No matter what customs you recognize or adhere to, the winter holiday is a time for coming together, celebrating, and having a little fun. And while lots of organizations are operating on a remote or hybrid basis these days, that shouldn’t stop you from hosting the smashing virtual holiday party that your employees deserve.

Do you have a track record for organizing glorious in-person parties, but are unsure how to translate those festivities into a virtual environment? We’ll save you the hassle! Here are a handful of virtual holiday party ideas for executing an exciting virtual holiday party and a few reasons why you should absolutely be throwing one.

9 virtual holiday party ideas for your next team event

The types of activities that you decide to include in your virtual holiday goings-on are only limited by your imagination (or your commitment to scouring the internet for inspiration). And since we already offer the platform on which to host your event, we might as well give you some ideas, too! Here are some of the best activities to include in your virtual holiday event timetable that your employees are sure to enjoy:

1. Holiday karaoke

Microphone with red bow in front blurred christmas lights background

While some may wince at the idea of having to endure Christmas music any more than they already have to, maybe they’ll have a change of heart after a whisky and eggnog. Karaoke is a great activity that’s made easy in a virtual setting without losing any of its heart. Get in the holiday spirit and carol to your favorite holiday song to your heart’s desire.

If you’re unsure which tracks to include, a quick search for “holiday playlist” in your preferred music streaming app should return lots of options.

2. Virtual trivia

Trivia is plain fun on its own, but it also provides an excellent educational opportunity for employees. Reach beyond the bounds of Christmas and organize holiday trivia around various cultural celebrations. Test people’s knowledge of different traditions, folklore, and celebrations. The best part? Trivia is easily translated into a virtual holiday party game.

3. Gingerbread wars

Woman's hands making gingerbread house with Christmas decor in background.

Keep things light (and delicious) by hosting a virtual gingerbread party. Provide employees with gingerbread house supplies and bring everyone together to create their own confectionery crib. If your employees are particularly competitive, spice things up and make it a friendly competition! When people are done with their build, give everyone a chance to showcase their design and hold an anonymous vote to determine a winner.

4. Holiday cocktail mixology class

Mixology classes are always a great choice for the holiday. There are lots of great winter holiday drinks out there, and many of your employees may delight in giving them a taste test.

5. Virtual Secret Santa gift exchange

Female's hands in pullover holding Christmas gift box decorated with evergreen branch on red background.

For a more classic-style Christmas party, consider a virtual Secret Santa gift exchange. Set a spending limit and draw names a few weeks before the virtual party. Once drawn, set a deadline for gift purchases and have everyone ship out their gifts to the recipient by a specified date. When the event rolls around, have everyone open their gifts live.

6. White elephant gift exchange

If Secret Santa isn’t exciting enough, turn it upside down and make it a white elephant gift exchange instead. The idea here is to both entertain and give. Everyone comes prepared with a wrapped gift and participants take turns “stealing” and swapping items with each other. There are multiple versions of this popular holiday game, so there are a few options to choose from depending on what suits you best. For traditional rules, see here.

7. Ugly sweater party

Ugly Christmas sweater with green tinsel and multi-colored ornaments hangs on clothes hanger.

Ugly sweaters are a holiday season staple, so why not make a party of it? And if your team is feeling particularly competitive, make it into a contest! Who can craft (if you’re feeling creative) or show up in the ugliest possible sweater? Award prizes to the winner and any runner-ups, like a gift card, and enjoy the rest of your holiday celebration in your ugly Christmas garb.

8. Holiday movie

If your staff is happy to just chill out, enjoy their coworkers’ company, and get a little nostalgic, a holiday movie is a simple choice that everyone can enjoy.

9. Live food and drink experiences

When all other ideas elude you, or you’re looking to hit it out of the park on the first try, you can’t go wrong with food and drink-based activities. Everyone loves a good happy hour, and no one would complain if “happy hour” became “happy multi-hour”.

Whether you organize these yourself or hire a company that specializes in live culinary experiences, everyone can enjoy a guided class on cooking or baking a delectable holiday treat. The best part? You get to indulge in your creation right away — and maybe have a laugh at some of your coworkers’ humble attempts to produce something edible.

Why you should host a virtual holiday event for your team

Young man sitting in front of laptop looking excited as he attends virtual holiday party from his home with Christmas decor in the background

Why should you host a virtual party for the holidays? It’s simple — because they’re fun! But there are a plethora of other reasons why you should consider putting on a virtual holiday bash, too.

Here are a few of the benefits you might expect from organizing an engaging and lively virtual holiday party — both for your employees and yourself.

