The workplace holiday party is the perfect way for your team to end the year with feelings of togetherness and seasonal cheer. But just because an IRL gathering might be off the table this year, that doesn't mean you can't throw a virtual holiday party that's (almost!) as good as an in-person party.
What should you do during your Zoom holiday party though? We're virtual team-building experts, and we've given a lot of thought to how to best bring people together virtually. We put together a list of 18 fun and creative holiday party ideas that everyone on your team, whether they're a Santa or a Grinch, will love. Check it out!
Virtual Holiday Party Ideas
Virtual trivia is a guaranteed crowd pleaser for an online event, and virtual holiday parties are no different. When it comes to virtual trivia, we don't think you can do much better than Trivvy, the easiest way to host an awesome virtual trivia event. Trivvy even has a set of handwritten holiday-themed questions that you can use for a festive virtual holiday party your whole team will love. Just head over to the signup page and select "Holiday Spectacular" as your trivia category!
Nothing brings people closer together than the exchange of gifts. Secretly match up people in your company and tell them their gift recipient a few weeks in advance so they have time to mail their gift. During your holiday party, host a big unwrapping event over Zoom, when each Secret Santa can reveal their identity too.
Santa and His Elves Mafia Game
Take the classic party game Mafia and add a holiday twist! Instead of a village grappling with the realities of organized crime, in your game some evil Grinches have invaded the North Pole and are set on sabotaging Christmas. That is, unless Santa and his elves can identify who the Grinches are before it's too late!
The roles we'd recommend for a group size of 12 (you can adjust depending on how many players you actually have): 3 Grinches (the Mafia), 1 Santa Claus (the detective), 1 Mrs. Claus (the doctor), and 7 Elves (civilians)
Name That Holiday Tune
Have the game master put together a list of Christmas classics. Play the songs for everyone over Zoom and have people guess the artist for each song. At last, you'll find out which of your coworkers doesn't know who sings All I Want for Christmas Is You. (It's Christina Aguilera, right? Right??)
Holiday Costume Contest
Time to dig up that old Santa suit from the bottom of your closet! Or maybe the crafty among you will put together a homemade costume with Christmas ornaments dangling off their arms and fake snow falling behind them. If you really want to mix things up, have a couple categories so multiple people can win!
Gingerbread Decorating Contest
Creating gingerbread houses is a great laid-back activity to do while hanging out with your coworkers over Zoom. You can order gingerbread house kits for everyone on your team in advance of the event. Or if you want to up the stakes, have everyone make their own ingredients!
The folks over at The Spruce Crafts have put together a great list of printable Christmas bingo cards available here. Or check out the offerings over at everyone's favorite DIY-bingo site, Bingo Card Creator. Pick your favorite one, have everyone print out a copy, and start bingo-ing!
Holiday Show and Tell
We might all love the holidays, but the holidays also mean something different to each of us. Host a holiday party where people can share stories about what the holidays mean to them. It could be a favorite memory from their childhood, or the significance of a certain day in their culture, or something as simple as how much you love the sound of snow crunching under your feet. This is a great way to celebrate the season and learn more about your coworkers.
Festive Cocktail Party
Have your resident mixologists teach the group how to make their favorite holiday themed cocktails. Not sure about which cocktails to make? Get some inspiration from this list of 55 holiday beverages from the Food Network or these drink ideas from the Modern Proper. And let's not forget about the non-drinkers: here are 14 awesome non-alcoholic options too.
Gift Wrapping Contest
Wrapping gifts well is tough. But even though that paper is just gonna be ripped right off, there's nothing like a perfectly wrapped present. A gift-wrapping contest is a great way for the wrapping perfectionists among you to show off their skills to the rest of the company.
You could have everyone pick a similar size/shape item to wrap, but we think this one is more fun when you allow people to pick their own item. If Bill from Accounting wants to show off his ability to perfectly wrap a bicycle, the crown is all his!
Christmas Family Feud
The hardest part about this activity is coming up with the Family Feud questions and answers for your game. Fear not -- Gathered Again has us covered! Head over to that post, drop their questions into a Powerpoint presentation for your game ("Name a gift that’s difficult to wrap", anyone?), and on the day of your virtual holiday party, start feuding with your coworkers.
