20 Virtual Holiday Party Ideas Worth Exploring

It seems in the past few years, more and more employees are working remotely in virtual venues. You may find you’re managing a widely distributed, perhaps even global, team. So how best to handle the holidays? When traditional, in-person celebrations are no longer feasible, especially if you work remotely, do you have to forgo the festivities altogether? Or do you have local office celebrations only? Thankfully, you can navigate this challenge by hosting a  virtual holiday party. Read on to discover some creative and tasteful virtual holiday event ideas.

Using the latest in virtual event technology, hosting a virtual holiday party means much more than sitting on Zoom and singing holiday songs. There are many entertaining and gamification options to consider, including:

1. Holiday Game Shows

Today’s virtual event platforms give you plenty of tools to create fun and engaging games. Consider creating a Holiday Game Show using trivia and riddles with a holiday theme. Leverage your event platform’s engagement tools and app integrations and set attendees up with a virtual button they can use to buzz in with their answers. Make sure prizes are at stake, such as virtual gift cards, so your players will be motivated to join in the fun. 

2. Holiday Dessert Decorating Competition

Host an engaging competition, where team members are asked to create and decorate a dessert and then showcase it for the rest of the group to judge. Evaluate the confections based on how well they are decorated, and consider having some fun categories like best “ugly cookie” or “most unappetizing,” so those who aren’t Food-Network-ready still feel comfortable participating. A twist on this idea is to send employees gingerbread house kits, which are readily available online, and then host a gingerbread house decorating competition.

3. Solve a Holiday Mystery

Not all virtual holiday party ideas have to involve a holiday theme. A mystery party and even an escape room can be hosted virtually with the right platform. You can set up an exciting “who done it?” style mystery and help your team work together to solve the crime. Virtual escape rooms are also fun and creative team-building activities. These can have a winter theme or no theme, and are great options if you either have team members who celebrate different holidays or choose not to celebrate at all. 

4. “Never Have I Ever,” the Holiday Edition

 “Never Have I Ever” is a popular game that invites each player to hold up ten fingers, putting one down when a statement is read that is true about them. The player with the most fingers up at the end of the game is considered the winner. Choose statements that are humorous, and you’ll be sure to get the giggles going. Here are some ideas to use:

  • You have re-gifted an item.
  • You have opened your gifts ahead of time.
  • You have skipped holiday celebrations to go on vacation.
  • You “called in sick” for family celebrations when you weren’t sick.
  • You decorated before Thanksgiving.
  • You left your decorations up till next holiday

Get creative with your list when thinking about virtual holiday party ideas for work. Alternatively, let each player submit a statement in advance. 

5. Gift Exchange, Virtual Style

If you want to do a gift exchange, you can! You just need to plan ahead. Start with a theme, such as snacks or décor, and then use an online “Secret Santa” generator like Giftster or Elfster, which will match participants. Instruct each participant to send their gift to their designated individual by a set date. Then, at the appointed party time, all of the participants open their gifts while the others watch. 

6. Holiday Costume Contest

Why not liven up your virtual holiday event by asking your team to dress up? When you send the virtual holiday party invitations, provide the theme for the dress-up, and then ask your guests to do their best or join a team-building activity as a group costume. You can have a vote at the event for “best dressed” and send a virtual gift card as a prize.

7. Digital Holiday Card Exchange

While getting a paper card in the mail is always fun, you can make this tradition part of your virtual party by instructing your party guests to opt for a virtual card exchange instead. Sites like JibJab let you make entertaining holiday greeting cards, which you can send digitally. You could also let your guests make their own non-animated cards on a free design site, like Canva.

8. Holiday Movie Night (with Commentary)

Okay, we know that no one likes it when someone talks their way through an entire movie, but what about when you do so on purpose? Having a holiday party that centers around a classic holiday film and invites the guests to be film critics, can be quite entertaining. This works best if the movie is “cheesy” or predictable because the movie will naturally invite more comments. Remember, the goal is to have fun together, not to really watch the movie, so you might want to warn your guests to pre-watch if they’ve never seen it before.

9. (Home) Office Decorating Competition

When you have a virtual team, they don’t get to come to the office and see festive décor in  break rooms, building lobbies, or even on their commutes. Encourage your staff to decorate their home offices. Then, for your holiday party, let them give a tour of their office space and vote on the best-decorated office. If you have an attendee without a dedicated office space, instruct them to decorate their desk.

