Tis’ the season for peppermint mochas, Christmas lights, and… virtual holiday parties?
The holiday season is finally among us. And although we’d traditionally be gathering in-person to celebrate this magical time of year, that isn’t totally possible in 2020.
At the same time, everyone is battling burnout and Zoom fatigue. Your staff and clients may not have the mental capacity to sit through another dreaded virtual meeting.
So, what do you do?
Here are 7 virtual company holiday party ideas that are sure to wow the crowd and entertain your guests:
Arrange A Virtual Tasting
Coffee, tea, beer, wine, cheese, cocktails, mocktails, hot chocolate — you name it. There are tasting kits online for almost everything. Whatever you fancy, order enough kits for all your staff and have them sent to their homes. Then, hire an expert to guide you through the tasting.
As you plan out this event, be mindful of everyone’s preferences and living situation. For example, if most of your staff doesn’t drink, you may opt for a mix of mocktails and cocktails instead. If most of your staff is at home with kids, you may go the coffee or hot chocolate route to get everyone involved.
Host A Virtual Awards Show
You don’t have to go all “Michael Scott” and host a Dundies award show, but you can spread some holiday cheer by recognizing those who have gone above and beyond (or at least survived) this year.
You’ll want to be careful not to offend anyone, but aim to make the award categories fun. Does your office have any quirky norms or inside jokes? Incorporate those into the awards.
For example, you could create awards for fun things like:
- Most likely to get locked out of the office (because they’re notorious for leaving their office keys at home)
- Most likely to be a barista in a past life (because they’re always sipping on the latest hipster coffee drink)
- Most likely to win the Great British Baking Show (because they spent the better part of 2020 making sourdough)
You could even do a “Busiest Beaver” award for the Phylis in your office… just make sure it’s spelled correctly.
Play Some Games As A Team
At Vested, we did a virtual “murder mystery” in November that was quite the hit. Employees were split up into teams to try and solve a murder much like the game Clue. We looked for clues and solved puzzles in our digital dashboard until we had enough info to decide the murderer, weapon and motive. It was a great way to connect with our team and unplug from work for a bit.
There are also tons of multiplayer games you can set up for some friendly competition. Jackbox is one popular platform that’s good for playing games together virtually. It has dozens of games to choose from.
Up the ante by giving out irresistible prizes to winners, such as gift cards, company swag, an extra day of paid time off, and more.
Hire Some Top-Notch Entertainment
Is there a musician, magician, motivational speaker or even a comedian your staff enjoys? Chances are, that person is looking for bookings. Scheduling them for your virtual company holiday party can be a great way to liven the mood and cut loose a little bit.
If you’re not sure who your staff would like to see, ask around the office or send out a quick poll.
Make Something Together
Research shows that hands-on experiences are a great way to boost employee morale and help everyone feel connected. One way to do this is by having everyone make something together at your next virtual holiday party.
For example, you could:
- Have a friendly gingerbread house competition
- Host a virtual paint party
- Decorate cookies
- Make Christmas wreaths
- Create a gourmet meal together (you may want to hire a chef to lead this one)
The options are endless. Just be sure to send everyone the supplies they’ll need beforehand (or give them the money to get the supplies themselves). Then, have everyone submit a picture of their creation afterwards so you can judge who came out on top.
Host A Virtual Charity Event & In-Home Dinner
Does your company usually host a charitable event for the holidays? There’s nothing stopping you from keeping the tradition alive.
For example, you could start the night by having dinner delivered to your employees’ homes. Then, you could:
- Write holiday greeting cards to soldiers or the elderly
- Sponsor a few needy families and spend the night buying them Christmas gifts online
- Play games as a team and let the winners donate $100 each to a charity of their choice
At the end of the night, take some time to reflect on what went well this year and what you’re hoping to accomplish in the years to come.
Ditch The Virtual Party & Send Gifts Instead
The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all in different ways. Some have lost close family members and friends. Others have had to adjust to working from home with partners and kids.
At the end of the day, you know your company best. If you feel like a holiday party isn’t in the cards at all this year, that’s okay. You can send gifts instead and still make it interactive.
For example, the CEO of Chanty (a team collaboration platform) is sending each of his employees $100 to spend on dinner or an outing with the family. In exchange, he’s asking that they send in a couple of photos or a video of them using the money. Then, he’ll create a collage to share after the New Year.
You don’t have to throw an extravagant party to celebrate the holidays. At Vested, one of our teams scheduled a short dinner with their client and had bottles of wine and food delivered to everyone’s homes.
The holidays may look different this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make them memorable and fun. You can still spread holiday cheer and connect with your team — even if it’s from afar.
If you end up using any of these virtual company holiday party ideas for 2020, let us know. We’d love to hear how they turned out. In the meantime, we hope you have a safe and happy holiday season. Here’s to hoping 2021 is more like 2019.