Holiday Scavenger Hunt
Sometimes the best virtual events are the ones that get you up and about, so you're not just sitting in front of your computer for an hour straight. If that's what you're looking for, a holiday scavenger hunt could be the perfect virtual holiday party activity for you. Here's what we'd recommend: have your scavenger hunt host come up with a list of holiday-themed items (think: candy canes, or a Christmas stocking, or a nutcracker, or an item that has both red and green on it). The host will go through their list and yell out each item during your call. Players have to scramble around their apartments or houses to try to find each item. Whoever finds the item first gets a point, and whoever has the best item (is that a human-sized nutcracker??) gets a point too.
Ugly Sweater Contest
Christmas isn't Christmas without at least one person wearing an ugly holiday sweater to a holiday party. Why stop at just one person though? Have your entire team dig up their ugliest holiday sweater and show them off during a Zoom party. Give multiple awards -- best overall sweater, busiest sweater, craziest colors, and so on!
You know how this one works. Come up with a list of holiday-themed words or phrases, and then take turns trying to draw each phrase so your coworkers can guess it. You can play with something as simple as Google Slides (taking advantage of Zoom's "Share Your Screen" functionality), but we'd recommend using a tool like Drawize. It's an awesome tool made for exactly these kinds of games -- and best of all, it's free and easy to use.
Hot Chocolate Party
How far you wanna go with this one is up to you. For a classic hot chocolate party, let your employees expense all the necessary ingredients -- milk, cocoa, marshmallows, maybe even some candy canes for stirring a little peppermint flavor in there. Want something a little easier? Try out the hot chocolate kit that Target was selling last holiday season (hopefully they'll stock it again this year!). Or if you wanna go all out, send your employees something like Idlewild's decadent hot cocoa gift basket.
It's hard to beat singing Christmas Carols together in person. If that's off the table this year, try out the second best thing -- a virtual Christmas Carol singing party. Even over Zoom, singing carols as a group can be a beautiful way to foster that special feeling of holiday togetherness. Not sure which carols to sing? Check out the New York Public Library's list of the top 18 Christmas Carols to give you some ideas. If you ask us though, the best all-time carol is the 12 Days of Christmas, one you should be sure to include in your celebration.
Eggnog Making Competition
Ok, we'll admit it'll be tough to judge different eggnogs side-by-side when you're all just chatting over Zoom, but that doesn't mean you can't all have a blast making everyone's favorite holiday beverage together. Here's how we'd do this one: make sure you announce the event far enough in advance so people can pick a recipe and get their ingredients from the store.
Each participant can pick a recipe (or make up their own!). A couple you could choose from: a classic eggnog, 5 minute blender eggnog, Jamaican eggnog, even vegan eggnog! After everyone's shown off their nog to the group, vote your champion.
Santa's Little Helper Contest
Hopefully people at your have a good number of pets -- and those pets love getting dressed up like little furry Santa Clauses. For this party event, people can dress up their dogs and cats (and lizards, and hamsters, and bunnies, and ...) in the most festive pet holiday costumes they can find. Show them off over Zoom, and even set up some sort of voting system if you want to. If you ask us though, all of these feline elves and cute barking grinches are winners to us.
How do you host a virtual holiday party?
We'd recommend starting out by picking your activity or activities (see the list above!), as well as the technology platform (Zoom, Google Meet, etc.) that you want to use to host your party. As you can see above, some of the activities take some advance planning so you might want to start getting things set up a few weeks in advance. You can also check out our helpful guide about how to host an awesome virtual event.
What do you do at a virtual holiday party?
Anything you want! Our list of virtual holiday party ideas really runs the gamut, so pick whatever you think your team would find the most fun. Better yet, poll your coworkers to see which of the activities above they'd enjoy, and go with the crowd favorite!
How do you make a virtual Christmas party fun?
It's all about that holiday spirit! Planning a successful Christmas party might be stressful, but don't let that distract you from your goal of having fun and bringing people together during the holidays. There are also small little things you can do to spread the holiday cheer, like sending everyone on your team a Santa hat to wear during the party.
The holidays are always a special time and there's nothing like a well-planned virtual holiday party to bring people together. We hope you found this list of virtual holiday party ideas helpful as you plan out a festive get-together for you and your coworkers. Happy holidays and good luck!