amazing holiday kit making event The event allows for small and large groups (group size: 15-150 people), and you can also contact them to receive a customized event based on your teams’ wishes and expectations.
4) Playing Online Escape Games
Physical escape games are great, but the ones that have been popping up online recently have been of a much more immersive, engaging, and creative nature.
And if this isn’t a reason to consider them as part of your virtual holiday party ideas plan, then we don’t know what is!
Online escape games, as the name suggests, are games played virtually where players need to uncover data, solve puzzles, and find clues, so that they can finally “escape” and complete the game successfully.
There are many online escape rooms out there, however, you probably don’t want to play just any escape game. We’re assuming you and your team want to play a Christmas-themed online escape game, so here’s a suggestion.
Rudolph’s Red Nose Rush – Christmas Online Escape Room
One such game is Rudolph’s Red Nose Rush – Christmas Online Escape Room. Here’s the storyline: it’s time for Santa to finally start delivering this year’s Christmas presents, but there’s still a lot to be done at the North Pole. Rudolph has tons of things to do, and if he doesn’t manage to complete them, this year he won’t be guiding the sleigh. He is sad, and his nose seems to have lost its spark. It’s up to you and your team to help Rudolph regain his spark so that he’s capable of leading the sleigh.
Do you think you and your team have what it takes to do so?
The escape game can be played by up to 6 players at the same time (if you’re a much larger group, then you need to buy as many copies of the escape game as you need), and it’s designed in such a way so that it works best when the whole team collaborates closely to solve the puzzles. You have 60 minutes to do so, however, there’s no formal time limit (if you aren’t done in 60 minutes, you can continue playing till you finish the game). If you wish to stop playing or take a short break, the game “remembers” your progress, and when you log in again you can simply continue playing where you left off.
Rudolph’s Red Nose Rush costs £9.50.
Keep in mind that the game can be played either using a laptop or a PC. It’s not possible to play it on a tablet or a smartphone. The organizers advise using Chrome as an Internet browser.
All in all, if the concept of an online escape game sounds like a fun holiday party option and if you want to take a closer look at other online escape rooms, we recommended our article on 50 Best Online Escape Rooms 2021 Rankings.
5) Watching a Movie
While watching a movie isn’t necessarily partying hard, it’s still an enjoyable experience. Plus, you get to make it a fun event by:
choosing a top-rated movie to watch;
initiating a discussion after the movie’s over;
connecting with your peers during the movie streaming (you may leave comments in the chatbox on your online platform, or even talk about some things while the movie plays).
Some of our virtual holiday party ideas in this article may be a bit complex to execute - this one, however, isn’t. All you need is a streaming service and you can simply share your screen with the rest of the team using a platform such as Zoom.
Here are some streaming services you could use:
You can simply check out their Christmas movies and see what they have to offer. If you have a specific movie in mind, and you can’t find it on any of these streaming services, you could purchase it instead.
And if you need some help with choosing a Christmas movie, here’s a list with some of the best Christmas movies of all time.
6) Movie Pictionary
Pictionary is a very common game where one player draws a picture of a specific word and the other players need to guess what that word is before the player finishes their drawing.
Playing a movie pictionary will get you and your employees to recall some of the Christmas movies you’ve watched in the past.
In any case, the same rules apply:
Each player should have a piece of paper (a poster board is even better, or you may even use the drawing feature on your virtual platform).
Split your attendees into separate teams.
Let the first player choose a holiday movie, and then draw it.
The rest of the team members should guess the film.
Whichever team manages to guess the most movies is the winner.
7) Holiday Buzzword Game
There are specific Christmas-related words and phrases that we tend to hear only around the holidays. That makes them the perfect candidates for a holiday buzzword game.
All you and your employees need to do is to sign in to Zoom (or whichever platform you prefer), pick a holiday buzzword, and when you hear your buzzword, you need to do “something”.
This usually means taking a shot upon hearing the buzzword. Of course, if you don’t think such drinking is appropriate, you may decide on a different activity. Let’s say an attendee has chosen “snow” as their buzzword. Each time they hear the word “snow” during the party, they need to do a short dance, take a shot, or do whichever activity you settle on.
Finally, you need to decide how to approach this - for instance, will you listen to some carols or famous Christmas songs? Will you watch a movie? Perhaps you’ll just chat? In other words, you need to determine the context which will help attendees eventually get exposed to their buzzword.
Also, it’s fun to try to guess each other’s buzzwords. You may even come up with awards for the person who guesses the most buzzwords.
8) Preparing Holiday Cocktails (or a Christmas Virtual Happy Hour)
Hosting your very own Christmas virtual happy hour doesn’t mean you should be a professional mixologist - all you need is proper ingredients, the right instructions, and the will to prepare your cocktail.
Also, be mindful of the fact that you’re not hosting a heavy drinking party. It’s more about the experience of preparing a cocktail, having fun doing it, and interacting with team members.
Of course, attendees get to drink their cocktails at some point, however, it’s worth mentioning that you want them to have a nice time, and not engage in a booze fest.
9) Holiday Trivia
Do you and your team know what eggnog is? Have any of you seen Home Alone? Do you know other reindeer names besides Rudolph?
If you and your team know the answers to these questions, you’re ready to have a holiday trivia party!
