All we want for Christmas this year is for our office holiday parties to not suck.
If your Christmas wish list this year looks something like this, you’re not alone! COVID19 has wreaked havoc on all aspects of our normal lives this year and Christmas was not spared. But in particular, one Christmas tradition is going to look a lot different this year: the annual office holiday party. We all need some virtual holiday party ideas.
But never fear! Just because it’s going to look different this year doesn’t mean it has to suck. In fact, with the restrictions we’re all working with this year, your 2020 virtual holiday party has the potential to be one of the most unique and memorable ever. We’ve got all of your virtual Christmas party ideas right here! In this guide, with our virtual noses so bright, we’ll help you navigate your party-planning-sleigh tonight! Just pack your bags and get prepared to have one holly, jolly Christmas.
If you’re going to work in person, this guide will still be helpful to those traditional office parties, but we will pay particular attention to Zoom holiday parties.
Christmas Party Theme Ideas
While Christmas parties don’t necessarily need a theme (isn’t “Christmas” theme enough?), it’s 2020 and there are no rules! If you want your holiday party to have a theme, go for it! It may help you have a more concise idea of invitations, decorations, food and music, and it could just be a fun extra element to push your party over the top. Below are some ideas!
- Tropical Christmas – This could be a popular theme if you’re sick of the cold and just want to escape to the beach! Give everyone holiday leis as a favor, decorate with flowers and tiki décor, serve up a tropical drink with a Christmas spin, and you’ll be saying Mele Kalikimaka in no time!
- “Elf” Christmas Party – “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” If you and your coworkers love the movie Elf, try centering your party around this classic. Put on the movie soundtrack for some ambience and see who can make the best sugary treat out of waffles, pop tarts, syrup and candy galore!
- Christmas Around the World – Music and food really help this global party concept come to life! Try playing this playlist to get the worldly vibe going. Serve some global Christmas favorites like Bavarian schnitzel, Jewish latkes, Spanish tamals, and some French bûche de Noëls (Christmas logs).
- Charlie Brown Christmas – While “Charlie Brown Christmas” has become somewhat synonymous with a low budget, so-sad-it’s-loveable affair, that might be perfect for 2020! Put up a scraggly little Christmas tree for decoration, serve up some peanuts (get it?) and pop in the movie! You can get the full movie on Youtube here.
- Making the Spirits Bright – Who doesn’t love a boozy Holiday? Have a signature Christmas cocktail like these here, play games that revolve around alcohol, and even consider gifting your employees some of their favorite spirits!
Office Party Invitations and Flyers
If you’re the one throwing or hosting the office holiday party this year, please please please do NOT make this like just another Zoom meeting we all have to suffer through. Your employees may be worried about that, so it’s best to head off that misconception early. Set the stage for your awesome virtual holiday party in the invitation!
The most important things to note on your invitation: when and where the party is happening. If it’s in the office breakroom, that’s easy enough. But if you’re throwing a virtual party, be sure to include what virtual conference service you’re using and how to access it. Be mindful of your employees’ time! People will feel more like they can relax and let loose if you schedule the party for after work hours on a Friday afternoon. Ask around to find out what works best for your coworkers!
When you’re ready to make your invitation, Paperless Post has some lovely virtual holiday party initiation templates here!
Holiday Party Decorations
If you’re doing your party in person, you definitely want your decorations to be inexpensive and easy! Think streamers, balloons, and plastic tablecloths that you can get from your local party supply store. If you have a theme and/or color scheme for your party, that makes choosing the decorations that much easier! Hand-cut paper snowflakes are cheap and can make any space look charming and festive but cutting them could be time-consuming. Amazon actually has some really cute snowflake decorations for a more hassle-free approach.
If your party is on Zoom, then go virtual for your decorations! Changing your virtual background is super easy and everyone can do it. Check out these awesome Zoom Christmas background ideas. You could even have a competition for who can come up with the most creative background!
Virtual Holiday Party Games and Activities
Let the games begin! There are tons of great options out there for virtual Christmas party games. Fun holiday-themed games are really what can set a Christmas party apart from just a regular office get together. Not only are games good for team building, but they also create a collective sense of fun and shared experiences that will make the party more memorable. So whether your party is in person or over Zoom, we’ve got all kinds of office holiday party games for you to have fun with!
- Take a festive, virtual class together: While this seems more geared towards Zoom parties, you and your coworkers could absolutely still do a virtual class together in person. Think about a virtual cooking class or a cocktail/mocktail making class. There is actually a company called Virtual Cocktail Class that caters to exactly this type of event. And if your party is remote, some companies like Sourced Craft Cocktails will send a kit of ingredients to your party attendees ahead of time so everyone can build the same drink together!
- Gingerbread Houses: Everyone loves gingerbread houses! If your party is in person and you don’t mind a little mess, you can set up an entire gingerbread-house-making-station with gingerbread pieces, candy, frosting, and the works. If your party is remote, you can send everyone the same gingerbread house kit ahead of time and all make it together on the call. Bonus points: give a prize to the most creative gingerbread architect!
- Virtual Caroling: Do you and your team miss the old days of going door to door and singing Christmas songs for neighbors? Why not try out virtual caroling? Pick someone on your team who was unable to make the party, call or Facetime them, and have everyone at the party or in the Zoom call sing a Christmas carol to them! This simple, zero-cost activity is sure to get everyone laughing and in the holiday spirit.
- Do a Holiday Tasting: For those classier Christmas soirées, a group tasting is a fun activity that doubles as sustenance! You can do a tasting of pretty much anything, from wine to barbeque to tea to tequila to cheese. Opt for an unguided experience where everyone just eats casually, or consider doing a more official version through a company that hosts virtual tastings like Open Door Tea or Sommelier Company.
- Yankee Swap/White Elephant/Dirty Santa: Whatever you call this classic holiday party game, it’s always a crowd pleaser! Check out the rules to the basic game here. If you’re holding a virtual holiday party, you can still make this game work! Have each person send their gift to the party host ahead of time. When it’s time for the game, the host will display all of the gifts on their screen. The game can proceed the same way, except that the host will be unwrapping gifts on behalf of party guests. At the end of the party, it will be up to the host to send off each gift to its recipient.
- Get a Virtual Entertainer: This year, many performers and entertainers are finding themselves without their usual audiences, so consider hiring a virtual entertainer for your party! Check out some virtual magicians or comedians who specialize in Zoom party entertainment.
- Wrap Yourself Up Game – Have you ever played the Halloween toilet paper mummy game? Well, this is sort of like that… but more Christmasy! If you’re throwing an in-person party, divide into teams of 3-6 people and have each team pick someone to be the “” Set a timer for a few minutes (no more than 5) and give each team a roll of wrapping paper. When the game starts, each team quickly wraps their gift in wrapping paper. When time’s up, the best gift wins! If you’re conducting this game over Zoom, everyone will be on their own for this one! Have each person wrap themselves up as gifts while the timer runs. Have a vote at the end for best self-wrapped present!
- Virtual Karaoke: And finally, a Holiday party favorite: karaoke! If you’re doing an in-person party, you can use a traditional karaoke machine (which you can find in Wal-Mart, Target, or on Amazon) or use a karaoke app like KaraFun! If your party is virtual, you can use a service like Virtual Voicebox to get the party rocking and your guests singing and having a blast.
You see? Your virtual office Christmas party can be just as good — if not better — this year than ever before. You have tons of options are your disposal and plenty of opportunities for some jolly good times. Your 2020 office party does not have to suck. Let’s all deck the (virtual) halls and have a merry time!
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