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25 Virtual Christmas Party Ideas That Are Fun and Easy

The holidays are already upon us, which makes now a prime time to show further appreciation to your employees. How can you set up a Christmas or holiday party with a virtual workforce to keep everyone safe while showing them appreciation? Here are 25 possibilities you can explore.

By The Pizzatime Team
Dec 9, 2021

The last year or two has presented many unique challenges in personal and work life. For businesses, high turnover, a growing labor movement, and widespread awareness of work/life balance value have led to a nearly unprecedented situation. In addition, thousands of businesses, large and small, have transitioned to partial or total remote work for the safety and security of their employees.

All of this means two things. First, you need to show appreciation to your employees in ways both large and small to keep them engaged and loyal to your business. Second, many of the usual small tokens of appreciation – drive-by thanks, in-office awards, office parties, and the like – are harder to pull off with a remote workforce.

The holidays are already upon us, which makes now a prime time to show further appreciation to your employees. How can you set up a Christmas or holiday party with a virtual workforce to keep everyone safe while showing them appreciation? Here are 25 possibilities you can explore.

Before We Begin

Remember that the holidays are about more than just Christmas. There are dozens of holidays, including Channukah, Kwanzaa, and even just the Winter Solstice. If you have a multicultural team made up of people from different backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, and nationalities, chances are there will be many holidays to celebrate, not just Christmas.

While the framing of this post points toward Christmas parties, you can quickly adapt most or all of these party ideas to include other holidays in addition to, or in place of, Christmas. Don't exclude team members, especially during these times of celebration! Now, on with the party ideas.

1: Holiday Team Bingo

Set up a list of holiday cliches and items for a bingo list. Examples include "considers Die Hard a Christmas movie," "Has knocked over a Christmas tree," and "Likes eggnog" for a few ideas. Then, distribute bingo cards in a virtual meeting/party and see who scores. If that's too much work, you can try a hosted live bingo game.

2: Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Once your office is on a Zoom call, you can start a scavenger hunt. Scale your list from easy to hard, with entries like "a cinnamon stick" and "your winter coat" as simple examples. Alternatively, deliver lists ahead of time and challenge team members to gather as many as possible. For an added challenge, rather than a list, convert items into riddles or clues that need to be solved first.

3: Holiday Trivia Competition

Trivia contests challenge your team's knowledge and can be a fun way to spend half an hour or so. Build a list of trivia questions, from easy (What are the names of Rudolph's fellow reindeer?) to more complex queries (What was Frosty the Snowman's hat made out of?) and see if your team can answer them all. Since time is tight this time of year, there’s also plenty of done-for-you or hosted trivia options out there.

4: Holiday Icebreaker Discussions

Your team may be relatively new or an old and seasoned crew, but either way, icebreaker questions can stimulate discussion and get everyone chatting and telling stories. Consider asking everyone holiday-themed questions, such as "What's your family's strangest holiday tradition" or "What was your favorite Christmas gift as a child?" Go around the virtual room and let everyone tell their stories.

5: Treat Decorating Contest

Have everyone put together a treat, like a cupcake or a gingerbread house, and have them decorate it. Show off these decorations during a virtual meeting, and get everyone to vote on their favorite. To make the event run smoother, give everyone a budget for purchasing their treats and decorations or send them a predetermined decorating kit.

6: Local Celebration Stories

Also known as the "Christmas in my town…" story circle, this icebreaker is best done with a remote team, or a team essentially made up of people from disparate locations. Everyone can tell a story of a local tradition, celebration, or event, either from their hometown or their current location. Just remember that this works best when everyone comes from different places.

7: White Elephant Exchange

Set a small budget (or provide one) and have everyone buy and wrap up a gift, typically a gag gift. Then, exchange these gifts with everyone. You can assign addresses, secret Santa style, or you can have everyone send their contribution to the office, then mail them all back out randomly assigned to someone else. If you want to make it super simple for everyone, our team will choose the gifts for you, host the exchange via zoom, and ship the gifts to each individual afterwards with our virtual white elephant experience.

8: Holiday Movie Night

Zoom calls are a great way to organize a movie night where everyone can watch something together. Pick a holiday movie or a ridiculous off-brand Lifetime movie, and enjoy it or roast it in turn, depending on your office proclivities. As a bonus, you can set this up as a weekly event throughout December.

9: Holiday Movie Riff

Similar to the holiday movie night, except you can intentionally pick a bad movie to roast or riff on. This guide includes a variety of old, bad, or off-kilter holiday movies to consider. If no one wants to be the improv leader in joking about the film, you can also purchase an actual RiffTrax track and watch that instead.

10: Holiday Costume Contest

Schedule this one in advance, and consider giving your team a budget. Give everyone the task of building up a holiday costume, whether it's as simple as an ugly sweater or a free-form "dress up as the holiday," and see what people come up with. Then, have everyone vote on their favorite costumes across different categories, and hand out virtual "awards" like small certificates.

11: Virtual Escape Rooms

One of the most common Zoom-based meeting events is a virtual escape room. Many companies have started developing and providing these rudimentary collaborative video games, including holiday-themed escape rooms with a festive twist. There are plenty to choose from, with new rooms being developed every month, so check out what's out there.