Really, if you feel like you’ve run out of virtual holiday party ideas, opting for a holiday trivia night will not only be a fun experience, but an educational one as well. So, whether you wish to impress your employees with your knowledge or learn more and have fun, choosing this party option can definitely be a positive thing.
Here’s how the holiday trivia party should go: all of you gather online on Zoom (or any other such app), and you could either answer the questions divided into teams, or all of you can play together. If you decide to play together, you might be the host for the evening, and ask the questions. Of course, you may adopt a completely different approach - it really is up to you and there are other ways to organize a holiday trivia party.
Make sure to include versatile questions - both easy and hard, however, no matter what you do and which questions you include, ensure your attendees have fun!
Here are ten holiday questions with answers to get you started.
10) Enjoying a Virtual Holiday Concert
We know it’s unfair to attend a concert online - after all, how could you possibly recreate the musical magic you experience when you physically go to a concert? There’s truly something special about the act of buying tickets, double checking the concert’s date every now and then, preparing to get there before the concert begins, making sure you found the right sets once you arrive, and so on.
However, virtual concerts aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, organizing a virtual holiday concert party may be just what you and your employees need to change your minds.
All you need to do is pick a holiday concert you wish to watch (you may even do a survey and see what type of concerts your employees are eager to see), and then choose a virtual platform where you could stream the concert.
11) Virtual Holiday Fashion Show
There are many ways to organize a holiday fashion show party.
You can either ask your attendees to dress really nicely and choose the best dressed lady/man while they use their hall as a runway. There could be nice music playing in the background while the rest of the attendees enjoy the show until it’s their turn to do the runway walk.
You may organize an ugly sweater fashion show challenge, where each attendee should wear the nastiest Christmas sweater.
Or you may do something entirely different.
Fashion has no fixed rules, and nothing is set in stone - why should your virtual holiday fashion show party be any other way?
12) Virtual Wreath Making
It’s very unlikely that you or any of your employees would make a wreath for the Christmas holidays (kudos to the exceptions). However, if you attend a virtual holiday party where wreath making is the main activity, you’ll have no choice.
And sometimes such activities serve to show us what we’ve been missing out on! Yes, wreath making does classify as a fun activity according to our Christmas criteria. And it’s really not as complicated as some people make it seem.
Here are the (basic) materials and supplies you need to make a proper wreath:
classic wire wreath form
grapevine wreath form
florist wire (paddle or spool)
main bulk decor material, such as:
natural boxwood greenery stems
fresh magnolia leaves
fresh eucalyptus bunch
accent decor materials, such as:
natural pinecones (a small bag)
organic dried lavender stems
fresh flowers (urban stems)
faux floral stems
floral wire cutters
safety gear (gloves, eye protection)
protective table covering (optional)
wreath hanger (optional)
hot glue (optional)
deco mesh (optional)
You can purchase the materials on behalf of your employees, and have them delivered to the office or their homes. If you think there’s a better solution, discuss it with your employees.
Also, choose a virtual platform where you and your employees can connect and stay that way while each of you makes their wreath at home.
Attendees need to understand that this isn’t a chase, as to who has the best wreath or who’s going to finish first. It’s about enjoying the night, and having fun with peers by doing something different.
That said, if you want to organize the party so that some attendees get awards for their wreaths you may do so. However, make sure the rules are straightforward, and attendees know that having fun and doing something new is the main priority.
13) Christmas Tree Decorating
This is one of those virtual holiday party ideas which are great for those too lazy to decorate their Christmas trees at home. All you and your employees need to do is log into your preferred conferencing platform, and start decorating your trees.
You may make this exciting by somehow rewarding the person who finishes first, and “punishing” the one who finishes last (for instance, the person who is last to decorate their tree should make coffee for the whole office the whole week).
Also, while you’re decorating your tree you may listen to some Christmas songs, so you should prepare a Christmas playlist before the virtual holiday party.
Feel free to incorporate other activities within this Christmas tree decorating activity to make it more engaging and fun.
14) Virtual Hidden Talent Performance
All of us have talents - some more useful than others. And sometimes it takes for a random virtual hidden talent performance party to help us “unleash” them and show the world what we’re capable of.
You may laugh at this, but this is really what the premise of hosting such a virtual party should be - to help your attendees not only have fun, but uncover some of their hidden talents, too.
We suggest leaving complete freedom when it comes to what attendees can do - really, there should be no limits. That said, attendees should ensure their talent activity makes sense to be performed online.
There’s no harm in giving your employees some suggestions, though. Namely, some of them may struggle with what to do, how to do it, and whether it makes sense to do it.
Plus, they should understand that no one’s expecting them to do something which has never been done before - they should perceive the party as a chance for them to show something they’re quite good at, but probably can’t do while at work. As Brendan Francis Behan put it: “If you have a talent, use it in every way possible. Don't hoard it. Don't dole it out like a miser. Spend it lavishly like a millionaire intent on going broke.”
15) Name That Tune Virtual Challenge
Name that Tune is a game where people usually race to identify a particular melody. You can modify this game as much as you wish. You can play it in groups or all of you together. You might include a wide range of tunes, however, we recommended sticking to the holiday tunes, as you’re organizing a holiday party.
Most of the time players are asked to hum the tune, and the rest of the team members should guess it. You can also play it this way: the person whose turn it is should mute their microphone and sing the song - the rest of the players should read lips and try to guess the correct song. You may have other ways of approaching this game though.