10. Virtual Holiday Happy Hour

If you can plan ahead, ship a single-serving bottle of a few flavorful beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) to each party attendee. Then, sip your drinks while you play virtual party games. To add some fun to this particular idea, consider hosting a virtual mixology class. Prepare some festive recipes that your guests can try. For example, a beverage using lemon-lime Kool-Aid powder and vodka or sparkling water could be named “The Grinch.” Make sure you post the recipes ahead of time so your guests can grab the ingredients and take part in the fun.

11. Improv Holiday Laugh Fest

Laughter can be a good remedy to the chaos of the holidays, so consider weaving it into your holiday party. Host an improv comedy session, similar to Whose Line Is It, Anyway, perhaps with a professional comedian. 

12. The Magic of the Holidays

A little sleight of hand is always fun, so consider hosting a holiday magic show. Encourage your team members to learn a magic trick, then come together to do the tricks live online. You might even incorporate a guessing game, where the attendees try to guess how the trick was performed.

13. Virtual Paint Party

Another option that works well if the team isn’t celebrating the same holiday is a virtual paint party. Purchase kits from a virtual paint party company and have them sent to the team. Then, come together using your event technology to watch a video class while each team member paints. At the end, show your masterpieces on screen. 

14. Virtual White Elephant Gift Exchange

If you want to do a White Elephant gift exchange, you can! Instruct your event attendees to identify something in their homes they no longer want and mail it to the party host. Then, host the gift exchange like you would in person with the option to steal or pass each gift once it’s been opened by the host. The host can mail the “treasures” to each recipient after the party or offer to donate them.

15. Online Ornament Creation

A twist on the virtual paint party is an online ornament creation party. Pick a simple DIY Christmas ornament and purchase and send the kits to your attendees. Everyone can login and create their ornament together via an online video conference call. After the party, your guests will have a keepsake they can hang on their trees or display in their homes.

16. Virtual Cooking Class

You don't have to be in-person to enjoy cooking as a team! Another virtual holiday party idea that can be quite engaging is a holiday cooking class. Pick a holiday-themed dish or dessert, and then host a cooking class. Make sure all of the attendees have the ingredients on hand and access to a kitchen. During the virtual holiday party, lead them through the preparation. At the end, they’ll have something tasty to eat! Make sure your virtual holiday party invitations include the ingredients they will need.

17. Virtual Hot Chocolate Tasting Party

If your team doesn’t want to enjoy alcohol at the party, you can riff on a virtual happy hour theme and make the party about hot chocolate. Find different flavors of hot chocolate and mail them to your party guests ahead of time. Look for unique flavors like Mexican hot chocolate, hazelnut hot chocolate, and raspberry hot chocolate. Try three or four different flavors while you are on-screen, and then see which one is the favorite. You could also send mugs, marshmallows, chocolate spoons, etc.

18. Gratitude Challenge Party

While most people think of the December holidays when they think about holiday parties, many consider Thanksgiving as the season’s kick-off. Rather than spend your entertainment budget on an in-person party or employee gifts, consider hosting a gratitude party. Encourage employees to come to the party with a list of charities. Play virtual holiday party games, such as Bingo or trivia, but instead of a physical prize or virtual gift card, the winnings will be donations to the winner’s favorite local charity.

19. Virtual Holiday Photo Booth

Take advantage of virtual event technology and coordinate a holiday photo booth. See if your team can get dolled up - in dress or in costume - for your virtual holiday party, then ask everyone to pose in the photo booth - in groups, in pairs, individually - you name it! Send props to attendees in advance for use in the photo booths, such as winter hats, Santa beards, etc.  

20. Virtual Holiday Scavenger Hunt

Make a list of holiday items that your guests are likely to have around their homes. Set a time limit, and then choose a winner based on whoever has the most of the designated items at the end of the time limit. Make sure you don’t release the list ahead of time, as you don’t want anyone to have an unfair advantage!

Get Help Planning Your Next Virtual Holiday Party

Ready to learn more about virtual events? 6Connex can help you increase your brand presence, level up your gamification and pump up your team! We are the leading provider of in-person, hybrid and virtual event technology worldwide. Whether you’re in marketing, sales, non-profit organization, HR, recruitment or training, we can help you craft a fully customized plan. Request a demo to get started today!

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