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5 Virtual Holiday Party Ideas to Engage Your Whole Team

A virtual holiday party presents an opportunity to make lasting memories for teams that are fully remote, hybrid or simply unable to get together for an in-person party. If you want to engage your whole team with something fun and exciting, try the virtual holiday party ideas below.

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Why host a virtual holiday party?

Traditionally, companies have hosted holiday parties to show gratitude to their employees for their work throughout the year while simultaneously promoting team bonding. However, in-person parties aren’t always possible. Today, around 16% of American companies are fully remote, while an additional 60% of companies operate with a hybrid model, meaning that workers spend some of their time in the office and some time working remotely.

For many of these companies, an in-person holiday party would be challenging or outright impossible to coordinate, but you can still reap many of the benefits of these traditional celebrations by hosting a virtual holiday party. Examples of potential benefits from an online holiday celebration include:

  • Show your employees that you appreciate all their hard work and effort
  • Potentially increase employee loyalty and reduce your company’s turnover rate
  • Promote social bonding through a team-building event that doesn’t feel like one
  • Possibly reduce employee stress and improve morale
  • Reflect on the last year and inform your whole company of the milestones reached or goals accomplished

Planning a virtual holiday party might sound challenging if you haven’t done it before, but it’s simpler than you may think. In truth, virtual party planning can be easier than in-person party planning. Determining your theme and schedule is the hardest part, but you can start planning your company’s celebration with the five fun virtual holiday party ideas below.

1. Play holiday coworker feud

This is one of the more popular virtual holiday party games that you can play during your online celebration. You can use digital services to create a one-of-a-kind game for your team. The game is played in a similar format to the classic game show “Family Feud” where teams are pitted against each other in a fun (and often funny) question-and-answer session.

Here are a few tips for planning a holiday coworker feud event:

  • Put together special holiday prizes for the team that wins the competition
  • Create the teams ahead of time to help keep the event more organized and promote socialization between coworkers who may not often interact
  • Communicate with your event manager before the party to help things run as smoothly as possible

2. Host a virtual white elephant sale

A traditional white elephant sale is when everyone brings a wrapped gift for others to bid on. This game is often used to fund family reunions or raise money for charities, but you can play your own version of this game online during your virtual holiday party.

One way to do this is to have everyone purchase a small virtual gift, like a gift card or an experience that costs $20 or less. Encourage everyone to be creative with what they choose. Your company can provide a few more expensive gifts and a couple of extra smaller gifts to make things even more exciting.

Before the bidding begins, assign everyone one, two or three virtual gifts at random depending on how many items your company is providing. Make sure there are a few extra gifts left over. Your guests can use their current gifts (which they have no idea what they are) to bid on the additional gifts based on whether they think they’re better. Once they’ve bid away their current gifts, others can have a chance to bid on those, too! This continues until there are no gifts left.

This game is entertaining because everyone gets something, but nobody is sure if they’re bidding on something worthwhile. They could be trading a $5 Amazon gift card for a $100 one, or vice versa. You never know!

3. Host a virtual rainbow color party

If you’ve been on social media lately, you may have come across the trending idea of rainbow color parties. For these parties, everyone gets a color. This might be chosen by the employee or assigned at random. Then, everything they wear, eat or gift is supposed to be that color.

For example, you may have a small virtual team of 10 people. Respectively, these people could be assigned red, blue, purple, green, orange, yellow, black, white, teal and lavender. The person assigned green could wear a green elf hat and matching sweater. The food they eat during the party might be stuffed jalapeno poppers and spinach dip with vegetable-based tortilla chips, all served with ginger ale.

For your virtual rainbow color party, you could even get creative with backgrounds on your meeting platform. The person assigned black as their party color might choose a starry night background, while the person with blue might choose a tropical ocean view.

4. Get your team engaged with remote and hybrid team games

Consider running remote and hybrid team-building games as party activities during your virtual holiday event. These could be quizzes, two truths and a lie or even a virtual scavenger hunt. No matter what kind of games you choose to run, keep track of points and offer a prize to whoever gets the most.

To get the most out of your game:

  • Get everyone’s input: A week or two before your event is scheduled, let your team know that games will take place and get their opinions. By involving your team in the choice of games, you’ll help everyone feel personally involved.
  • Make sure everyone participates: Provide gentle reminders for everyone to join in. It’s much more fun when everyone participates!
  • Avoid sensitive questions: If you’re doing a quiz, you’ll want to avoid any questions that could be insensitive or correlate to taboo topics.

5. Share some treats from a distance

If you want to engage your team with your virtual holiday party, combining physical treats and virtual fun is an excellent idea. A week or two before your holiday celebration, create and send out gift packages to your employees that can be enjoyed on the day of your party. For extra fun, you can have everyone wait to open their packages until the day of, so it’s a surprise.

A few ideas for things you can send in your packages include:

  • Company branded swag
  • Gift cards to places everyone can enjoy, regardless of where they live
  • Non-perishable snacks, candies or drinks
  • Fun hats, headbands or glasses that can be worn during the party

The best part? This celebration idea can be combined with any other virtual party idea for double the fun. For example, you could have a rainbow color party and then send everyone a gift package that correlates with their color.

Working remotely doesn’t mean that you have to do without workplace celebrations. Your company and employees can still reap the many benefits of online holiday celebrations from the comforts of their own homes. The virtual holiday party ideas above can help engage your team, show your appreciation and let everyone have fun.

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