Here are some holiday song suggestions for the Name That Tune virtual challenge.
Which song are you humming first?
16) Wrap the Present Challenge
If someone isn’t very creative, they probably never bother to wrap presents. They either have someone else do it, or they just buy a paper gift bag instead.
However, if they’re presented with the wrapping the present challenge, they’ll have no choice but to try and do their best.
This challenge is meant to be an unusual virtual party activity where you and your employees will get to wrap a present (or presents perhaps?). Now, what type of presents should you wrap? And who’s going to get them?
There are many ways to approach this. Here are two suggestions - employees can wrap their presents and give them to another employee, or they might wrap presents for their family members instead.
Here are some gift-wrapping supplies you and your employees should have: scissors, ribbon, wrapping paper, bows (probably pre-made or you may try it yourselves), gift tags, transparent tape, and a tape dispenser. Also, make sure all of you have a large and clear hard surface to work on. You can’t wrap your gifts sitting in your bed, as though you were attending a “normal” Zoom meeting, can you?
Also, knowing some gift-wrapping basics can help the whole process, and assist you in finishing the task much quicker. Of course, you can always find some shortcuts if you think that works (as long as the gifts get wrapped).
Once all of you are done wrapping your gifts, you need to show them so that others can see them (this should be simple - just direct your camera toward the gifts).
Finally, if you wish to make things more exciting, time yourselves, and see who finishes first, and who finishes last. There can be some small awards for the winner(s) if you wish to make it more competitive.
17) The Dancing December Challenge
Whether you, your in-office employees, or remote workers are based in Tokyo, Lisbon, London, or New York, this is a very fun activity you can do during the virtual party. This dancing December challenge is meant to take you out of your comfort zone and improve your dancing skills.
We can’t say “dance like no one’s watching” though. During your dance session, you should also virtually attend a meeting on the platform you have picked. The idea is for all employees to stand up and dance in front of their screens - you could prepare a playlist and include a wide range of holiday songs.
How you wish to organize this dancing challenge further is completely up to you and your attendees. You may even choose a winner, prepare a specific choreography, sing along, and so on. The point, as it is with all of these virtual holiday party ideas, is to have fun.
18) Holiday Printable Templates Activity
Preparing a holiday printable template activity for a virtual party may be weird. But it doesn’t have to be if you plan it properly.
The idea is to send them to your attendees and if they wish they can print them out so that the virtual party gets a more “physical feel”.
There’s nothing complicated, daunting, or unseen when it comes to these templates - that’s what makes using them comfortable and easy.
And some virtual holiday parties require precisely such simplicity and joy.
19) The Let’s Eat the Same Food Party
This one may be tough to organize depending on the number of employees you have. It works better with smaller teams. That said, there’s not one way to approach this, so it may very well be adjusted for slightly bigger teams (if you feel that way, of course).
The most straightforward option would be for all of you to agree on a set menu and cook the meal on your own while being connected on your platform. It may be fun to have your laptop with you in the kitchen while trying to check whether your steak is undercooked or not. Once you’re done all of you are supposed to eat together, and enjoy the evening.
If you want to add a surprise factor, have ingredients delivered to your employees’ doorstep. Don’t pick the type of meal in advance - they should simply receive the ingredients and once they open them, they’ll see what it is they’ll be eating that night. However, keep in mind that such an approach may be risky - some people may not eat a specific meat, or they could be allergic to some ingredient so it may be better to discuss such matters in advance.
A lot of employers find this party suggestion very ordinary and can’t even understand why they should choose it. We cook every day, what’s the point of it being the main activity in a party?, they wonder.
And we get it. But sometimes fun and happiness can be found in the most mundane tasks and basic parties. And this let's eat the same food party may be an opportunity to do so.
Finally, organizing such a party may be great because for many it’s the rare chance to have a meal (although a virtual one) with their colleagues, considering the restrictions and the inability to gather in such a great number within a restaurant setting.
20) The Paint Your Christmas Ornaments Activity
Here’s an activity initially created with children in mind, however, adults are allowed to have fun too! Plus, hanging ornaments that you’ve created on the Christmas tree is a whole new level of satisfaction. Here are the supplies you need, and we suggest reading the article in greater depth and following the instructions closely in order to have the best painting ornament experience possible.
The idea is for all attendees to color their ornaments while being connected online on a conferencing platform. After you’re done, you can show what you’ve managed to paint to the rest of the team members. Finally, each of you should put their ornaments on the Christmas tree at home.
21) Engage in Virtual Quizzes
Here’s an activity we can directly help you with.
You have probably figured out by now that we provide people with scheduled virtual quizzes when they want to:
learn something new about their peers (but themselves too);
bond with their teammates in a relaxing, informal way;
take a break from work;
try something new for their upcoming holiday party, as they may have exhausted all virtual holiday party ideas.
Our approach is a very simple, yet an effective one: it takes less than three minutes to set up your whole team. The gameplay usually takes about 2 minutes per round. There's free onboarding support, and you can cancel anytime. We use SSL encryption, so you don’t need to worry about your data’s safety.
You can use QuizBreaker on any internet browser, or on your smartphone. And here’s how it works:
You invite your team to answer some fun icebreaker questions (you may use the ones we’ve come up with, or you might add your own custom-made questions).
