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How To: Host a Virtual Office Holiday Party

By December 14, 2020January 31st, 2023Community & Engagement, Workplace & Office

Your business has just about made it through an incredibly challenging 2020, congratulations! You want to reward your employees who have sacrificed on your behalf and provide them with an incredibly fun holiday party. Unfortunately, it’s still 2020, and the pandemic won’t allow that festive gathering you had in mind. So what can you do? If you’re like me, this holiday season snuck up on you a bit. Something about this pandemic has distorted my perception of time. I realized last week that we don’t have a holiday party planned yet for this year and started searching for ways to celebrate. If you find yourself in a similar situation, well, you are in luck!

Here at The W.B. Delivery we’ve scoured the world wide web to find safe alternatives for you to reward your employees and celebrate – many of which can be put together in limited time – but if there has ever been a year for a delayed holiday party, it’s this year, so don’t stress. While some options are more expensive than others, and some are simply not feasible based on the number of employees at your business, they may be useful for other situations in which you find yourself. One suggestion for those of you that are part of larger companies, consider departmental or team based virtual holiday events as opposed to one large event for everyone. Out of all the suggestions and options we reviewed, here are a few that sound like quite a bit of fun. We hope they inspire you to merriment! While some of these can be completed without holding a specific virtual get together, we recommend that whenever possible, to provide a virtual forum for employees to enjoy together.

  • Virtual wine or beer tasting.
    • I attended one of these, and frankly, it went much better than I expected. The brewery sent beer and food ahead of time, that we all unwrapped and enjoyed together virtually. The brew master was able to walk us through a virtual tour and answered questions as they came up.
  • Gift Boxes
    • This could hold all sorts of different items – from a single gift from corporate, to a gift box filled with various candies and goodies. You could even make it interactive by providing a list of options and asking everyone to select what they want specifically
    • I’ve even heard some rumors of tapas boxes, providing a picnic at your house
    • What about sending home a charcuterie box and then inviting the company to attend a virtual charcuterie class?
  • Cookie Decorating
    • Send people cookies and frosting and then sign up for a cookie decorating class!
    • I once attended a cake decorating class as a team event, and I’m quite confident that can translate to Zoom so long as you have a small enough group and allow it to be interactive
    • Employees with kids at home will also love this idea
    • Not feeling hungry? Maybe a more standard painting party with a vendor who will send the materials such as Paint The Town
  • Navigate your way through a Virtual Escape Room
  • Gift Exchange
    • Give everyone a $10 gift certificate or coupon (maybe for your own products) and an address to send the gift. Then hold a virtual get together and share the gifts, maybe guess who sent what

All of the options discussed above require some financial investment that may not be feasible for your business right now. With that in mind, here are a few more affordable options to get your creativity flowing.

  • A Virtual Awards Show
    • If you’re like me, your mind went right to ‘The Dundies’ from The Office and you are spot on. Make creative superlatives for everyone on the team.
  • Virtual Ugly Sweater Competition
    • Turn the zoom or Microsoft Teams meeting into a runway to showcase the ugliest most festive sweater you have
    • This is a great one to combine with other activities, remember – a virtual party requires activities and an agenda
  • Holiday Party Charades
    • Use categories like holiday movies, songs, or traditions and let your employees act them out on the screen for others to figure out
  • Virtual Jeopardy or Family Feud
    • You could utilize an online service like Team Bonding or you could poll your employees and set this up all by yourself.
      • Get a head start using a template like this one!
  • Zoom Caroling
    • A little more challenging because you’ll need to find an audience, but you can encourage participants to invite their families and friends!

Regardless of the planned activities, there are a few things that you must do in order to make sure the party is a success. First off, make it an event – set a date and send invitations, the fancier the invitations are the better; it conveys the importance, establishes a theme, and drums up excitement amongst your employees. Set an agenda and share it with the team. While an open-ended holiday party in person makes sense and can be a lot of fun, virtual get-togethers require more structure to ensure it is inclusive and worthwhile. Finally, make it interactive – this isn’t a meeting, encourage everyone to participate but remember, some people don’t want to be put on the spot in front of everyone else on camera, so participation can be in different ways.

The final option we’ll discuss here is the potential to simply move your celebration to sometime next year or hosting a bigger holiday party in 2021. If you choose to do this, we encourage you to acknowledge your employees and their work in some other way. 2020 has been a challenging and stressful year for many, so even something as small as a personalized note from a manager will go a long way in building team strength and unity.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!