Zooming into the Holidays: 7 Creative Ideas for a Fun and Festive Virtual Office Holiday Party

For better or worse, remote and/or hybrid work is increasingly common, and many teams face the challenge of capturing the festive spirit in a virtual office environment. Since my publication last week about the 5 Dos and 5 Don’ts Tips for Your Office Holiday Party, many people have reached out asking about innovative ways to have a fun and festive office holiday party – remotely.

Following are seven creative ideas to ensure your virtual office holiday party is as special and memorable as any traditional holiday gathering.

1. Virtual Holiday Escape Room:

Transform the classic escape room experience into a virtual adventure. Use online platforms to create a holiday-themed puzzle-solving journey. Divide the team into smaller groups and let them navigate through holiday-themed challenges. It’s a great way to foster teamwork and inject a sense of fun and competition.

2. Online Secret Santa (or Mensch on the Bench) Gift Exchange:

Keep the spirit of gift-giving alive with a virtual Secret Santa or any other appropriate holiday gift-giving exchange. Use an online gift generator (like Elfster) to assign gift-givers and receivers. Set a reasonable budget and let the team mail their gifts in advance. During the party, open the gifts together on camera. It’s a wonderful way to spread cheer and a sense of togetherness, despite the physical distance.

3. Ugly Sweater Contest and Fashion Show:

Encourage everyone to wear their most outrageous holiday sweaters. Have a segment in your virtual party where each person shows off their sweater. Create categories like ‘Most Creative’, ‘Funniest’, “Absolutely Ugly” and ‘Most Outrageous’ for the contest – and give virtual trophies for the winners. This light-hearted activity is sure to bring laughter and joy to the party.

4. Holiday Cooking or Mixology Class:

Host a virtual cooking or cocktail/mocktail-making class. Hire a chef or mixologist to lead the session, teaching everyone how to make a special holiday dish or drink. Prior to the event, send out ingredient lists or, if possible, care packages with everything needed. This activity not only teaches a new skill but also allows everyone to enjoy something delicious they made themselves.

5. Virtual Talent Show:

Organize a talent show where team members can showcase their non-work-related talents. This could be singing, playing an instrument, magic tricks, or even a stand-up comedy routine. It’s a great way for team members to learn more about each other in a fun and entertaining way, and it helps uncover hidden talents within the team.

6. Holiday-Themed Trivia and Games:

Plan a series of holiday-themed trivia games and quizzes. Use a platform like Kahoot! to host a live trivia session that everyone can participate in. Include a mix of general holiday trivia, company-specific questions, and even personal trivia about team members (gathered in advance) to personalize the experience.

7. Year-in-Review and Recognition Ceremony:

Dedicate a portion of the party to reflect on the year’s achievements and milestones. Highlight team successes and individual contributions. (Include as many people in the successes as possible – while remaining authentic).

Use this time for a virtual recognition ceremony where employees are acknowledged for their hard work and achievements. This not only fosters a sense of accomplishment but also strengthens team bonds.

Try to create a fun atmosphere with decorations by encouraging team members to decorate their home workspace or use festive virtual backgrounds to set the holiday mood. What’s a party without music? Create a holiday playlist and share it with the team. You can have music playing softly in the background during less formal parts of the party. During the virtual party, incorporate interactive elements like polls or chat box activities to keep engagement levels high.

Of course it’s important to ensure inclusivity by recognizing that team members may celebrate different holidays (or nothing at all). Aim for a holiday-neutral approach or include elements from various traditions to ensure inclusivity.

Keep in mind time zones and choose a time that’s convenient for as many people as possible.

A virtual holiday office party can still encapsulate the warmth, joy, and unity that characterizes this time of year. With a bit of creativity and planning, you can create an unforgettable experience that strengthens team bonds and leaves everyone with cherished memories. So, don your festive attire, log in, turn on the music and get ready to spread some virtual holiday cheer this year!

Dr. Patty Ann

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