Team members need to guess the right answers in quiz rounds (they’re usually sent out on autopilot).
You can automatically send out quizzes based on your chosen schedule and the rest of the time needs to guess who said what.
There are comment threads and various emoji reactions which allow your team to continue the conversation, as well as spice it up.
There’s nothing complicated, and all we can promise is that you’ll have a lot of fun during your holiday party night. And if you do enjoy QuizBreaker, you might end up using it with your employees on a regular basis, not just on specific occasions.
And did we mention that we offer a 21-day free trial?
22) Attend a Virtual Class/Lesson
Before you think we’ll force you and your employees to study during your virtual holiday party, let us tell you we have something different in mind.
If, for example, you’re running a digital marketing company, we don’t expect you to spend your holiday party attending an SEO webinar, learning about copywriting, or reviewing the latest email marketing tips. Not at all.
What we do suggest, however, is to attend a masterclass of cooking, acting, or interior design. Of course, no one expects you to switch careers, or to become an expert in two hours. It’s all about learning something new (suitable for beginners, for instance), and expanding your skill and awareness.
Let’s say you choose cooking. Are you going to cover cooking basics, or you wish to learn more about Mexican cuisine? Spanish cuisine? Perhaps Argentinian? How about attending that masterclass on Mexican cuisine and cooking nachos while sipping tequila? This could pave the way for another virtual evening together. It may be a team-building activity or simply an informal gathering.
You could also watch a documentary. For instance, choosing a David Attenborough’s documentary could be very educational and eye-opening if you and your team are into nature.
Finally, you may hire an expert (in a specific field), and invite them to your virtual party so that they can deliver a live lesson. For example, if you pick the cooking option, why not invite a well-known chef? We’re sure your employees will be more than delighted and inspired to cook afterward.
23) Virtual Holiday Scavenger Hunt
Unless you’ve been living under a stone, you’ve probably heard about scavenger hunt. You may have played it, too.
In short, a scavenger hunt is a game, usually played outdoors, in which the participants need to collect a number of various different objects.
That said, the game can be adjusted to be played virtually. Here’s how:
There has to be one moderator to explain the rules, keep score, and also act as a judge. The rules are simple: the moderator says an item and the participants need to try to find the item fast, and show it on the screen.
Also, when it comes to stating rules, it’s important to highlight some significant ones at the very beginning. For instance, one object can’t cover two items (let’s say you bring a pillow to cover “something soft” and “bedroom accessory”).
About the items: since all players will be at home, it makes sense to suggest items which can be found at most people’s places. You don’t want to include items that attendees have no way of obtaining. Here are 50 ideas to get you started.
Don’t forget to set a time limit, too. Talk about what the best option would be - in essence, how long the hunt should last.
Coming up with a way to keep up the score matters a lot, too. There are several ways you can go about it. First and foremost, you can have a first, second, and last option: the first person who comes back gets the most points, the second one gets a bit less than the first one, and everyone else who comes back with the items within a minute gets the least points. This may work well for smaller teams.
If you have a larger team, however, you need a more practical approach. Here’s what you should do: the first person to come back wins the round. Participants may keep track of their wins and loses and in the end the participant who got the most points is the winner.
Finally, don’t forget to give awards to the winner(s). Participants will need some form of incentive, something to keep them going. You might give them a “physical” gift in the office (the week after the office party, for instance, while their “victory” is still fresh), or you might email them a voucher or an Amazon gift card instead.
24) The Holiday-Themed Naughty List
This is one of the most straightforward virtual holiday party ideas to organize. It’s easy to plan, fun to do, and if you pick it, be prepared to learn a lot about your team’s personal affairs.
Plus, if you have a team who knows how to enjoy themselves and have no problem sharing personal matters - you’re in it for a wild holiday naughty list ride!
Here’s how the holiday-themed naughty list should be done.
Pick which of the popular video conferencing platforms you'll use (Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams, or something else - you already know the drill), and have each attendee hold up ten figures at the beginning. The first person says “You’ve been naughty if, you have…..”:
bought a Christmas present last minute for your friends;
know a dirty Christmas joke;
re-gifted a present because you didn’t like it;
broken a Christmas ornament;
forgotten to buy a present for someone important;
bought a cheap present, but received an expensive one in return;
forgotten to send out Christmas cards;
said you liked a Christmas present you received, but you actually lied.
Feel free to add more phrases as you think of them. You can even ask team members to prepare them before the actual party (for instance, you can put a separate pin-up board in the office and have workers pin their papers with suggestions on it). Then you take all of them, put them in a single list, and you’re ready to play when the time comes.
Now, as you play, when a team member has committed a thing on the list, that member needs to lower one finger. The game continues until only one person has their fingers in the air. That person wins the naughty list game. You can repeat the game as many times as you feel like it.
25) Prepare a Holiday Newsletter
If you’re looking for virtual holiday party ideas with a touch of work, look no further. Preparing a holiday newsletter party is a great option for employees who work hard, wish to mix business and pleasure, and are always on the lookout for the next idea.
That said, although newsletters are, in fact, part of certain employees’ job descriptions, this is meant to be a joint effort, and a not-so-serious one. That doesn’t mean it should suck, though.
It’s simply an opportunity for employees to bond, enjoy, and brainstorm, while at the same time engaging in production of something that benefits their work too.
