This holiday season, plan an end of year office party that brings joy to your remote employees and remote teams.
Now that it’s clear remote work is here to stay, smart people managers and event planners are investing in the right ways to build culture without a physical office.
Even though the way we work is changing, the need for teams to stay motivated and feel appreciated has not. People managers around the country have been forced to find creative ways to make space for their remote employees’ team building activities. As we approach the end of the year, many of them are wondering how to replace the crown jewel of work social events, the office Christmas party!
With all the craziness of this year, a chance to blow off some steam and celebrate the silver linings feels especially necessary this holiday season. That being said, here are some ideas for you to consider when planning your own virtual get together this Christmas-time. We guarantee your team will love these virtual holiday party ideas. Let the holiday spirit commence!
Keep your remote teams’ hectic lives in mind
Make sure your virtual office party feels inclusive and respectful of the different situations your team members might be in. Always make these events optional, and try to schedule them for a time that allows folks with family responsibilities to participate (time zones are a thing). In general it is good to avoid party games that *require* consuming food or drinks as people may have dietary restrictions
Also, your virtual team members may not all share the same holiday traditions. Though it might not seem like a big deal to some, small things like calling it a “Virtual Holiday Party” as opposed to a “Virtual Christmas Party” can go a long way in ensuring everyone is able to celebrate in their own way!
Plan a Secret Santa gift exchange or White Elephant gift exchange
These are longstanding office party traditions that you can easily replicate over a Zoom conference. Secret Santa gift exchanges are a fun way for team members to show how well they know each other, and white elephants are a downright chaotic blast.
The key to successfully organizing any type of virtual gift exchange is proper planning. Make sure there is a clear spending limit on all gifts, and for Secret Santa exchanges be sure to establish who is buying for who well before your virtual holiday party. It may require some spreadsheet work to get people one another’s addresses in secret, but it will be worth it to spread the holiday spirit.
Swag Idea: Create several different custom gift boxes and let your virtual teams do a white elephant to choose between them via Zoom! The best part is that Swag.com will handle the shipping to each team member’s house!
Organize a Christmas cookie decorating contest
Can there be holiday spirit without holiday Christmas cookies? The answer is no.
A Christmas cookie decorating contest is actually easier to do virtually than you think. There are a few ways to go about it. One would be to have everyone have a cookie of their choice ready to decorate live at your virtual holiday party’s video call. This would be an Iron-Chef-Style timed event where team members would compete to win various categories delivered before hand (best use of color, ugliest cookie, most festive etc.)
Another way to go is to ask people to create their cookie submissions beforehand and reveal them in person. This allows for people to have a bit more time to get creative, not to mention source a cookie to decorate! This strategy also gives you a chance to re-do your cookie if you accidentally eat it before it’s judged.
Watch a Christmas movie as a virtual team
It’s surprisingly nice to watch a movie and talk about it with your friends at the same time, even if it’s over a video call.
To pull this off, we recommend setting up different pools of virtual team members based on who wants to watch what movie. For example, offer up the choice to watch Elf, A Christmas Carol, or Die Hard (100% a Christmas movie) and let people self select into the Zoom room of their choice. This not only allows for people to get to watch what they want, it also allows for a greater opportunity to all find a streaming service that has a movie on the list.
Play some fun holiday games. Eggnog charades anyone?
Ok, so maybe there aren’t that many Christmas games, or holiday games in general. But you can adapt other fun games if you are creative!
For example, there are lot’s of ways to make virtual team trivia holiday-themed! Same with Pictionary. And you could always do a karaoke event with a Christmas-themed playlist! Ice breaker games like two truths and a lie can be fun too, but make sure to have break out rooms in your Zoom or Skype chat to make sure there aren’t too many people simply watching one person play. The best party activity is one that lots of people can participate in.
Make time to reflect on your year and show appreciation
The most important part of your virtual holiday party is not actually a holiday activity at all. Santa hats or not, getting together at the end of the year is really all about taking stock and celebrating everyone’s hard work.
There should be the classic speeches by your execs on the state of the business for sure. But if you can find smaller ways to let team members of all ranks share their feelings, your virtual party will have more of a lasting impact. Try breaking out into smaller groups and giving people time to share their biggest takeaways from the year, or maybe their New Year’s Resolution if they are comfortable doing so.
Host a virtual Christmas dinner
Holiday dinners are a classic time for celebration, reflection and joy. Just because you can’t be in the same room as a team doesn’t mean you can’t still come together!
Send gift cards to your audience and set a time to get together via webcam. If you have a specific restaurant in mind, that’s great! But it also works to let people choose their own place and simply be together to share. Virtual dinners are a great way to bond as a team, and make time to share acknowledgements and appreciations.
Send your virtual teams a gift box full of holiday cheer
If you want to really light up the holiday spirit, Swag.com makes it easy to gift high-quality custom gifts to all of your remote employees, no matter where they’re located.
Our one-stop-shop lets you shop, customize, store and send products from the best brands to anyone you want. Whether you’re interested in gifting some customized Apple Airpods, or creating an entirely branded box chalked full of customized items, we can help you show your appreciation for the year’s effort in a way that truly makes an impact.
*Reviewed and updated for 2022!
For more inspiration, check out our Swag Explorer where you can see the best custom gifts come to life!
What are you planning on doing to make your virtual holiday party special? Let us know at email@example.com for a chance to be featured!