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The best last-minute holiday celebration ideas and tips for remote-working offices

Posted by Deepshikha Shukla

December 22, 2021    |     5-minute read (870 words)

At any virtual event, the key to engagement is including a physical component, making it interactive and enabling attendees to see one another. Here, we've compiled tips for throwing a memorable virtual holiday celebration that incorporates those three principles of engagement.

Holiday celebration ideas for remote offices

Games and activities can inject energy into your virtual party by introducing interactivity. Here are some simple suggestions to bring the team together:

  1. Icebreakers
Starting with a Christmas-themed trivia game or Icebreaker, such as two truths and one lie, can help you set the mood and increase camaraderie. Another suggestion is the story phrasing game, in which employees are divided into teams, shown a picture and asked to narrate a story about it. Offer prizes to the winners, such as candy or gift cards.

  1. Encourage themed backgrounds
Ask employees to join with a festive background decoration or a virtual backdrop that makes the event feel special. Encourage your remote team to find a holiday-themed image or offer to help them customize their background settings in advance.

  1. Create a virtual escape room experience
Online multiplayer games can create a lively experience that fosters team participation. Create a virtual escape room and allow your employees to choose a game through a multiplayer platform, such as Jackbox, that offers a variety of games your team can play together. Distribute prizes for the winners.

  1. Ask participants to dress up in theme
Encourage everyone to wear traditional Christmas colors, such as red, green, gold and silver to get people into the Christmas mood. Even better if they wear Christmas character outfits (think Santa, elf, reindeer). You can also hold a contest for the best ugly sweaters or another humorous theme. Consider allowing employees to involve their children and dress them up for the event. 

  1. Entertainment
Find performers who can do stand-up comedy, play live music or even do magic from their location. Provide employees with a link to the live show, or ask the performer to join over the video call during the virtual party. You could also invite a group to sing Christmas carols during the party.

  1. Take virtual tours together
Your employees may enjoy a joint virtual tour to a famous location like Paris or a historical place like Machu Picchu. Hold a survey to home in on your employees’ interests to make a decision.

  1. Distribute E-gift cards for dining
Distribute gift cards for restaurant deliveries that everyone can use to order food at their respective locations and enjoy during the party. Beforehand, do a quick check to find out which food delivery options are available in each team member’s area. 

  1. Send a gift either by mail or email, or donate to a charity of the team's choice
Gift baskets are always a lovely option to show appreciation for employees. Bouquets and gift cards are also can’t-miss gift ideas. Or, consider donating money to a charity that the team selects together.

  1. Virtual secret Santa
If your company has employees in different countries, you could assign each employee a secret Santa to whom they send a gift, based on their country. Once everybody has received their presents, unwrap the gifts together at the online party to reveal the surprise inside. If you have more than 50 people in your company, divide them into smaller groups. 

Top tips for organizing a virtual holiday party

A successful virtual event is visually stimulating, entertaining and engaging. “Look at the hobbies and interests of your team for inspiration on what would excite them,” advises meeting planner Deanna Nwosu. Here are some best practices to follow for an engaging holiday party.

  1.  Decide how to host it
Designate a host who can keep track of the party plan and keep everyone engaged, then select a virtual platform to host your event, like Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.

  1. Know what employees want
Send a quick poll to solicit suggestions from employees. This will make everyone feel involved and excited about the virtual holiday party. A good approach is to shortlist a few ideas and circulate them to find which appeals most to employees.

  1. Invite
Send calendar invitations with event details, including the login link. Plan winners' gifts and online activities or games ahead of time.

  1. Schedule it right
To maximize attendance, hold your virtual holiday party during work hours to maximize attendance. That said, be sure to give your team enough time to complete their work the next work day. 

  1. Think global
If your remote teams operate in different time zones, be sure to pick a time that works for everyone. You want to make sure everyone can get involved in the activities.

  1. Create a party agenda 
Map out everything that’s going to happen during the event. This way, everyone will know when to join and what to expect. You can include this in your invitation.

  1. Stay connected during the party
Ensure that your host’s Wi-Fi is strong, that their equipment is working properly and that guests can hear and see them. 

  1. Leverage technology
As stated previously, including visual activities is important to keeping participants engaged in any online event. Use the appropriate technology, such as a virtual whiteboard, laptop, microphone, collaborative tools and the like for an engaging online event.

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