Here are some tips for creating your newsletter (holiday edition):
Create your very own holiday design.
Add lots of visuals and make it more playful than your previous newsletters.
Focus on one main idea - what message are you trying to convey at this point?
Mention a product launch or a new service.
Offer discounts or amazing deals your subscribers won’t be able to say “No” to.
Announce important events, and so on.
Keep it short and clear.
As the holiday season is the part of the year when people spend a lot and are trying to find the perfect gift for their loved ones, this is a great opportunity for all businesses to drive sales and increase their revenue.
And in your case, it’s also an opportunity to have fun while doing it!
Just think about it: you and your employees get to create a newsletter connected on Zoom (or any other conferencing platform) from the comfort of your homes drinking a cocktail, wine, or whatever it is you pick for the night, and “work” in the most informal way possible. Your employees don’t get to do this at work, right?
26) Virtual Holiday Slide-Show
The virtual holiday slide-show party is meant to be an online gathering where your attendees could look at clips, images, and random memories from their previous holiday celebrations (which probably took place at a physical venue).
You’re meant to walk down the memory lane together, and reflect on how much has changed since then (or hasn’t).
Alternatively, you may decide to skip this option, and approach the slide-show party in the following manner: you can prepare a Christmas slideshow video which summarizes your overall year - everything you and your team managed to achieve, the conferences you attended, the events you organized, the fun you had, and the tears you shed.
We recommend using an app such as Animoto. The app provides users with a wide range of creative and versatile options. For instance, there’s a video template called Our Company’s Year which helps organizations celebrate their successes and in their words “create a sense of togetherness”.
Finally, you may come up with a completely different idea about how to approach this holiday slide-show party. Consult with your designers first, and see what’s achievable and what makes sense. You may ask them for some further ideas, too.
27) Holiday Drama Performance
You and your team obviously don’t have to be professional actors to prepare a holiday drama performance, however, you do need to have a sense of humor, and the will to try out new things and explore your talents.
This is one of our most artistic virtual holiday party ideas, but we like it because it doesn’t take a lot of preparation when it comes to buying supplies, ingredients, or choosing a specific online app.
All you need to do is find good Christmas-themed plays. Of course, you may need a lot of them, if you have a large team. It’s useful to divide your team members into separate groups.
You can choose the team members randomly, or allow them to pick their acting “buddies”. The same applies to choosing the plays. You can either pick the plays, or consult your employees so that each of them can contribute with an idea.
“The True Spirit Of Christmas”
You may even consult online websites and choose more “random” Christmas-based plays, and play them out. For instance, you may wish to look at drama scripts for Christmas sketches. Here’s an excerpt from The True Spirit of Christmas that you can check out.
The idea is to pick an excerpt from a play, or act out some sketches such as these ones. Of course, no one expects a 2-hour performance from several people - the idea is that all of you should contribute somehow to the overall party.
Also, the good thing about this type of party is that you get employees to interact even before the party - they need to rehearse their part, spend some time on their own practicing, consult the rest of their team members, and so on. Put simply, this drama performance party may end up being a great employee engagement tool.
28) Make a Holiday Gratitude List
Do you know that gratitude:
helps strengthen the relationship you have with other people?
improves your physical health?
improves your psychological health?
enhances empathy and lessens aggression?
improves your sleep?
increases your mental strength?
boosts your self-esteem levels?
If more people were aware of the benefits that come with having an attitude of gratitude, they’ll probably make gratitude part of their daily practice. And now, with this information, you have the “power” to plant such gratitude seeds in your party attendees, that is, your employees.
Invite them to reflect upon the whole year so far and discuss the things they’re grateful for. They should do this in groups among themselves. Also, they need to write a list and add the things they’re grateful for. These could be random things: from the new socks they bought, the new ice cream flavor they tried in the summer, all the way to more serious things such as their health being better this year or getting that salary increase they wished for so long.
After all groups are done, all of you should gather together again, and each group should read their list.
This is definitely a party which will force attendees to contemplate their lives and realize they have so much more to be grateful for than what they may have initially thought.
A bonus suggestion: we advise you as an employer to break the ice when it comes to expressing gratitude. After all, you should set an example about how this should be done. It’s useful to say that, for instance, you’re grateful for all your employees and the work they’ve done this year. Of course, it’s not just about saying it - you have to mean it, too. Gratitude is felt, not just solely expressed through words.
29) Best Holiday Painting Challenge
The next Picasso may already be part of your company, and you might not even know it (yet!). But choosing the Best Holiday Painting Challenge out of all our virtual holiday party ideas could bring your employees’ artistic skills to the fore.
Here are the supplies you need so that you and your team are ready for this painting challenge:
an easel (you’ll need something to hold your artwork);
a canvas (applies to the acrylic or oil painters) or paper (applies to the watercolor painters);
a palette for color mixing;
brushes (each person should choose the size that works best for them);
solvent (for oil paintings);
and paper towels (you’ll need them to wipe your brushes between strokes).
We suggest that you make special arrangements for the painting supplies to be sent to all attendees (or you may set a fixed budget for each employee and they can buy the supplies themselves).
The idea is for all attendees to gather online via an online platform such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams, and paint together. Each person will have their easel positioned near their laptop/PC/tablet, and once everyone’s finished all of you get to show your painting to the rest of the team.
