Having a holly, jolly Christmas at the office can be challenging while socially distancing. Yet, it’s important to cheer up your remote teams and recognize their achievements after this difficult year.
For a virtual Christmas celebration that’s actually merry and bright, you should plan holiday party activities that let your employees connect and celebrate. At NoHQ, here are some of our best picks for hosting a brilliant virtual holiday party.
What are Virtual Christmas Parties?
Virtual Christmas parties are exactly what they sound like: holiday festivities that take place on video platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, Houseparty or other specialized apps. Often virtual holiday parties involve kits, crafts or gifts being sent to employees’ homes in advance.
Overall, a virtual Christmas celebration is a good alternative for companies that are remote-first or aren’t ready to celebrate in person due to COVID. With the right activities, you can achieve a festive atmosphere that lets employees unwind just as much as an in-person event.
Why Does Your Remote Team Need a Virtual Christmas Party?
It’s important not to skip your holiday office party this year, even if you can’t meet in-person. These festive virtual Christmas events aren’t just for fun – they also bring together teams and help celebrate milestones.
1. Lift employees’ spirits
Overall, COVID has put a damper on employees’ spirits. It’s been a difficult period and you can help boost morale through some party fun. Planning a virtual Christmas celebration can go a long way to helping employees reconnect with their teammates and relax.
2. Show appreciation and give awards
Christmas office parties are also a great opportunity to recognize employees and hand out awards. Even if you don’t choose to give formal virtual awards, you can let employees know you value them by focusing on their needs and giving them treats.
3. Connect in a COVID-safe way
Remote teams can always benefit from connecting and collaborating in new ways. Virtual Christmas games to play on Zoom are a COVID-safe way of getting teams to work together through activities and games.
Criteria for Virtual Christmas Parties
The possibilities are endless for virtual Christmas party ideas for work. When choosing holiday party activities, you should consider ones that:
- Allow for team connection
- Offer chances at prizes
- Are diversity-friendly
- Inspire good cheer
In this way, your Christmas party games aren’t just fun, but also motivate team cooperation and award your employees.
30 Virtual Christmas Party Ideas & Games
We’ve handcrafted this list of virtual Christmas party ideas and games, so that you can plan a wintry-wonderful online event.
Unique virtual Christmas games
- Create a company holiday calendar
Goofy holiday calendars can make the whole office chuckle. Put together your calendar by dividing your employees into 12 teams, one for each month.
Every team will then virtually create and decorate a photo or image for their chosen month using online collaboration platforms like Canva or Miro. Afterwards, you can share the calendar and even upload them to your virtual office space during the upcoming year.
- Solve a Christmas whodunnit
Who doesn’t love a good mystery hunt? You can choose a holiday whodunnit such as Escape the Holiday Party, A Very Merry Mystery or Desert Island Xmas. These virtual Christmas games are super fun and can boost team collaboration to solve the mystery.
- Run a Christmas costume contest
Ugly sweaters are holiday favorites, but there’s so many ways to do a Christmas costume contest. Choose a holiday theme and ask your employees (and/or their pets) to dress up for a contest judged by their peers.
- Make wrapping paper story retellings
Randomly draw a holiday movie, song or story and work with your team to create a retelling – all made from wrapping paper! You can cut out characters or mimic favorite scenes. Anything’s game if it’s made from wrapping paper!
- Watch a Christmas flick together
For a low-key Christmas party, try watching a holiday flick together. You can use a platform like Teleparty so everybody watches at the same time and comments together.
- Write alternative Christmas lyrics
Assign each team a Christmas song and ask them to rewrite the lyrics. This can be open-ended, or you can give them a buzzword such as “office romance” or “Zoom fatigue” to include in their song.
- Kick off a holiday scavenger hunt on Instagram
Create a list of holiday scavenger items that every team must find and take a picture of. For example, if one of your scavenger items is “Santa riding a bike,” the team will have to find a picture of this in their home or recreate the image together.
As they complete items, teams should upload their pics to Instagram with a company hashtag so that everybody can enjoy this virtual Christmas game together.
- Do Christmas craft together
Christmas crafts can be truly relaxing. Send craft kits ahead of time and have the virtual class take place during the party. You might try making origami ornaments, designing your own Santa hat or even decorating virtual Christmas cards. Just be sure to send any needed materials in advance.
- Organize a holiday recipe swap
Instead of the traditional virtual Secret Santa, you can spice it up with a holiday recipe swap. Have every team member create a recipe card with their favorite holiday beverage or dish, and then give each other the recipes. This is an easy, virtual Christmas idea to share your family traditions.
