A Guide to Office Holiday Parties in 2020

If there has ever been a need to boost morale for your employees, colleagues and peers – the time is now. The company holiday party is a time-honored tradition that fosters camaraderie, deepens connections and signals the joy of the upcoming time off and the promise of a new year. In our increasingly virtual professional environment with limited or nonexistent in-person venue options, there are still creative ways to celebrate the holidays with your colleagues. Here are some virtual ideas to consider for this season.

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Virtual Holiday Happy Hour

At this point, many people have perfected the virtual happy hour. Why not put those socializing skills to work in a virtual holiday party? If you are short on ideas or time to plan, send a video meeting invite for a virtual potluck, BYOB happy hour or a comfy holiday pajamas event.

Seasonal Home Decoration Tour

Everyone likes a festive office – and it’s a win-win when your home is also your office. To build interest, create a decoration showcase to allow employees to share their holiday decor. Or, host a contest for the best tree or best decorated office chair to add creativity and fun to your next team call.

Ugly Sweater Contest

Nothing improves a Zoom meeting like an ugly shirt or sweater. Small companies can have a group call to vote on the ugliest, most festive apparel. Companies with more employees could select a representative from each team to take part in a larger ugly sweater contest.

Secret Santa or White Elephant Gift Exchange

Colleagues randomly draw a name and buy a small, funny gift to send anonymously to that peer. Participants could open the gifts during a Zoom call and try to guess who sent the gift.

Activity Based Party

Looking for a more engaging or experience-based celebration? You could elect to do a virtual group activity – like a cooking class or wine or cocktail tasting. Companies like Sourced Craft Cocktails and Uncorked Kitchen can send all the ingredients to your distributed team for a fun event hosted by a mixologist or chef. It is both a tasty gift and a bonding experience.

Virtual Holiday Hijinks

The fun and unexpected ideas proposed by Outback Team Building enhance collaboration, communication and team bonding with holiday spirit. Some examples include DIY gift contests and customized holiday song competitions. Teams or companies can purchase self-managed programs or fully hosted events.

Online Games

Employees can split into groups and compete against each other in virtual games such as Werewolf or other team-building games such as those featured on Jackbox Games. They can be purchased directly through an online app store. Games of pictionary, charades or trivia can be done in a virtual format as well. For a more curated experience, you can hire a company like Let’s Roam to create a virtual game night customized to your employees.

Gingerbread Cookie or House Decorating

Looking for some wholesome fun? Send your employees a cookie or house decorating set and enjoy seeing what ensues. Employees can decorate while enjoying some eggnog and a virtual get-together with colleagues. Participants can also craft their holiday creations with their family and take pictures to share for their work team.

Create a Santa Hotline

A memorable, funny and low-cost holiday tradition is for a child to talk to Santa. This year, you could organize for your deep-voiced employees to be Santa and receive the calls of your employees’ younger children to hear what they would like for the holidays.

Helping Others Event

It’s always rewarding to help others, and many charitable organizations are struggling to get volunteers and donations this holiday season. You could organize a virtual event where team members volunteer in their local communities at the same time. Before and after the event, employees could post about the organizations they support, allowing their peers to learn more about their interests and share ways to help others during this difficult year.

This list only scratches the surface of virtual holiday party options. The shift to a virtual office party has many benefits including lower cost, no travel, high engagement, less stress and hopefully just as much fun. Be sure to schedule your activity soon to minimize conflicts. Adding a virtual company holiday party can be an ideal way to remind your team of your commitment to boosting company culture and morale while celebrating the significance of getting through one of the most unusual years in recent history. Happy holidays!