This is meant to be a relaxing experience that you and your employees can engage in together. You may even decide on what you’ll be drawing (probably something related to Christmas), and then you’ll see how each of you approached the painting.
30) Best Christmas Story Writing Prompt
Is your team hiding the next Dostoevsky? Perhaps Kafka? Shakespeare? Or your team has no writing talents whatsoever?
You can find out if you decide to host your Christmas writing prompt party.
All you need is a conferencing platform, a bunch of Christmas enthusiasts (that is, your attendees), several writing prompts (it’s good to divide people into several groups and have each group produce one text). If you use Zoom you can put people into breakout rooms, give them some time to brainstorm and write the actual text, and then decide you’ll meet back in the main meeting room. Each group will read their prompt. You can vote about the best Christmas story, too.
Here are some writing ideas to get you started.
We strongly suggest visiting the website and going through the Christmas writing prompts. That said, you may allow your attendees to be fully creative and come up with a Christmas story from scratch.
31) Virtual Secret Santa
Ok, I understand what secret Santa is, but a virtual secret Santa? How do I pull this one off?, you probably wonder.
And honestly, it’s not complicated at all. It just requires a bit more logistics and patience to complete a remote gift exchange. That’s all.
Here’s how to do a Secret Santa online:
Set up a budget. It can be $5, $10, $30, or more, but do make sure to set a budget.
Choose a platform to host the party (at this point we believe repeating the same conferencing platforms in the article is somewhat redundant :) ).
Pick a date for the virtual Secret Santa party (but make sure there’s enough time for employees to buy the present and mail it to the person they’re supposed to). There’s a catch though - recipients mustn’t open their presents. They should keep them wrapped up until the party. Once the virtual party starts, all of you should unwrap your gifts simultaneously and virtually.
After you’ve opened your presents, each person should guess their Secret Santa.
In case your employees struggle to decide what to buy for their peers, you may come up with a wish list and put it in the office so that everybody can read it.
32) An Awards Show
All employees are unique. Each of them stands out with some skill, physical trait, habit, talent, routine, and so on.
And if you host an awards show party, you get to express their uniqueness in an open way. That’s why we suggest coming up with funny, yet purposeful award titles that you can “give” to your employees during this party.
Here are some office award suggestions to get you started.
So, now what? I’ve chosen the titles, picked out which employees should get which award, and what do I do with them?, you may wonder. We suggest creating online certificates, and sending them to your employees. You may even print them out, or allow them to do it on their own.
33) Best Holiday Postcard Challenge
If you want to find virtual holiday party ideas which bring out the inner child in you and your employees, engaging in a holiday postcard challenge might do it.
And we want you to get as creative as possible for this one!
First of all, choose whether you’d like to make an online postcard or a “physical” one. We recommended the more traditional way, that is, making a real, “physically-tangible” postcard, but we’ll cover both options.
An online postcard
Now, when it comes to using Canva, all you need to do is open the app, sign in (employees may create a free profile, or all of you can use a single one), and search for “Postcard” so that you can start designing your postcard. Next, you need to select a template. Canva has a wide range of templates suitable for various contexts, styles, and occasions. Once you’ve chosen the template, you can start customizing it. Personalizing your design is very enjoyable - you get to change colors, fonts, texts, backgrounds, only with a few clicks. What's more, you can add icons, stickers, color schemes, shapes, videos, music, and so on. The drag-and-drop features make the overall designing experience a walk in the park. When you’re done, you just have to save your high-quality postcard in your preferred format (usually JPG, PNG file, or PDF).
You can do the postcard while all of you are connected on a virtual app. Feel free to chat, drink wine, or listen to music while doing it. You’ll be working on your postcard and you’ll have the app in the background. You may even use your phone to join the online meeting, and use your laptop/PC to create the postcard. It really comes down to individual preferences.
Also, we suggest each employee sending out their postcard to another employee. That way, each worker gets to send their postcard, but also receive one. You can use an app such as those we shared with you for the Secret Santa challenge - however, instead of sending out gifts, you get to send and receive holiday postcards.
A physical postcard
For this option, you and your employees need to buy some supplies beforehand. You may even order them on behalf of your team, hang them out in the office, and make sure they have the supplies in front of them during the virtual party. You need:
scissors to cut the paper to the necessary dimensions;
art supplies such as:
Of course, your employees are welcome to find some extra materials and supplies if they wish to. The postcard-making process should take place while you’re attending an online meeting together, very similar to what we described in the previous section. The only difference is that instead of working on an app online, you’ll be working with your hands.
Once you’re done, you can show your postcards and take a look at what others have done, too. Each of you should bring their postcard to work and you can either give them out to a colleague or hang all of them together in the office while the holiday season lasts.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I host a virtual holiday party?
In these times of social distancing and work-from-home arrangements, hosting a virtual holiday party for your remote employees is far from being a daunting activity. Still, it needs quite some pre-planning and proper organizing, which often causes many employers anxiety.
But it doesn’t have to be. All you need is the right tips and suggestions for successfully hosting a virtual holiday party.
And we have them.
1) Understand the reason behind the holiday party
Why are you hosting this holiday party? What is it that you wish to get out of this event? What holiday traditions are you looking to uplhold and what's the message behind the holiday event? Is it just having fun? Bonding with your team? Doing something different? Do you want to add some virtual team-building elements to it? Perhaps you’d like to cover as many aspects as you can?
