Not being able to have regular, in-person holiday parties can make a time that is supposed to be bright and merry seem dark and sad. But instead of giving in to that, inspire your team, raise morale, and celebrate the holidays with these creative ideas for parties that are different but no less fun!
Meet Up At a Park During The Day
If you have a small team and you all live in the same general area, it’s still possible to celebrate in person! Take a workday off and meet up at your local park for a daytime meet up.
One of the issues with after-hours Zoom parties is how many distractions can come up at home for each attendee in the evening. They might have roommates or partners walking around the house or children who need attention. Turn business hours into their time off and they’ll thank you for it.
Lean into the spirit of a daytime holiday party with party favors that work best in a well-lit environment, like light diffraction glasses, frisbees, or disposable cameras.
So long as everyone is masked up and distancing as much as possible, there’s no reason you can’t meet up outside! And the cheer from seeing friends in person will make the 2020 holidays extra bright.
Send Everyone Matching Decorations
If you have to be online, you can still make it look like you’re together with matching decorations for all of your event attendees. It changes the vibe from one of a virtual work meeting to one of a party. And while decorations are fairly simple to put together, they still make an event that much more fun.
You can get themed decorations, ones with a specific set of colors, or you can even put your company name and logo on them. Whatever you think is appropriate and right for your business is fine so long as it cheers up your team!
There are services out there that will send individual boxes of decorations to every member of your team, or you can put the box together yourself and mail them out on your own. But no matter how you want to deliver them to your people, they’ll still enjoy making at least a corner of their home look festive and fun.
Plan a Group Activity
Plenty of entertainers who did work of all kinds for parties have adjusted to the virtual world just as you adjusted your own business. Hire someone to teach, amaze or amuse your team and you’ll have a holiday celebration they’ll talk about for years.
Magicians, comedians, singers, and other entertainers know how to put on a great show in any medium. Hire a local artist and not only will your team love it, but you’ll also be supporting a performer who could use the gig.
Check with your local brewery, winery, or restaurant. Many of them do tastings or cooking classes, and your employees will enjoy learning something new that they can apply to everyday life both in and after lockdown.
Or you can do something even simpler by creating games for your team! Trivia is a classic, and there are websites that will create a virtual escape room, scavenger hunt, or mini Olympics for you, all of which can be done via webcam.
Virtual Gift Exchange
Everybody enjoys receiving presents. There’s no reason that should go away just because seeing each other in person is a bit more difficult now. Organize a virtual gift exchange and everybody gets a cost-effective way to share in the holiday spirit.
If you want to go with a traditional Secret Santa exchange, there are plenty of websites where your team can sign up and be randomly assigned a person to shop for. Then everyone can buy presents online, have them shipped to the giftee’s house, and open them while on the Zoom call.
Make it into a game by putting limits on the gift. A spending cap is a good standard, but you can also specify that it has to come from a specific website, incorporate a color, or perform a certain function.
It’s also easy to adjust White Elephant (also known as Yankee Swaps or Nasty Christmas) for a virtual call. Instead of sending gifts to different team members, everyone sends them to a single host, and that host is the only one to physically handle and unwrap them under their teammates’ direction until they drop them off at each recipient’s house afterward.
Host a Quirky Awards Ceremony
Make everyone feel like a winner with a quirky awards ceremony online. Give a prize to every member of your team, but here’s the catch: the awards can’t be in any way business-related.
Instead, notice personal things about each employee to make them feel seen, appreciated, and known on a more intimate level. Awards like “Most Likely to be Wearing Sweatpants and a Professional Top” or “Most Creative Zoom Background” are winners.
You can also have fun with the ceremony itself. Style it after the Oscars and acknowledge “Best Costumes and Makeup” instead of “Best Dressed.” Insist that each recipient give their best tearful acceptance speech. So long as your idea makes people feel good and have fun, it’s fair game.
Also, be sure to hand out real prizes! They can be as simple as a PDF certificate that your team members can print out and hang up in their home office, or as complex as personalized awards with their name and category engraved on it. It doesn’t matter what it is, so long as it’s something real that your employees can appreciate afterward as well.
Even in 2020, there are plenty of creative ways to celebrate the holidays with your employees. Using tips like these, even when relegated to physical distancing, your team can still be socially together to celebrate the brightest time of year.
Suggested Tags: holidays, parties, holiday parties, virtual parties, office parties
Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She often covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, real estate, and finance, but also enjoys writing about travel, interiors, and events.