12: Collaborative Creativity

There are many creative pursuits you can set the team to try, from improv music to storytelling to a paint-along project. You can spin all of them with a holiday twist most appropriate to your team. Just remember, if you want your team members to use some crafting materials, either buy them supplies or give them a budget to do so to avoid unnecessary hardship around the holiday season.

13: Pet Costume Contest

This one works best if you have a team that owns pets, as you can imagine. Get everyone to make up costumes for their animals and show them off at the Zoom meeting. Not only does everyone get to chuckle and disgruntled cats and dogs in funny costumes, but it gives everyone a chance to tell stories of their pets and bond over their animal companions.

14: Holiday Snack Tasting

Exciting and unique regional holiday cuisine is some of the best around! Send out gift baskets to everyone with a selection of treats to taste and try on call for the season. You might include traditional items like Danish butter cookies, Italian fig cookies, or fruitcakes. You can also send out hot chocolate mixes and other things to try. Even better, if you have a broadly multicultural staff, have everyone submit an idea for you to include in the gift basket.

15: Jackbox Game Day

The Jackbox developers have a bunch of different game packs that include collaborative and competitive multiplayer games, some of which are holiday-themed or can have holiday-themed topics at the center of discussion. It's easy to set up and run! Plus, only the host needs to own the fun for most of them, and everyone can tune in using a room code.

16: Compile a Holiday Office Newsletter

Give everyone in the office a list of 3-5 questions, prompts, or subjects to write about. For example, "what was your proudest accomplishment this year?", "What is your favorite holiday recipe?" and "What are you most excited about for the coming year?" are all excellent, generic questions. Compile everyone's answers, put together a virtual/PDF newsletter (or even a physical packet) and send a copy to everyone. Schedule time to read through it and, if relevant, discuss it with the group.

17: Holiday Pictionary

Pictionary itself has long been a staple of office parties and gatherings. It seamlessly transitions to a digital space by having everyone pull up something simple like MS Paint or a web-based art program like Canva. Screen sharing is easy on Zoom, and anyone can draw while others guess what they're trying to draw. You can keep it on a theme by requiring everyone's prompt to be something holiday-related.

18: Collaborative Dramatic Reading

Pick a (relatively short) holiday tale, perhaps something classic like How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Nutcracker, or Polar Express, and go around the virtual room having each participant read a part. You can also find a story with details for each team member and act it out, play-style. The important part is keeping the stories on the theme.

19: Virtual Tour of Lights

Almost everywhere in the world has some winter festivities, and most of them involve light-up decorations. Have your team members tour the area, take short videos of the light and decorating displays available locally, and show off those videos to the group. This tour, again, works best for a remote team made up of people in different locations. It doesn't have the same kick if everyone lives in the same city and takes videos of the same displays, after all.

20: Office Charity and Generosity

Two options here. First, set up a charity donation drive, and match the donations your team provides. Make sure everyone can agree on the charity you're supporting! Alternatively, if you don't want to make money part of it, do a more generosity-based outreach event. Have everyone make a holiday card to send to a senior citizen's home or veterans' agency or a gift drive for impoverished families.

21: Advent Calendars

Send out an advent calendar to everyone. For a bonus, get one of those goofy, unlicensed calendars from Amazon and make an event out of opening up the nonsense packed inside. Alternatively, you can make your own to send out and make an event out of opening it. Another option is to set up a philanthropic advent calendar, with daily "prizes" like "everyone gets a bonus," "we donate X to charity," and gift cards for all. Make it fun!

22: Music Identification

Select short clips – usually 2-3 seconds long – of holiday music, and see who can guess the song's name. For added difficulty, throw in curveballs like songs that sample other songs or ask everyone for the song name and the artist performing that specific version. Set the bar according to how knowledgeable about music your team happens to be.

23: Holiday 20 Questions

Have each person pick a holiday-themed item and have everyone else ask questions about it to try to guess what it is. Have the person pick the item to send it directly to the host, so they can't change it mid-way through to avoid a correct guess. Set winning and losing conditions as you desire for your team.

24: Tiny Tree Decorating

You can send out decorations too. Send out tiny wooden trees and ask everyone to decorate theirs, either live on a Zoom call or as preparation for a call where everyone votes for the best. Alternatively, make it out of paper, so everyone can use craft supplies to decorate. Or, use tree-shaped cookies and icing to decorate. If you don't want to use physical supplies, you can use an art program or platform like Canva to do the same thing digitally.

25: A Scheduled Pizza Party

Who doesn't love a good pizza? A pizza party is a great way to get everyone in a great mood. Plus, rather than organizing and collaborating on pizza deliveries for everyone, you can use a simple service like ours to set it up for you. Everyone gets a pizza, everyone gets to hang out, and you can play other games along the way. What's not to love?

Wrapping Up

Which of these holiday-themed ideas did you like best? Which do you think you'll try for your company party this year? Did we miss any? Please let us know in the comments section! We would love to hear from you. 

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