1. What Is A Virtual Holiday Party?
A virtual holiday party is an online celebration of a particular holiday or event of cultural and historic significance. The bigger the organization, the more people you’ll add to the guest list. Virtual parties differ from offline parties in that you’re doing this on a distributed platform for a network of remote employees rather than at a physical location. In other words, you don’t have to rent out a venue to accommodate large numbers.
What really sets the mood is following a theme and having everyone dress up to add to the festivities! You can also play a short reel or a YouTube video that explains more about the occasion. You’ll do everything you would at an actual party, from taking part in virtual holiday games and team-building activities to laughing at a co-worker’s wisecracks and loading your plate up with finger food.
The only difference is that everyone isn’t in the same room when it’s happening. Instead, you’re Facetiming on camera through Zoom, MS Teams, or any other messaging platform!
2. Virtual Holiday Party Ideas 2023
2.1 Let Hooray Teams Sort out Your Holiday Party
Holidays call for team gatherings and celebrations! No need to miss out because the team is remote. Simply organize a virtual team event. Which event should you choose to celebrate a Holiday party? Why not mix it up and get creative like the 'Cooking Pasta at Home' class available on Hooray Teams. Not only do you get to laugh and enjoy yourself while you cook together but celebrate a meal as a team after with a glass of wine!
If that isn’t your team's jam, they have a number of other activities to choose from as well. Hooray Teams also has events like Virtual Cocktail Making Class, “The Office” trivia, Virtual Pottery Class and Virtual Origami Class.
2.2 Have a Friendly Competition
Incorporating friendly competitions into your virtual holiday games adds an extra layer of fun and excitement to the festivities. It transforms a typical online gathering into an interactive and entertaining experience that keeps participants engaged and enthusiastic throughout the event. These competitions create moments of laughter, surprise, and joy as attendees compete, showcase their talents, and celebrate each other's achievements.
Some great virtual holiday party games include;
2.2.1. Pumpkin Carving Competition
Every household celebrating Halloween will have multiple Jack-o-Lanterns. Invite Jack over to your virtual meeting by inviting your employees to participate in your pumpkin carving contest. You can also ask them to send in pics of their carving and hold a public poll and the one with the most votes will be declared a winner.
2.2.2. Paint your Diya
Insistence on green Diwali has brought back the traditional methods of celebrating the festival in many places – by lighting diyas. Encourage your colleagues to support the local potters by buying a plain diya from them, paint it and then send in pictures. As far as virtual holiday party games go, this is a fun, easy one that helps you support your local artisan as well.
2.2.3.Online Mahjong Game
Mahjong is often (wrongly) attributed to being a pair-matching game. But actual Mahjong is very different. It is more like card games like rummy. There are plenty of online sites that allow you to play this game, so you can learn and play on the go. Do keep in mind that only 4 people can play mahjong at one time so you will have to divide up larger groups to be able to play this game.
2.2.4. Uncle Sam Hat Making Competition
In this particular kind of virtual holiday party games, you can ask your employees to make a replication of Uncle Sam’s Hat from scratch and then have a sort of fashion show on a video conferencing call. Take a picture of everyone in their quirky get up and you can even make it a competition and vote for the best iteration of the hat.
2.2.5. Hot Dog Eating Competition
Hot dog eating used to be a staple in offices, but now that most people work in a hybrid or virtual set up it isn’t as easy to do this. But you can move this online and enjoy this activity even now. Encourage your employees to try it out and carry the tradition forward. Additionally to facilitate the competition you can get the hot dogs delivered to your employee's homes.
2.3 Holiday-Themed Celebrations
Themed holiday celebrations are a fantastic virtual holiday party idea that adds both creativity and excitement to your celebration. By choosing a theme such as an Ugly Sweater Night you can create an immersive experience that brings everyone together in a unique and festive way. This encourage everyone to fully embrace the holiday spirit, ensuring that your virtual holiday games become a cherished and fun-filled event that leaves lasting memories.
Some themed night ideas are;
2.3.1. Virtual Dance Party at Midnight
What’s a party without some music and dance? Invite your employees for a couple of hours before midnight on Zoom or any other video conferencing platform, select your music from YouTube or even hire a virtual DJ, and dance on till dawn. People can also have their own BYOB – hey, it's their house, their rules!
2.3.2 Ethnic Wear
What is more traditional about Diwali than dressing up in new traditional clothes? Hold a video conference with your teammates dressed up in ethnic wear representing their culture. You can also add in activities like a mini fashion show, some can speak about how they are celebrating Diwali.
2.3.3. Online Irish Jig
St Patriks Day is a day full of drinking, singing and well dancing. An amazing way to get your employee's spirits high is through the traditional Irish jig. There are two ways you can go about this particular activity. One is by learning through a YouTube tutorial or you can sign up for a virtual class with a professional. This is a fun game, especially since it gets people moving and shaking.
