The annual holiday office party is a time-honored tradition of celebrating the season and honoring year-end accomplishments while giving employees an opportunity to cut loose with their colleagues after so much hard work. In 2020, many of us are asking ourselves:, does the office party still exist without the office? The answer is, absolutely, and a legendary celebration is more necessary than ever.
2020 was a year full of surprising cancellations, quarantine woes, major work-life adjustments, and a dramatic shift in the way many of us work. As teams have re-calibrated their daily routines to accommodate the new normal, many employees have struck a newfound balance that deserves celebration.
Whether you plan on modifying your regular party traditions or creating entirely new ones, learning how to celebrate virtually might be easier than you think. Using these virtual celebration ideas might help make this the best holiday event your team has ever had:
Team competitions can turn up the fun at your party and can work beautifully over screens:
Christmas song pictionary
Send out names of Christmas songs to participants beforehand and divide into teams once you’re gathered. Zoom’s whiteboard is the perfect tool for this game. To use it, simply click the share screen button located in the toolbar, select the whiteboard, and click share. Use the annotation tools and use your mouse to draw as you would for Pictionary.
Create a list of holiday trivia questions using Google as your guide. Ideas for different rounds include traditions around the world, reindeer or 12 days of Christmas naming, and holiday movie characters. Use your virtual meeting platform’s tool for separating into breakout rooms and agree on an honor policy of no googling. Have each team record their answers over a set time period and join back together after each round to take score.
Virtual Christmas movie charades
Distribute names or scenes of holiday themed movies and gather together in teams to try to guess what they are. Team members can take turns acting them out. Ideas include any of the antics of Kevin McAllister, the infamous tongue-stuck-to-the-poll scene from A Christmas Story, or a favorite Clark Griswold moment.
Holiday entertainment to enjoy together
Hunker down with some themed entertainment by creating your own or enjoy a classic favorite:
A couple of weeks before your event, ask your team to submit photos of themselves enjoying holidays from childhood or their younger years. Create a slideshow with the submissions and set the show to some merry holiday tunes. After you’ve enjoyed the show, take turns guessing who the youngsters in the photos are.
Holiday movie viewing
Host a watch party as your virtual holiday celebration using a video chat platform that allows everyone to view the movie at the same time. For added fun you can open up the chat to side conversations and jokes. Some platforms even offer the chance to play games within the chat while you’re watching. Don’t forget the popcorn and snacks.
YouTube is an endless source of videos with lyrical captions of all of your December favorites that you can share over video conference platforms. Start with a communal sing-along to loosen your group up and tee up a brave volunteer beforehand to go first. Encourage folks to bring their own song and set one responsible individual to keep the event moving. Many will need some liquid courage before belting out that Mariah Carey favorite.
Food and beverage
Refreshments are essential to every great holiday party and this year should be no exception:
Team Holiday Dinner
With DoorDash for Work’s Expensed Meals program, you’re able to set budgets that allow employees to order food right to their homes, all within the same time window. Enjoying food together as a team is something that many miss but giving your team a chance to once again enjoy a meal at the same time can revive that joy. In our survey, we found 76% of employees say “eating and socializing with colleagues” is their most missed food-related benefit, showing how much your employees miss enjoying a meal together now that they’re working from home." You can encourage orders with a holiday food theme or allow everyone to choose their own adventure.
Secret Santa Lunch
Provide DoorDash gift cards to your team with the instructions to send someone else on the team a specially chosen lunch. Draw names and send each party-goer the name and street address of one of their team members, and instruct them to send a lunch for delivery at a specified time. Gather virtually at lunchtime to share what meal was gifted and enjoy together.
The holidays are a time for connection and cheer, and hosting a remote team celebration is the perfect opportunity for creating a company culture that employees love and enjoy.