Tis the Season: Holiday Parties in the time of COVID

As we approach the festive holiday season, social distancing, increased teleworking and other safety measures are changing the way we gather and celebrate. How we celebrate may be different but virtual holiday parties and open houses provide fun and innovative ways to make memories during the season. Whether you are looking for a way to toast to the New Year with your remote employees or reconnect with family members who you can’t holiday in person with this year, here are some fun ways to reimagine your holiday celebrations, while keeping social distancing in mind.

Merry Zoom-mas: Whether you have remote employees or just want a way to safely gather your team for some end of year goodwill, a Zoom holiday party is a fun and affordable way to spread some cheer. Schedule it toward the end of the traditional work day as an added treat and plan fun games that your team can compete for. You can even incorporate Ugly Sweater Contests or Team Karaoke in the virtual party. Prizes can include e-gift cards or extra time off - who wouldn’t be excited to win those?

Santa Boss: What’s a holiday party without a visit from some of our favorite characters from the holidays! Members of your leadership team can make surprise appearances dressed as silly characters (a blinking Rudoplh nose will do if no one wants to wear the Santa suit) - they can use the appearance to kick-off an impromptu talent show that is sure to break the ice amongst your team members! Even if you have a small budget, provide lots of fun prizes or raffles for your guests. They can be raffle drawings or contest prizes. Google “Minute to Win It” games for some fun games that can be played in person or via a virtual party. If trivia is your crew’s jam, use the chat feature (and speedy fingers) for some trivia fun. Have attendees send you fun facts about themselves in advance that you can use as trivia questions. This is super fun and makes for a fun teambuilder!

Box It Up: Who doesn’t love to open presents? Have custom gift boxes sent to each of your guests in advance of the party that they can open and enjoy at party time. Whether it is a box of wine and chocolate or some salty snacks, food is a fun way to connect even when not in person.

White Elephant and Secret Gifts, 2020 Style: Everyone loves the Whte Elephant exchange. You can do a drive-up style party for in person guests. In this case, your team sends their wrapped white elephant gift in advance to be set up at the drive-through event. Add some mocktails and snacks for a classic but socially distanced tradition! If your team is virtual, draw names electronically and send names out in advance. Teammates mail their gift to the person they were assigned to, with unveiling taking place during the party.

Virtual Gingerbread Wars: Send your team boxes of baked cookies in advance and see who is the boss with icing and a few cookie decorating accessories! It may get a little sticky but you can have refreshments and entertainment checked off your party to do list.

Naughty or Nice? Have a little fun with the traditional “Never Have I Ever Game” with this silly icebreaker. You can design a fun game board in Canva and send the link to attendees during the party. Each guest starts out with 10 points (they can hold up all 10 fingers) and the person with the most fingers left standing at the end is the winner! Your naughty list can include admissions such as identifying the regifters of the group, who has pretended to like a present or admitting to having “too much fun” at the last holiday gathering - you can be as silly as you want!

Cheers to the New Year! Holiday gatherings are usually associated with a few adult libations so why not share a clink of the glasses virtually? Have materials such a drinkware and the materials needed to prepare a cocktail or two sent to each guest in advance. Hire a guest bartender to walk your team through the preparation of one or two cocktail recipes to prepare together before toasting to team spirit! You can follow it with a few games and social time with the added bonus of not having to snag anyone’s keys if they overindulged!

What are you planning for your team this holiday season? We would love to hear about them!