2.3.4. Carol Contests
Carol contests always remind us of Brooklyn 99’s Captain Latvia episode. You can be either the PD or MTA, sing a traditional carol or mix it up and make your own lyrics. If you plan to do this as a team event, make sure you inform the employees well in advance so they have time to prepare.
2.3.5. Halloween-Themed Games
Best time to hold communication-intensive games like murder mysteries and Halloween trivia. This can be held along with the costume contest to make it even more exciting and festive – what can be more fun than a group of people dressed as zombies and vampires, competing in a game against other zombies and vampires?
2.3.6. Play a Chinese New Year Themed Quiz
If you are looking for easy virtual holiday team building activities that you can do to celebrate Chinese New Year is an online word puzzle. There are plenty available for free online or if you want, you can even create one of your own. Quizzes are a great way for your employees to flex their general knowledge and indulge in some healthy competition amongst themselves
2.3.7. Virtual Family Day
Many people prefer spending the New Year with their families. Organize a small "Family Day” on New Year’s Eve, invite your employees’ families over video conferencing, and hold family-inclusive activities and games. You can even go the extra mile and send in goodies in advance – like taking the t-shirt sizes of family members and sending in branded customized tees, and everyone can wear them during the celebration. Also don’t forget to conduct some fun virtual holiday activities with the family members of your team.
2.4 A Virtual Twist on The Classic Holiday Activities
If you are looking for offbeat yet traditional ways to celebrate your holidays we have a list for that as well. These unconventional approaches to timeless holiday traditions add a fresh and exciting dimension to your remote office festivities. Instead of the typical in-office holiday party, consider hosting virtual holiday games where colleagues can test their knowledge and bond over shared interests.
2.4.1 Virtual Trick or Treat
No one is too old for trick or treating. But doing it virtually can be a challenge. But it can be modified and played along with your team members. You can have one person ask another trick question, if they get the answer wrong, they have to treat the other person, and if they get it right, they will get the treat from the questioner. To make it more fun, you can also switch it with a classic game of You Laugh You Lose. The winner gets a treat from the loser.
2.4.2. Ball Drop Livestream
The New Year tradition of every New Yorker – watching the Times Square ball drop. Gather your team around midnight and continue this tradition virtually by watching a live stream of the Ball Drop. If you are located outside the NY time zone, then you can view this YouTube playlist of ball drops.
2.4.3. The Lucky Leprechaun Game
It is important to include leprechauns, the unofficial ambassador of St Patrick's Day into your virtual holiday party games, at least in spirit. Considering this game has nothing to do with leprechauns. Instead what you have is a spin on the game called “never have I ever”. Participants recall fortuitous incidents of the past like -'' I'm a lucky leprechaun because I got an extra pastry with my order.” Keep a track of how many times people raise their hands and find who the luckiest leprechaun is amongst your staff.
2.4.4. Name 50 States
When looking through virtual holiday games this is a simple, fun one. You can ask your employees to state all the fifty states, and the one to do it the fastest wins. You will be surprised at how many people miss out on it. It will be hilarious as most of you must have witnessed in the episode of Friends where Ross struggles to name them.
2.4.5. Virtual Secret Santa
Gift receiving is as rewarding as gift giving. You can have your teammates pick a random number that corresponds to a name on your sheet/document, have secret Santa send presents, and open them all together over a virtual meeting. These gifts can be physical or virtual like gift cards or subscriptions.
2.4.6. Conduct An Origami Class
Origami as an art form has been around for hundreds of years. You can celebrate Chinese New Year by practicing this art form. Get someone to conduct a class or look through a couple of tutorials online together. Once everyone understands how to go about it, you can even conduct a competition and vote for the best origami.
2.5 Holiday Food And Wine Options
Holidays are synonymous with great food and wine. If you are looking for fun holiday team building activities then it is imperative that you include some options around food as well. Even though you are in a remote setting there is a plethora of virtual holiday team building activities out there.
You can have a virtual dinner party or even a class like paint and sip or cocktail making. Afterall, there is nothing better than food to bring people together.
2.5.1. Virtual Thanksgiving Dinner
If you are looking for virtual holiday party ideas, then this one captures the essence of Thanksgiving the best. This holiday is famous for its food. People love making a large spread and hosting friends as well which has given rise to the concept of Friendsgiving. You can host a similar soiree for your employees.
You don’t have to do a traditional meal, you can treat it more like an opportunity to sit together and bond over cozy conversions or catch up over fun conversations. This is a great bonding exercise for your employees. Add to this comfort food like take-out pizza, pasta, or sandwiches and you have a winner.