Put simply, depending on the end goal of the holiday party, your party structure and overall planning will need to be adjusted accordingly.
2) Set a date and time
When it comes to physical and virtual parties - many things overlap. One such detail is the time and the date. Picking a convenient time for everyone is very important, as you wish as many employees as possible to be present.
Plus, if you have remote workers scattered around the globe, you should check out their time zone, geographical location, and so on. In other words, you need to take several things into account before deciding on the exact date and time.
We suggest starting a poll, adding several options, and asking employees to pick the time and date based on your suggestions. You should end up picking the time/date the majority has chosen.
3) Pick a conferencing platform
Hosting a virtual party doesn’t require booking a venue, however, it does involve picking a good virtual platform such as Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, and so on.
Choosing a platform may depend on several factors. For instance, if you already have a paid Zoom account and use it at work (your employees too), it’s logical you may wish to use it for the virtual holiday party. The same applies to any other virtual platform you may use at work.
That said, some employers find that specific holiday party ideas go well with particular virtual platforms. For instance, they may fancy a feature Microsoft Teams has, and Zoom doesn’t have.
However, one thing is clear - whatever platform you end up choosing, make sure each virtual holiday party attendee knows how to use it. And if you wish to use an app which most of your employees aren’t that familiar with, ensure that you send them a link with some basic instructions, a YouTube video explaining the platform, or have an employee explain it to them.
4) Design an agenda
Office parties are straightforward - people just stroll in and interact with people as they please.
Now, when it comes to virtual parties, things are a bit different. You can’t just ask people to sign in, show up, and then expect the virtual event to develop on its own. Of course, virtual holiday parties may have some level of spontaneity, however, most of the time they’re planned in great detail.
That's why you need to design an agenda for the virtual event which outlines everything that needs to happen during the online party, and how long it’s supposed to last, including the virtual game or set of games you'll do, holiday playlist, and everything you plan on doing to have fun with your remote team. If you want to set some time for random talk, plan the time accordingly. If you want to give some speech at the beginning of the virtual party and express your thoughts, make sure you put it in your agenda as well.
5) Pick the right virtual holiday party idea
This is one of the most exciting stages of planning a virtual holiday party. It’s about choosing the right activity. What type of party should you host? Will your employees like it? What if it ends up being boring? What if they’ve done it before? What if they think it’s kind of lame?
These are all questions that may pop up in your head as you plan your party, however, this shouldn’t discourage you. On the contrary, the very fact that you’re having so many thoughts about the actual party, means you’re emotionally invested in it, and you probably want to make informed decisions.
Now, when it comes to actually choosing your activities, we suggest shortlisting some virtual holiday party ideas and sharing them with your team. That way, you won’t have to wonder what they may think about the holiday party option you’ve chosen, as they could participate in making that decision, too. Plus, going with such an approach means that the virtual holiday party idea you’ll end up choosing will be well-received not only by you as an organizer, but by your team members as well.
6) Prepare a formal invitation
Once you’ve planned your agenda and chosen your virtual holiday party activity, it’s time to formally invite the holiday party attendees, that is, your employees. Send out calendar invites along with information such as the exact time, date, login instructions, and the overall event agenda.
Don’t forget to include some key details regarding the virtual holiday party. For instance, if you’re playing a virtual escape game or a quiz, make sure employees know they need a pen/pencil and a piece of paper in front of them. In case you’re cooking something, preparing a cocktail, or throwing a theme party, employees need to be aware of all the details, so they can prepare accordingly.
Finally, just for fun - give your virtual holiday party a proper name. Check out this list for some suggestions you can choose from.
What are the benefits of hosting a holiday party virtually?
There are many benefits when it comes to hosting virtual holiday parties. And they’re not just related to having fun or socializing. Namely, such party events can have a meaningful impact on the overall work dynamic, performance, team bonding, and so on.
Let’s discuss some of them in greater detail.
**Feeling of belonging **
All employees wish to feel that sense of belonging - to know their presence somewhere is greatly appreciated. It applies both to professional settings, but fun times, too. And virtual holiday parties are one of those fun times.
Hosting such holiday parties greatly solidifies the feeling of belonging in your office, reduces social isolation, and improves any feelings of mental distress, which are all emotions individuals may struggle with during the holiday season (especially if they’re working remotely).
Breaking up the monotony
Whether your employees are in the office, they engage in hybrid work, or they work remotely all the time, all of them (including you) need some change from time to time. And these changes don’t necessarily need to be work-related changes.
Sometimes your team needs out-of-office events in order to enjoy themselves, bond better, communicate in a much more informal way, and just feel free to relax. And the holiday season is the perfect excuse to do so! Virtual holiday partie are great because they allow you to bring all employees together, irrespective of their number, location, work schedule, and so on, which brings us to the next point.
Improve employee engagement
Depending on the virtual holiday party ideas you decide to implement, such online experiences mean collaboration, meaningful interaction, and competition.
If you decide to focus on communication, it’d be a good idea to ask each attendee to reflect on their overall year in the company, think about the problems they were faced with, what obstacles they managed to overcome, and what they’re grateful for. Such online gatherings are a nice opportunity to only prepare for the upcoming year and embrace the new challenges.