Benefits for employees:

  • Encourages comradeship among staff. Positive office camaraderie is crucial, but it can be hard to promote in a virtual environment. What better than a party to bring the holiday cheer — no matter where your team is located?
  • Creates a space for employees to be recognized for their accomplishments. Being responsive to employees’ accomplishments is one of the best ways to encourage them to continue doing a great job. It also communicates that you value their time and effort, and is greatly appreciated by your team. Virtual holiday parties are a great place to highlight some staff wins!
  • Helps to boost morale in the (virtual) workplace. While working from home and attending virtual events is the optimal work arrangement for lots of people, home offices can get drab pretty quickly. Throwing an exciting holiday bash online can help break up your team’s work week, allow them to unwind, and boost their morale well into the new year.
  • Fosters a healthy and professional culture. There are seldom better ways to develop a healthy workplace culture than by engaging in events just like this — even virtually. If you’ve been dragging your feet about implementing more regular virtual events for your team, the holiday season is a great time to start!
  • Provides an excellent opportunity for virtual team building. Commencing in some virtual holiday activities sets a great foundation for team building. The atmosphere that the season offers encourages people to come out of their shells. You can even implement a team-building-focused virtual holiday game into your holiday party schedule. See the next section for some ideas!

Benefits for your organization:

  • Communicates that you value your employees. When employees feel valued, they produce better work — it’s that simple. The holiday season is a great time to take the focus off of work and put your people first.
  • Virtual parties are more cost-effective than in-person events. More often than not, virtual events are more cost-effective. You don’t have to worry about the cost of transportation, venue space, catering — the list goes on. The benefits keep cascading from here, too. And you can still throw an enthralling virtual party.
  • It is more accessible to your staff. Accessibility is top of mind for many people today, and moving everything virtual has been a haven for lots of employees. Hosting a virtual holiday party is the absolute best way to make it more reachable, and a lot of people will thank you for it.
  • Gives you the opportunity to learn about and celebrate different cultural traditions. Our workplaces are diverse and there are so many other traditions and customs to learn about and celebrate. Virtual holiday events provide an incredible opportunity to explore different cultural traditions that people honor at this time of the year.
  • Breaks up the work week and allows everyone to loosen up and have fun. When everything is work, work, work, it can become mundane relatively quickly. Your employees are not robots! And while it may not be feasible to host a blissful bash every week, a virtual holiday party can help break up the routine for your workforce and give them a needed break.

How to create and host a virtual holiday party

Woman's hands typing on laptop with Christmas decor in the background.

After some careful ideation and preparation, it’s time to put it all together and start thinking about how you’re actually going to host your virtual holiday party.

There is a lot to be done here to ensure that your virtual party is fun and engaging and that it’s functional from a technological perspective. The last thing you want in the midst of a white elephant-style gift exchange is for the Wi-Fi to suddenly drop.

Here’s a short guide that can help you get started:

1. Create a schedule (and choose a theme)

Whether from the list of ideas above or of your own volition, you’ll want to put together a list of activities that you plan to host during your party. Creating a schedule is not only great for keeping yourself organized and on track but for informing your attendees about what they can expect when they log on and join the party.

If your theme is simply “the holidays,” that’s great! Keep it classic. But if you’re looking to get a bit more creative, consider some of these party theme ideas to switch things up a bit.

2. Choose a virtual event platform

You need access to robust virtual event software that will take your good holiday party and make it great. A comprehensive toolbelt of features will also help attendees stay connected during the festivities.

3. Encourage people to register and attend

The party won’t be happenin’ if no one shows up — or worse yet, had any idea that they had to register. Registration becomes especially important if you’re planning to provide materials for the event, such as gingerbread kits. So, encourage employees to register as soon as possible to avoid any hiccups.

4. Send out important information in advance

Anything and everything that your staff may need to know about the party — send it out well in advance so they can prepare! Make use of notifications and reminders to keep everyone up to speed.

5. Drink eggnog and harbor holiday cheer

This is the moment you’ve been planning for. Get your party into gear and celebrate the holidays with your employees. There’s enough eggnog to go around! If your party turns out how you planned, then you’ll have lots of staff laughing and enjoying the winter wonderland of an atmosphere that you’ve created.

Make your holiday event fun and engaging for everyone

What’s a virtual holiday party if it isn’t fun? Whatever activities you decide on when building out the perfect holiday hootenanny should be fun and engaging for everyone who wishes to take part.

Here are some tips and tricks on how to win over your employees and encourage them to participate in some holiday-themed virtual team-building festivities:

  1. Ask them what activities they might like to engage in and build your party schedule around those desires.
  2. Don’t force participation in an activity if someone wishes to sit one out.
  3. Be inclusive of holiday traditions beyond Christmas.
  4. Make time for casual conversation via video chats and live chat features.
  5. Gather feedback post-party to help make next year even better!

Webex Events isn’t just an end-to-end solution for large-scale corporate functions, but the perfect partner for in-person, virtual, and hybrid holiday gatherings, too. Our comprehensive platform offers form and function to ensure that you and your employees get the most out of your office parties.

‘Tis the season!