Are you looking for the best virtual holiday party ideas of the year so you can create a memorable experience for your remote workplace? If so, you are in the right place!
In 2020, we saw a shift to remote work to combat the pandemic. In 2021, that trend continued. Even after restrictions in the workplace were lifted, businesses saw the value in keeping employees remote. Lower costs, higher productivity, higher employee satisfaction – everyone seems to win with remote work!
But what about everyone’s favorite occasion of the year – the holiday party?
Last year, many companies decided to forego any sort of holiday festivities. It was the first full year of living with the COVID-19 pandemic, and in-person celebrations were a no-go. As businesses struggled to adjust to the new way of work, there was certainly no time to plan a virtual holiday party.
But this year, people are antsy – which is why you want to learn about creating a virtual holiday party. This sounds odd at first, and you may be skeptical about whether people will attend or not. But believe us when we say that when done right, the virtual holiday offers all the fun and bonding of an in-person party – and then some!
Today, we’ll share the top virtual holiday party ideas with you. We’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure your party goes off without a hitch and has employees ranting and raving for months to come. Let’s start by explaining what these remote parties even are.
What Exactly Is A Virtual Holiday Party?
As you can probably surmise from the name alone, a virtual holiday party is just like a virtual meeting. We’re sure you’ve become accustomed to (or maybe sick of?) these! You can host virtual holiday parties over Zoom, Google Meet, or any other teleconferencing software you prefer.
The appeal to the end-of-the-year company holiday party is getting to let loose with coworkers, have a few drinks, play some games, win some prizes – all that good stuff. Well, all of this is possible over a virtual party, too. The best part? Employees don’t even need to leave their house! No need to worry about finding an uber or organizing a designated driver, either.
Once we break it down for you, you’ll come to realize that these virtual holiday parties are not just as good as an in-person party, they can actually be superior.
However, there are quite a few more moving parts than a typical party. Because people are essentially sitting in a room alone for these virtual parties, you need to ensure they’re engaged at all times. That means organizing an agenda with games, prizes, fun music, and more. Don’t worry – we’ll simplify the entire thing for you shortly.
The Components Of A Successful Virtual Holiday Party
There are a few things you need to make sure you have dialed in for your very own virtual holiday party. By ensuring all of these boxes are checked, you’ll be able to relax knowing you’ve set up a quality party that will have people talking for days!
First and foremost, you need to decide on a theme for your holiday party. Are you going to encourage people to dress up in Christmas pajamas or Halloween costumes? As you can probably tell, the specific time of your party will usually dictate your theme.
But, you can get really creative here and do something a bit out of the box. Don’t be afraid to get weird – this is the type of thing that will have your employees grinning and telling their friends all about your virtual party!
Along with what attendees will wear, your theme may dictate the music you play, the games you play, the gifts/prizes you give, and the overall agenda of the party.
This is the most important part – the agenda of your virtual party. You should strike a good balance of free, socializing time among employees and structured games/events.
Your remote employees are likely eager to catch up. So, you should definitely have some sort of period where they are free to chat and catch up. But, there is a fine line here. You don’t want any dead air, where your virtual workforce is just sitting in the Zoom room together.
A good way to prevent this, while allowing all your remote workers to catch up, is with icebreakers. You can go around the virtual room and ask questions about holiday plans, about fun things they did that year, etc.
Along with socializing, you should be sure to organize games. This is what will keep your virtual room engaged over the course of your 30 minute, 60 minute, or even 90 minute virtual company party. Your games should be in line with your theme. For example – if this is a Halloween party, a costume contest is a great choice. Or if it’s around Christmas time, you can do gingerbread decorating contests.
Whatever you end up doing, you’ll need to figure out the details virtually or send the physical supplies to each employee beforehand so they can all participate virtually.
Coming up with the right games, events, or activities for your virtual holiday event is the hardest part of organizing your party. Don’t worry – our curation of virtual holiday party ideas are going to help you with this.
The Prizes or Party Favors
Everyone loves games because the possibility of winning a prize is always there. As such, you need to ensure you have lined up prizes for the games or activities you’ve curated. Better yet, you can send out party favors to all attendees prior to your virtual party.
This can be things like branded company outfits to wear at the virtual party. Or, it can be branded cups to drink out of – there are so many possibilities when it comes to branded party favors or swag. We’ll cover these extensively towards the end. But for now, we’re ready to share some awesome virtual holiday party games and activities you can try out.
The Top Virtual Holiday Party Ideas For A Remote Workforce In 2021
These virtual party ideas are great for any remote workplace this year. Because most companies conduct an end-of-the-year party just before Christmas, you’ll notice most of our ideas focus on that particular holiday.
But, you can apply similar games to any holiday theme -whether it’s Hanukkah, Halloween, New Year, easter, 4th of July, you name it. Let’s start with a Christmas classic – gingerbread house competitions.
Virtual Gingerbread House Competitions
Nothing says Christmas like gingerbread houses or cookies. And what better way to get the ball rolling at your virtual Christmas party than with a gingerbread decorating competition! Send the gingerbread kits to everyone’s residence beforehand. Then once you’ve broken the ice and everyone is in attendance, set a clock, and let them get to work.
