For many of us, the office Christmas party is an annual highlight. It’s a chance to unwind, celebrate with your colleagues, and toast the year’s successes – all while trying to avoid acting inappropriately in front of your boss. But with workplaces and venues still impacted by social distancing requirements and capacity restrictions, an increasing number of employers are exploring virtual office party ideas and choosing to host their annual staff holiday party online.
So how exactly do virtual Christmas parties work? Don’t worry if you’ve never hosted an online party before, as we’ve rounded up our best company Christmas party ideas and tips to ensure your end-of-year celebrations outdo the year before. After all, everyone deserves to have a little fun after another challenging year.
Virtual Christmas party tips
1. Although it’s not a meeting, every virtual Christmas party needs an agenda
We’re all trying to balance family, pets, mealtimes, and whatever else is going on at home, while still remaining available for online events. Setting an agenda or itinerary and sharing it in advance can help guests structure their time so that they can tune into those elements of the event that they’re especially excited by. An agenda or schedule can also keep the event moving and help make the experience feel more natural, with fewer awkward pauses. Create an event page to share your Christmas party’s timetable with your coworkers in advance, so that they know what to expect and what to look forward to. We’re here to guide you on how to make a program for a Christmas party when you find yourself searching for end of year office party ideas.
2. If you have the budget, send a tangible gift to guests in advance
Sending something tangible ahead of time – like Christmas decorations, dessert, or ingredients for do-it-yourself drinks – is a great way to help everyone feel connected and truly part of the experience, even when they’re far apart. You can add custom questions to our event checkout system to help you gather useful guest information, such as an address to send items to, or specific dietary requirements if you’re planning to send something edible.
3. If you’re a large team, use breakout rooms to create more conversation
Breakout rooms are a great virtual office Christmas party idea for large online gatherings. These added spaces make the event feel less overwhelming by providing an opportunity for people to have meaningful discussions and connect with each other. A further advantage is that, by rotating through various rooms, guests get a chance to mingle with everyone. Consider creating specially themed breakout rooms – for people to share what they’re up to these holidays, or for activities and games – using our Zoom integration to manage multiple rooms with ease.
4. Encourage a festive dress code
The ritual of getting ready for a party can create further anticipation and excitement for the event itself, and it gives everyone a fun excuse to ditch their activewear and dress up. You could even hold a contest for the best Christmas costume. A great virtual Christmas party idea is to spend some time decorating your background. Set yourself up in a spot with great light, and add some festive decor to set the scene so the event feels more like a fun Christmas experience, rather than the usual work set-up.
5. Your virtual office Christmas party ideas don’t have to be perfect
You’ve probably had a lot of unexpected and atypical moments this year as a result of COVID-19, so it’s likely your end-of-year party is going to be a little different than past events – especially if you’re hosting your first-ever virtual Christmas party. It’s quite natural if there’s background noise from family, roommates or pets, and it’s okay if kids keep jumping into the frame. Embrace these things – they’re everyone’s reality. If you are worried people might forget to attend because it’s a virtual event, our online event platform automatically sets up three reminder emails that go out 48 hours, two hours, and ten minutes before an event. Each reminder email includes instructions on how to access the virtual event, and you can also customise the copy, timing, sender name, and subject line.
Virtual office Christmas party ideas
1. Play some virtual Christmas party games
Playing games creates an extra level of interactivity and connection for your attendees. There are some great games that work for virtual events – from ‘name that song’ to Pictionary or Bingo – and adding a game to the event can be a great way to create some joy and silliness. Some exciting virtual office party ideas from our creators include a Christmas-themed digital escape room and a trivia night to test your teams’ festive knowledge.
2. Try out virtual Secret Santa
Your end-of-year party ideas for the office don’t need to be complicated: Nothing says Christmas like a gift exchange or a round of Secret Santa. When getting your team to sign up for your virtual Christmas party, take advantage of our custom question feature to give attendees the option of whether to participate in giving gifts. You can also gather individual gift wishlists, so participants have a guide when purchasing a gift for their Secret Santa. Don’t forget to set a budget and a date by which the gifts have to be mailed; bear in mind you may need to provide gift-givers with a postage allowance, too. Create a separate breakout room for participants, and step up the fun by getting them to guess who their gift is from before unwrapping it.
3. Shine the spotlight on your team
If your budget is tight and you’re in need of virtual office Christmas party ideas that don’t cost anything to arrange, offer your colleagues the chance to share their talents as performers. Ask around to discover if any of your team are members of a band. Perhaps they can sing or play a musical instrument? If so, you can invite them to create a jam session. Popular office Christmas party ideas from 2020 that you may like to try include having someone perform a magic show, present a stand-up comedy routine, or put on a dance number. You could even host a virtual karaoke session and use our event email feature to ask your prospective attendees for specific song requests ahead of time.
4. Get scavenging
Planning a scavenger hunt is an engaging and active virtual office Christmas party idea – one that is bound to bring out the competitiveness in your guests. Make a list of items people are likely to have in their homes during the festive season (like a tree ornament), plus a few extras that are harder to find (like something that sparkles), and have your guests go hunting. A timer can help keep the game organised. You can award points to the first person to find each item – or double the fun by placing your guests into pairs or teams, so they can work together to find all items.
5. Show off your space
Another simple virtual office holiday party idea is to ask guests to show off their festive outfit for the night, or maybe even their home decorations – and their Christmas tree, if they have one! Being invited to share their colleagues’ spaces will help your team to feel more like they are in the same room together, encouraging them to be more relaxed and engaged with what follows. As they say, the more the merrier, so make sure that your guests feel free to introduce their families, pets, and even roommates if they have any.
6. Hold an awards ceremony
The end of the year is the perfect time to look back and properly acknowledge your colleagues and their wins with something special. Wind up your virtual Christmas party with a lighthearted awards ceremony to thank your colleagues for all their hard work and commitment throughout the year. There can be awards for anything from most-caffeinated worker to best-decorated workspace. If you have the budget, think about sending a physical item to match each award, so your team feels truly appreciated.
Ready to create your virtual office Christmas party?
If you’ve got your virtual office Christmas party ideas ready to go, you’ll need an all-in-one virtual event platform to manage your big event. We can help make planning and hosting your virtual Christmas party simpler by connecting you with best-in-class video providers, and sending automatic event reminders to your guests so nobody forgets or misses out. You can then fully focus on hosting a lively and special virtual office Christmas party.
Find out more about how we can transform your Christmas party into an online experience that your colleagues won’t forget.