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Remote work flexibility is fast becoming the norm. According to Buffer’s annual ‘State of Remote Work 2019 Report,‘ 99% of respondents ‘said they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers.’

This is a staggering number! But, in this day and age, it should come as no surprise. More and more employees value work flexibility and work/life balance over the other employee benefit schemes.

After all, there are a lot of benefits to working from home. You needn’t entertain annoying and time-consuming gossip while you wait for your coffee to brew (hello productivity!) Lunch may involve gourmet spreads made from the comfort of your kitchen. You can set up an office environment conducive to your tastes rather than being tortured by fluorescent lighting bouncing off your nana’s beige cardigan colored cubicle walls. If it’s a lovely day outside, you can even opt to sit out on the patio with your laptop and listen to the birds chirping.

Working from home, however, can also easily be over-glamorized. While all the above can be true, sometimes it can be a real push to get out of your pajamas and even brush your teeth. It can also be a very isolating life where you’re starved of human connection if you’re not careful to intentionally seek it out. Am I painting a delightful picture of a gross, unwashed, anti-social, and sun-deprived hermit?

Let’s not forget to mention the intense practice in self-discipline which many humans seem incapable of. Oh, and the assumption from everyone in your social circle that you don’t have a ‘real’ job and you’re just a full-time Netflix binge-watching moocher living off the smell of an oily rag.

The social perks of an in-person work environment are not something to be shunned! Some days I feel I’d trade in my isolation just to hear Susan complain about the photocopy machine for the umpteenth time. Some. Rare. Days.

If you’re a freelancer, entrepreneur, remote employee, or your company or agency has multiple office locations dotted around the country or the world, you’ll understand that a remote workforce poses many challenges. And probably the most important challenge of them all, what on earth do you do for your annual Christmas party?!

Nobody wants to miss out on the traditional work Christmas party even if they pretend to be a Grinch and vocally express their indignation towards it. It’s a chance to take time out of work to unwind, relax, celebrate the year, mingle, and get to know your fellow work colleagues that little bit more. And of course, dress up in tacky Christmas paraphernalia.

For most remote teams, flying employees to a remote island getaway for a lavish, all-inclusive Christmas Party week is out of the question. While you can keep dreaming by having your carry-on bag packed and ready to go under the desk, we may just have to be a little more realistic and lower our expectations.

As a self-appointed social organizer for my remote working colleagues, I was lacking ideas this year to come up with anything special. So, what does one do? You ask around to find out how other virtual and remote teams are celebrating their Christmas party this year, of course.

What is a Virtual Christmas Party?

A virtual Christmas party is a holiday get-together for remote employees conducted online. There are different kinds of platforms where you can use video calls such as Skype and Zoom.

Online parties allow remote co-workers to gather together, connect, and develop sociability. At the same time, it lets you and other colleagues enjoy unique holiday games, lifestyle, and pleasure.

Why Choose a Virtual Christmas Party?

Even with the pandemic, we still need to be positive in everything we think and do. The Coronavirus cannot stop us from celebrating the upcoming winter celebration. 

We can even beat the drum this Holiday season with our boss and colleagues online. Not only are we safe, but we also get to experience how it feels celebrating holiday seasons online. 

It may take a lot of adjustments, but we will get used to it somehow. What matters most is that we will still celebrate this annual tradition with our remote office mates even if it is online.  

3 Things to Keep in Mind Before Organizing A Virtual Christmas Party

Initially, you needed to decide what kind of team building activities you want to include. 

An unplanned party may make it difficult to entertain and interact with everyone during the event. You can ask your family members and friends for some great ideas, or you can check online. 

After that, you have to get ready for all the things you need. Send out your e-invitations and have a wonderful time. 

Below are additional helpful ideas to make your virtual party successful:

  • You need to designate a virtual location Aside from Zoom and Skype, you can also use Google Hangouts, Houseparty, and FaceTime.
  • The e-invites you want to send can be formal or simple according to your preference You can make the party extra special whether you send your invites through the web or to the physical addresses of your remote coworkers.  
  • Set up a dress code The party will be more fun if everybody will participate in the dress code. It will also serve as their costume in your holiday costume contest.

Christmas Party - Job Search During the Holidays-Time Off Policy

5 Companies That Have Successfully Hosted Virtual Holiday Parties

i) AVON Virtual Party

Blanca Reyes is a Co-leader and Honor Society Representative. She’s also working with AVON for 14 years now. Since she cannot go to homes and venues, she decided to have a virtual party with her members as she demonstrates new AVON products using Zoom. Also, she provided step by step guidelines on how to host a virtual party.

ii) Zapier 

Zapier is an Internet-based automation tool that integrates your choice apps including Slack, Gmail, and more. You can bridge two or more apps to systematize recurring tasks without the need to code or depend on developers to establish the connection.

CEO, Wade Foster hosted a virtual party for his 170 remote employees to get them connected. He said, “It ends up being a big reunion, a bit of a celebration of what we’ve achieved over the last six months, a bit of planning for the next six months and a little bit of just working together in person, which helps build some tight bonds.” 

He added, “I never would’ve thought to do anything like that. But now, it’s become a bit of a routine. About once a month, on Friday afternoon when things get a little slow, we have a dance party to close out the week.”

iii) itGenius Virtual Christmas Party 2017

Even before the pandemic, some companies have been conducting virtual parties like itGenius. Some of the participants are wearing costumes as part of their virtual holiday party ideas. They are Filipinos who celebrated the virtual party with their boss. 

iv) AdIns | Innovation Beyond Two Decades Virtual Party

PT Adicipta Inovasi Teknologi (AdIns). In the midst of this pandemic, AdIns still managed to celebrate its 20th Anniversary and organize its first virtual anniversary party. It is an Indonesian company.

iv) SOS Party

Work-from-home can be so much fun if done the right way. Chandigarh based Netsmartz Technologies partnered with SoS Booster to create phenomenal employee engagement experiences for their team. This video is from one such virtual talent hunt.