This idea is great because it’s highly engaging. Nobody is going to be sitting at their desktop doing nothing. They’ll bring their laptop to the kitchen and eagerly work on their masterpiece – while chatting with coworkers and listening to fun Christmas music.
At the end of this event, everyone can vote on the winners – who will receive one of the prizes you’ve picked out. Once the party is over, you can either set your house up for decoration or go crazy and eat it right there on the spot – no judgment here!
Virtual Scavenger Hunts
Who doesn’t love a scavenger hunt? Virtual scavenger hunts are awesome because you never know what you’re going to get. That’s because attendees will search around their own homes for items!
If your virtual Christmas party features a scavenger hunt, you can award prizes based on either originality of items or the total number of items secured. Or, award prizes for both! Here are some great Christmas themed items worth adding to your list for the scavenger hunt:
- Christmas pajamas
- Christmas decorations
- Ugly Christmas sweater
- Wrapped present
- Christmas cookie
- Wrapping paper and/or scotch tape
- Elf on a shelf
- Tree topper or star
- Piece of coal
The possibilities are endless, and this is another engaging, time-focused race worth considering if you’re seeking out virtual company party ideas
Virtual Holiday Bingo
Playing virtual holiday bingo is a great way to raise holiday spirit while awarding some awesome prizes to your valued employees.
There are all sorts of awesome templates out there you can simply download and use yourself. Or, you can get creative and create a bingo card a bit more personalized to your company and your employees. Whatever the case, just make sure you have enough prizes in case everyone hits bingo at once!
Virtual “Never Have I Ever” (Holiday Edition)
If you’ve played “never have I ever”, you know what a fun ice-breaking game this can be. Keep in mind that for your company party you may need to keep it a bit more PG-13 than some other versions of the game. But, you can make this a holiday-themed icebreaker at your own virtual event.
When it comes to Christmas, some call this “the naughty list”. Players hold up 5 or 10 fingers, and must put a finger down whenever a statement applies to them. Here are some things you can ask employees to put a finger down for:
- Regifting presents
- Reusing wrapping apper
- Cleaning up their office before the party
- Peeking at presents or snooping wishlists
- Pretending to like a gift they hated
- They still have Christmas shopping to finish up
- They were late to the party
- Their drink is empty
You can get really creative here – the sky is the limit when it comes to the Naughty List!
Virtual Secret Santa (Or White Elephant)
Organizing a virtual secret Santa is a great way to wrap up your virtual Christmas party. This requires advanced planning, as attendees will need to have sent their gifts to the recipients in advance so they can open in the zoom or meeting room.
Or, you can stick to virtual gifts only – the choice is yours. You can even put a fun spin on secret Santa and play white elephant if you’re sticking with virtual gifts.
Other Awesome Virtual Holiday Party Ideas To Spice Up Your Event
Now, we’ve covered some awesome games you can play at your virtual company party this holiday season. These are our favorite ideas, but they’re just a few of the many options you have. Along with these, you can also consider a few other fun holiday party games – such as:
- Holiday Trivia
- Chubby Elf
- Name That Tune
- Holiday Charades
- Holiday Pictionary
- Most Likely To…
We want to also share a few other tips that can spice up your event and ensure your virtual holiday event is a success.
Encourage Costumes & Dressing Up
Some of the most fun virtual holiday parties we’ve seen all have a dress code. For example, you can put a satirical spin on the old office dress code and encourage everyone to go formal on their webcam.
This is fun in the right setting, but others prefer the opposite end of the spectrum. You can encourage Christmas pajamas and onesies, or some other sort of costume – like Santa, elves, etc.
If you’re really looking to create a virtual event that’s worth remembering, you can even send out your own branded costumes or clothing prior to the event for all to wear. This can be branded Christmas sweaters or hats, shirts, you name it.
Create A Holiday-Themed Playlist For Your Party
You can create a shared, holiday-themed playlist to play in the background of your Zoom or Google meet while events are going on. This can be Christmas music or soft jazz, or anything else for that matter. You know your company best, and you know what they want to hear. If not, ask them to all collaborate on the playlist!
Now, we have arrived at the most important part of knocking your virtual event out of the park: prizes and gifts. You need to have awesome prizes for the winners of all the games you play over the course of your party. But, that is not all. You should really provide gift baskets or bundles for all in participation.
This is a great way to say not just thank you for coming, but thank you for everything. These people work hard to make sure your company runs smoothly, and we’ve all been through a lot the past year or two. Showing your appreciation with a swag bag will go a long way in keeping morale and retention high.
The best part about this is your prizes and gifts can be anything you want. From technology-based gifts like portable speakers, charging stations, and more to clothing, water bottles, coffee mugs, blankets, bags, drinks, snacks, you name it. Nothing is off-limits.
And, you can even brand these items with your own company colors and labels to make them truly special and personalized. We’ll explain how you can do that below – keep reading.
Final Thoughts On The Best Virtual Holiday Party Ideas
Now you know everything that goes into creating successful, memorable virtual holiday parties. All you have to do is put the pieces together to make your vision a reality.
No need to overthink the prizes or gifts this year – we’ve done the heavy lifting and curated the top products your employees want. We’ve got preconfigured swag packs you can customize or you can start from scratch. Anything you can imagine, we’ve got it – and at great prices. Just take a look at some of our offerings and see it for yourself!