This year's holiday parties may look very different for teams who were not working remotely before the global pandemic. With social distancing measures in place, and many organizations mandating remote work through to the new year, the annual year-end celebrations and holiday parties will likely take new form.
Cosmic Centaurs put together a few ideas for virtual company holiday parties. From activities to ice breakers, these ideas will drive engagement, collaboration, and keep the festive spirit and cheer alive this holiday season.
1. Secret Santa
This age-old tradition is super easy to replicate for virtual teams, especially if everyone lives within the same country or somewhere with access to delivery services. First, collect the names of everyone who is interested in taking part. Next, set a budget, determine a theme (E.g. DIY-gifts only), and collect "wishlists" if you prefer to gift people what they want. Once these are in place, use tools like Draw Names or Elfster to pair everyone up and manage wishlists.
You'll need to have a date scheduled for a virtual get together and ensure all presents are in before this session. If you're worried about the 'return' label address, we have a solution for you: simply use the name and address of the organizer to avoid spoiling the surprise.
Once everyone has their present, open gifts together on zoom and take a guess at who gifted what. You can make this a game and give people points to everyone who guesses correctly. We also highly recommend ugly sweaters, holiday treats and pets to be involved in all of this.
2. Advent Ice Breakers
Trust us, we know the zoom fatigue can be real. So whether you want to kick-start your virtual holiday party off on the right foot, or you want to try a new ice breaker in your daily standups, use our 10-day advent calendar with ideas of ice breaker questions and conversation starters:
Download the Cosmic Centaurs Advent Holiday Ice Breakers here. For individuals who do not celebrate Christmas or follow the Gregorian Calendar New Year, ask them to think of responses within the context of their cultural or religious holidays.
3. Holiday Virtual Experiences
Rather than the typical mix 'n' mingle holiday party, get the team engaged in a virtual experience related to the holidays. Think of new creative ways to engage the team like hosting a competitive Gingerbread Wars session (decoration and kits sent in advance). For the creatives and botanists, a wreath-making course may be more relevant and for those who have been craving eggnog, try a holiday cocktail mixology class. There are a ton of options out there depending on the size, language, and preferences of your team.
4. Co-create Virtual Scrapbooks
At Cosmic Centaurs, we talk a lot about collaboration. One fun way your team can collaborate and reflect on the year is to co-create a virtual scrapbook together. We suggest allocating a page to each person, who should collect photos from the past year with quotes, major milestones, and cherished memories. You can also get a few people to create pages for another colleague to see what their close friends and co-workers capture about them. Canva, Memories.net, or even Mural or Miro are a great way to do this. If you want to add a real-time element, consider inviting a virtual photo booth partner such as Misgif or Outsnapped.
Once everyone has finalized their page, set a zoom session for everyone to present their page and share a few works about they included and why. Organizations with the budget can also print and distribute these to every member of the team as a small holiday present, or as part of a wider care package. It's also a great resource to share with new joiners to get to know their colleagues.
Here's the Cosmic Centaurs team and their partners celebrating our achievements.
In case you need a few more ideas, check out this article we wrote with 5 ways to socialize with your remote team.