In-person holiday parties may be a no-go, but your team can still get together virtually thanks to powerful digital software like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Here’s how to can still have a great holiday party over video.
Why are you hosting a remote holiday party? Is it to make employees feel appreciated? Give people a chance to connect? Let people blow off a little steam? All of the above? Whatever it is, make sure you don’t lose sight of why you’re doing a party in the first place. After all, this stuff can start to feel like an obligation when not handled considerately.
Do you have team members in different time zones? Team members taking care of kids or other family? Think about these possibilities and plan accordingly. Maybe you host your party during regular work hours if you want it to be team members only. Or maybe you think of some way to involve kids and significant others if it’s during later hours. If there are pets, why not let everyone introduce their furry family members?
You could do something like a gingerbread building contest together. Send everyone a gingerbread kit ahead of time and do a little on video build off and see who does the best one. And it doesn’t have to be gingerbread. You could do cocktails, a simple meal, holiday cookie decorating, or have a particularly crafty member of your team show everyone how to make something.
Who has the best ugly sweater? Or can make the best costume inspired by a classic holiday movie? Or who has the most festive mask?
If you’re sending things via mail you should get on this soon. Organise a secret Santa gift exchange and open things on video. You could even have a contest where people guess who bought or made what or vote on the most creative offering. Of course, you don’t even have to get that elaborate. You could make cards in MS Paint or Photoshop, share desktops, and skip the mail all together thanks to digital sharing features.
Not everyone needs to be a gamer to play videogames with a team virtually. With games like Jackbox, people who own the game can invite others without a copy to play, and the games are things like Blather ‘Round, where players have to describe a noun without actually using the word and people guess what it is, or Quiplash, where players have to complete a common statement in a funny way. Other fun co-op games include Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, Among Us, or Drawful 2.
By sharing screens, you could all watch a holiday classic together. Or, you could watch the silliest holiday movie you can think of and spend the whole time making jokes about it.
If your office culture is such that you used to host karaoke parties after work, there’s no reason not to continue doing that virtually.
Holiday parties over video require a little more than a party planning committee. Have one or two people in charge of hosting and administering the party over your video software of choice. Keep in mind that if your team is large, you can use things like the channels feature on Teams or breakout rooms on Zoom to break the party into smaller groups. Maybe one group is decorating gingerbread houses while another does karaoke. And be sure to get something special for the party facilitator. Software makes remote gatherings possible in a brand new way, but the people who organise it are still the most important part of any gathering.
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