While the majority of last year’s holiday parties were virtual, a decline in Coronavirus cases, rising vaccination rates, and the availability of booster shots are allowing for more in-person events this year, especially for smaller organizations. However, to ensure the safety of their employees, some businesses are still opting to hold holiday parties virtually, finding new ways to celebrate the season.
If your company has decided to celebrate virtually this year but you aren’t sure where to begin, don’t fret. In this article, we’re sharing five of our favorite ideas for celebrating the holidays from afar so that your employees feel like they’re part of the action, even if they’re miles away.
Host an online secret Santa exchange
This gift exchange game isn’t just for in-person celebrations anymore. With the use of online platforms like this Secret Santa Generator, you can turn this tradition virtual with ease. The generator allows the admin to enter everyone’s information into the database. Then, with just a few clicks, you can divide up assignments and organize an entirely virtual secret Santa game. You’ll need to be creative when it comes to gift-giving ideas, but it isn’t impossible. Try to think of things that employees can easily share virtually instead of chocolates, coffee mugs, and other tangible gifts. A few ideas include:
- Electronic gift cards
- Tickets to events
- Credit towards an app like Uber Eats
- Time off work
- Donations to charity
Schedule a Zoom meeting for the big reveal and bring everyone together to celebrate.
Hold a virtual decorating contest
During the holidays, many organizations encourage employees to decorate their in-office workspaces. But just because the majority of workers are still remote, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to spread holiday cheer through their decorations. Host a friendly at-home decorating contest and create a space such as a Slack channel where your employees can share photos and videos of their decorated space. Then, everyone can take a collective vote to see who gets the grand prize. Make the prize something you can deliver virtually, such as a digital gift card to a local bookstore or restaurant.
Virtual cocoa break
To honor the holiday season, turn your virtual coffee break into a virtual cocoa break. Hot chocolate is a delicious (and festive) treat and is easy to send to your team no matter where they may be located. If you really want to treat your team, you can send fixings like marshmallows, cookies, chocolate, candy canes and so much more. You can also invite your colleagues to bring any other mix-ins of their own. To amp up the fun, consider making it a contest to determine which remote employee puts together the most creative or decadent cup of cocoa.
Some conversation ideas for your cocoa break:
- Favorite holiday traditions
- Favorite gift ever received or given
- Favorite holiday food
Compile a holiday soundtrack
Studies show we’re actually more productive when we’re listening to music, so why not put together a collaborative holiday soundtrack? Simply create a playlist on a platform such as Spotify and share the link among your team members. Each person can then add their favorite holiday-inspired tunes for everyone to enjoy.
During this busy time of year, it’s easy to forget what the season is all about for many people: giving back to those in need. By donating to charity during your holiday party, you and your team can practice gratitude and generosity and exercise corporate social responsibility.
There are several ways you can volunteer during your virtual party. Here are a few ideas:
- Write Christmas cards to send to senior citizens or soldiers
- Compete in virtual competitions like trivia and remote team building games, and let the winners pick the charity to donate to
- Choose a child or family to play Santa to and shop together online for gifts
- Participate in a charity-themed gift exchange where each participant makes a donation in another participant’s name
- Participate in random acts of kindness. (E.g., encourage your team to go out into their local community and do a good deed – while still physically distancing!)
As the year comes to a close, the holiday season is a wonderful time to thank your employees for all they’ve done and get them excited about the new year. Celebrating the holidays with your remote team helps create and nurture a company culture that lets employees know you are grateful for them – not just this month but all year long. And although you and your colleagues may not be able to gather in the same space, you can still embrace the holiday spirit by implementing these fun, engaging and festive virtual activities.