You may even encourage attendees to say a word or two, in case they feel like sharing something with their peers. Or perhaps you’d like to address all attendees, and get across some positive thoughts and messages everyone could contemplate.
That way, you get to boost employee engagement without even needing a work-related context.
**Include family members **
If your employees attend a virtual holiday party, it’s only logical to assume that most of their family members will be there with them, too. Therefore, choosing a holiday party where family members can also join doesn’t sound like a bad idea.
From watching a movie, playing an escape game, to having a gingerbread house decorating contest, there are great ways to make sure all family members are not only engaged, but enjoying their time, too.
**Providing a virtual-team building opportunity **
If executed properly, virtual holiday events can be a great idea for a virtual team-building activity.
Of course, to do this, you need to choose adequate virtual holiday party ideas. For instance, if you decide on watching a movie, there’s no room for such creativity or engagement. However, if you pick playing a quiz in groups, escape games, or a holiday bingo, there are many options.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that hosting such parties paves the way for other such events and activities. Here’s one example: the vice-president of sales at Vapor Empire, an LA-based e-cigarette retailer, stated that they’ve hosted a virtual murder mystery dinner party just recently within his department. The virtual event ended up being an amazing experience - in fact, it was such a successful event, that the company decided to host another such murder party for the whole company. Plus, they decided to give each attendee (employee) a stipend for alcohol.
Asking attendees to contribute
And not just with their presence, but additional props and equipment, too. For instance, you may set up a dress code, ask employees to prepare a hand-made mask, or coordinate their festive outfits.
Asking employees to set some time aside to prepare for the actual virtual party will make them take it much more seriously. Put simply, they’ll look forward to it more if they know they have to show off something they’ve made/prepared or purchased. That said, many employers may feel uncomfortable to ask employees to purchase items just for the party. This is why we recommend that you (the company) pay for those items, and hand them over to your employees. And if this sounds too expensive and complicated, you can simply choose a virtual holiday party idea that doesn’t require much preparation and expense.
A virtual holiday party doesn’t have to revolve just around having fun. It may serve as an occasion where you can publicly show recognition, gratitude, and praise your employees.
In essence, it’s an opportunity to celebrate individual successes, and thank employees for their hard work throughout the year. This will not only mean a lot to them, but it will motivate them to put in the same effort in the upcoming year as well.
Plus, this shows you’re not just focused on your business and entrepreneurial stuff - it demonstrates you’re closely monitoring who’s doing what in your company, as well as who’s making progress.
You may consider giving out awards, too. Whether you’d like to give “physical” awards after the actual event or you have some other unique way of approaching this is up to you.
After all, a virtual holiday party is a great opportunity to wrap up the entire year, and bring up people’s successes and achievements in a relaxed, and festive atmosphere.
That said, make sure you don’t create rivalry among employees if you decide to award certain workers and praise them in public. In other words, you don’t want your virtual holiday party to turn into a rivalry event where attendees end up sulking or turning against one another. Healthy competition wouldn’t hurt, though.
How do I pick the right virtual holiday party idea(s)?
We briefly touched upon the issue of choosing a virtual holiday party theme in our first question, when we dwelt upon how to host a holiday party. Namely, we said that it’s important to choose the right virtual holiday party ideas, however, here we wish to explain how you can do so.
First and foremost, you need to consider how long this party should last. Of course, you don’t need to come up with an exact number of hours and minutes, however, it’s good to have some sort of a general plan so that your employees know how to plan their day.
Next, it’s good to consider your employees’ interests, hobbies, and skills. For example, if you know most of your team hates cooking, and they don’t eat sweets, it would make no sense to choose the gingerbread challenge. Or if you know they dislike singing, don’t go to clubs, and can’t stand certain types of songs, you obviously shouldn’t choose the karaoke virtual holiday party idea.
You shouldn’t neglect your budget either. For instance, if you wish to play an escape game, and you have your eyes set on a paid one rather than on a free online escape game, how much money can you spend? Is this something your company can pay for at this point?
Finally, think about previous holiday party celebrations (even if they were physical parties). What worked well back then? What did the attendees like? What did they dislike? Was there anything that was a great success and you can implement it within a virtual setting?
Thinking about all these questions can help you start eliminating virtual holiday party ideas which aren’t aligned with your workers’ wishes, interests, and skills, and help you identify the ones that are.
When it comes to picking the right virtual holiday party idea, many employers get stuck on a single idea. Or they select a few and they can’t make up their minds.
Regardless of the struggles you have with organizing a proper holiday party for you and your team, it’s worth mentioning that virtual holiday party ideas can be mixed. In other words, you don’t have to pick just one. If it’s possible, feel free to combine them.
For instance, you can make a Christmas cocktail and then play bingo, answer icebreaker questions, or attend a virtual class together. You could make the gingerbread house, and then engage in postcard creation. Or you could do the Eat the Same Food Challenge, and then host an awards show.
Once you figure out what you and your team want, the possibilities are endless.
Bob Hope once stated: “My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?”
We say: Our idea of a holiday party, whether online or face-to-face, is very simple: having fun. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?
And you (and your employees) probably wonder the same - why do you have to wait for the special time of the year to have fun or to host a party? Now that you know the benefits that come with such events, as well as how to actually host them, you can engage in them much more frequently, and see how your team reacts to them.
One thing is for sure - such great party ideas can definitely only bring more positivity within the workplace. Test