2.5.2. Happy Hour
A holiday-themed happy hour is something everyone loves to celebrate.It's a time to unwind, connect with colleagues or friends, and revel in the joyous atmosphere that defines the holiday season. As the evening unfolds and the happy hour progresses, introducing a special element like singing carols can elevate the experience and infuse it with even more merriment and warmth.
For more ways to celebrate Christmas virtually, check our article on virtual Secret Santa ideas
2.5.3. Virtual Paint and Prosecco
This is one that you should for sure include in your list of virtual Thanksgiving activities for your employees. The premise is simple, all you need to send is some supplies to your employee's homes like a bottle of prosecco (or any other drink of choice), a small canvas, and some paints, and see the magic happen. Once everyone receives their packages you can hop onto a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Teams and catch up while painting and enjoying a drink.
2.5.4. Pie Cook Along
Pies are a quintessential part of Thanksgiving. You can organize a Thanksgiving Pie cook along for your employees. All you need to do is send out the ingredient list for people to be ready when the time comes. The cook-along can take place on a video conferencing app.
This will also let people who usually shy away from the kitchen, try out something new. You can either get a professional chef to help out or if someone from your organization enjoys cooking, they can take the lead as well.
2.5.5. Virtual Drinking Hour
St Patrick's Day is synonymous with drinking, that's a fun fact. So, when you are looking at virtual holiday party ideas, what you can do is combine the digital and offline world and organize a drinking hour for your employees.
The hour will serve as a great way for your employees to enjoy themselves in a relaxed and open environment. As part of the experience send out miniature bottles to your employees prior so that people can enjoy themselves on the day.
2.5.6. A Tea Party
Tea is not just a beverage; it's an integral part of Chinese culture, with a rich history dating back thousands of years. Legend has it that tea was first discovered in China, making it a cherished and symbolic element of their heritage. To pay homage to this cultural treasure and to foster a sense of connection and appreciation within your team, consider hosting a virtual tea-tasting party.
This unique and educational experience can be a delightful way to explore the world of tea, all while honoring Chinese traditions. To make it special, you can send carefully curated tea packages to your employees in advance, each containing a selection of high-quality teas representing different varieties and flavors. Along with the teas, include detailed information about each type, its origin, and the best brewing practices.
3.1. How to host a virtual party on zoom?
Host a virtual party on Zoom by
- Using the Zoom app or browser version and creating meeting links to share with the attendees.
- Set a theme to make the background more interactive.
- Test out the breakout rooms feature and send guests to individual chat rooms so that they can connect on topics in smaller groups.
- Use the whiteboard and screen sharing features when playing games like Pictionary.
- Take screenshots of the fun to make a collage of candid moments!
- Ask your attendees for post-meeting feedback on their experience at the party!
3.2. What counts as virtual holiday party food?
A mix of sweet and savory options that are filling and popular count as party food. You can always fall back on a large order of burgers or slices of pizza, accompanied by shakes, fries, cupcakes, and popcorn. And water! Always make sure there are sufficient drinks to go around.
3.3. What is the virtual holiday party agenda when everyone is remote?
The MO of any virtual holiday party is that everyone is able to experience hilarity and entertainment no matter where they are physically. It is important to keep it inclusive and regular so that everyone has a break from the monotony of routine. It’s a good reason to stay in touch with people you rarely get to interact with when work doesn’t intersect. The more involved remote workers feel, the better engaged they are at work. After all, happy people are productive employees and lead more fulfilling lives
3.4. How do you make a virtual Christmas party fun?
There are multiple ways you can make a Christmas party fun. Start with some icebreaker games so that people do not feel awkward and then move on to activities like a mixology class to ensure maximum participation from everyone. This is how you can host fun virtual holiday activities.
3.5. How to start planning a virtual holiday party?
To host a successful virtual party, follow these steps:
- Finalize the Number of Participants: Coordinate with everyone to find a suitable time that works for all attendees. This will help you plan for food and beverages, and anticipate potential early departures.
- Set Ground Rules: Establish guidelines for camera usage, muting, and etiquette to ensure a smooth and enjoyable party experience. Consider using platforms with breakout rooms to reduce noise and chaos.
- Block the Calendar: Use scheduling apps like Calendly to create the event and send RSVPs promptly. High-priority email alerts can increase response rates.
- Prepare and Send Invites: Design invitations with the help of graphic designers or templates from platforms like GreetingsIsland and Canva. Include the event time and meeting link. Encourage participation from team members to create a sense of involvement. Do not forget to plan some virtual holiday games
- Sponsor Food and Beverages: Budget food and drinks based on the headcount. Consider delivery times, especially for international participants. Use polls to decide snack options or allocate an expense account per employee for party hampers or snacks. Alternatively, establish a budget for individuals to purchase their preferred food items from a curated list, including crisps, microwaveable popcorn, cupcakes, fruit bars, punch, hot dogs, mini quiches, and sandwiches.