- Give back with Hoppier cards
Hoppier cards are an excellent way to give employees virtual spending dollars. Hoppier lets you set up a credit for every employee using a list of pre-approved vendors – whether you’re gifting coffees from Starbucks or party favors from Amazon.
For a special virtual Christmas party idea, you can even give employees Hoppier cards to give back and spend on their favorite charities.
- Feed a reindeer through a virtual zoo cam
You can never go wrong with cute animals. Have your team feed a reindeer through a virtual zoo camera. Some zoos let you sponsor a toy or a food item for a reindeer, which is a fun way to show your company pride.
- Play holiday Zoom background roulette
Everybody picks out a fun holiday Zoom background. Then, randomly draw a name and send the person your chosen background. The sillier, the better!
- Showcase a company Christmas talent show
Putting on a show can be a nice way to brighten up your virtual Christmas celebration. Set up a talent show where those interested can sign up to sing a song, do a dance or showcase their other talents.
- Go down memory lane with a photo guessing game
Every team member can find an old holiday pic and send it in. As you display the photos, everybody else has to guess who it is!
If your employees don’t want to share their own photos, they can also look up holiday photos from around the world and have people guess where it was taken.
- Paint a holiday scene with an online class
Online paint classes are great for creative teams. Simply send the materials ahead of time and host a virtual class to paint the holiday scene.
- Show and tell about holiday traditions
Another virtual Christmas game is to have every team member prepare a show or tell for their holiday traditions, such as decorations or activities. This is a good way to get to know each other better during the holiday season.
- Enjoy Santa hat yoga
Instead of eating and drinking sugary treats, you can focus on your employees’ mental health. Set up a holiday virtual yoga class – with Santa hats sent ahead of time!
- Recognize employees through a virtual awards ceremony
A virtual awards ceremony is always a hit. Come up with both serious and silly awards so your employees feel valued.
Virtual Christmas games with food & drink
- Battle for the gingerbread house wars
Building gingerbread houses is now a competitive sport. Send gingerbread kits ahead of time and have everybody build theirs live on camera. Vote on your favorites to see who wins the gingerbread wars!
- Enjoy a cocoa or cocktail kit
This is a sweet virtual Christmas game to treat your employees. Gift a cocoa or cocktail kit to each team member and have them prepare it on camera to enjoy during your virtual Christmas party.
- Open up holiday gift boxes
If you want to go all out, you can send holiday gift boxes to your employees to open during your virtual party. These can be packed with goodies and items to cheer everyone up.
- Guess which Christmas scents game
Cinnamon, pine needles, peppermint… deliver each employee a variety of numbered bags with scents inside. Then on screen, everybody can send in their answers to see who can get the most right!
- Decorate sugar cookies
Decorating sugar cookies is delicious and festive. Have a decorating contest to see who can create the most festive sugar cookie.
Classic virtual Christmas games
- Guess how many candy canes or gumdrops
This classic Christmas game works virtually, too. Fill a jar with mini candy canes or gumdrops and hold it to the screen. Whoever’s guess is closest, wins!
- Name that holiday tune
Divide your employees into teams to see who can guess the most holiday tunes. Play only the first 5 seconds, then 10 seconds and 30 seconds. The team who guesses first gets more points!
- Guess Christmas song from emojis
Similar to Name That Holiday Tune, each team will have to “recreate” a holiday song using emojis. Then another team will have to look at the emojis and guess which song it is!
- Chubby elf
Tell a Christmas story to the team, but with your mouth full of marshmallows or gingerbread cookies! Send every employee a snippet of a story and see how long it takes everybody to guess.
- Naughty list
This version of Never Have I Ever involves a list of “naughty” actions. You start with 10 fingers and put one down for every naughty thing you’ve done. Employees can come up with their own naughty actions, or you can write a naughty list and read it out on screen.
- Holiday bingo
Use the Bingo Maker to create your own holiday bingo cards. Depending on your company culture, you can also make a bingo board for sipping your holiday drink.
- Holiday Trivia, Jeopardy or Pictionary with Confetti
Holiday Trivia, Jeopardy and Pictionary are classic virtual Christmas party ideas for work. You can also play these games using pre-made games and boards. Try the Confetti collection, which has some wonderful holiday options.
More Great Virtual Ideas on NoHQ
Planning your next virtual Christmas party is just the start of setting up your remote teams for success. To get even more virtual ideas, head to NoHQ. Here you’ll get best-of-class resources for veteran remote workers, including guides and toolkits.