Benefits of Working from Home and Celebrating the Holiday Season with Remote Co-Workers 

Working from home has many benefits. You’ll be glad to know that you’re an employee who works from home.

  • Setup your Home Office You don’t have to occupy yourself with nonsense and time-wasting grapevines. Setting up an office environment according to your preference is now possible because you own the space. 
  • The convenience of where you can work Besides, you can also choose where to work that is most convenient for you – in the garden, in your room, or patio. However, working from home should not hinder you from making yourself look and feel good. You may not go out often, but it doesn’t mean you should not clean yourself, brush your teeth, put on some new clothes, or even brush your hair. You need to look presentable to your clients, your colleagues, and your boss. When it’s time for your virtual holiday celebration, you should be lovely and gorgeously handsome for others.
  • Working from home teaches you self-discipline Whether you’re a freelancer, remote employee, a businessman, or a company with headquarters around the region or the world, you’ll recognize that a remote workforce constitutes many challenges. And perhaps the most significant challenge of them all is how on earth are you going to celebrate your first-ever virtual Xmas party? Do you have any virtual holiday ideas in mind?

No one wants to miss out on the fun and excitement of a traditional Christmas party. But the present situation prevents us from doing so. Nevertheless, we can still celebrate this wonderful holiday through a virtual holiday party. 

The important thing is we’ll always be able to celebrate it even if we’re not in the office or somewhere else with our boss and colleagues. We just need to make our brain work and think of virtual holiday ideas to make the online party much more fun.  

If you’re a social organizer for a remote working team, you shouldn’t run out of ideas to develop something special for your colleagues. Even if the remote team is going to celebrate a virtual holiday event, you can still make it fun and memorable.

Office People Celebrating

17 Virtual Holiday Party Ideas That You Can Try in 2020

Who says a virtual Xmas party is boring? Maybe for a Grinch. Fortunately, you’re not. For most of us who work remotely, celebrating a virtual office Christmas party is perhaps something new. 

Put your virtual Christmas party ideas to work, and every remote team around the world will be happy. Virtual Christmas party games can make your online gathering more joyful and meaningful.

Virtual holiday parties help employees who work remotely to socialize with coworkers who are far away. Additionally, it enables companies to reward remote employees for a job well done all year round.  Check out some of the great virtual Xmas party ideas below to make your celebration merrier and brighter.

1. Well-Hosted Virtual Holiday Celebration

It’s great to design some virtual holiday parties, particularly for remote employees. These virtual holiday events happen on a video conference platform. It includes holiday-themed games such as holiday trivia. The objective is to make it the best online holiday party you’ll ever attend. 

Your setting up includes the main host with great virtual work party ideas to introduce the activities. He or she needs to ensure that your staff stays involved. Additionally, a co-host is essential who can come up with some excellent virtual office Christmas party ideas. He or she can help manage the technical features and make sure that it goes flawlessly. 

2. Send Choice Items or Indulgence Boxes to Your Team

One of the nicest virtual office party ideas is sending your remote team some choice items or indulgence boxes before the virtual party. Who wouldn’t want to receive food or even cute little items during the holiday seasons? 

You can send your remote colleagues or employees their Christmas goodies a week before the party. 

Here are some suggestions you might like to give as a delightful holiday goodie box as one of your virtual Xmas party ideas:

  • Cookies, candies, chocolates, and other sweets or snacks.
  • Personalized stationeries.
  • Hot cocoa mix.
  • Holiday Recovery Kits.
  • Personalized mug.
  • Accessories such as headbands, bangles, hats, and sunglasses.
  • Gift cards for web-based registration services.
  • Holiday-themed activities like puzzles, games, and crafts.
  • Holiday Wreath kits you can make together virtually.

Sending your remote employees even with a small gift box makes them feel special and appreciated. As the saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts.”

3. Virtual Holiday Bingo

No doubt that Bingo is one of the favorite games around the world. That being said, it can be included as one of the virtual office Christmas party games that everyone will surely enjoy playing. 

4. Play Holiday-Inspired Team Building Games

People at virtual parties talk and socialize less quickly because there’s no smorgasbord and open bars. But you have the power to alleviate the discomfort or embarrassment with your virtual work party ideas.

Virtual Christmas party games motivate remote employees to collaborate and help team members feel more at ease with each other. At the same time, it builds remote work skills such as critical analysis and communication.

5. Perform Company Holiday Melodies 

Traditionally, Christmas carols are heard over different radio stations after Turkey, I mean Thanksgiving Day. Put a twist to your Christmas carol convention with a touch of uniqueness in the form of Company Carols. 

Before the party, you can tell team members to create their versions of their favorite Christmas carols. Or, you can either assign certain songs to each of them as individuals or groups.

6. Virtual Remote Desk Holiday Decorating

Why not show off your beautifully holiday-designed desk to everyone and see what they have to say? The one who has a gorgeous working space, according to your boss, will get the prize. Come up with your best ideas on decorating simply but amazingly with one of these captivating virtual office holiday party ideas.

7. Cookie Decorating Contest

Who doesn’t love cookies? These goodies are among the most favorite giveaways (aside from candles!) for friends, loved ones, and coworkers. Your colleagues’ food decorating prowess will be tested in this mouth-watering event. One of the most famous events is the Gingerbread Wars. It is also one of the awesome virtual office party ideas you can think of.  

Your teammates need to present a gingerbread cookie during the party. They will decorate it according to their preferences as soon as you give them the signal. You can ask your boss to become the judge of the cookie decorating contest. Whoever wins will have a paid week vacation, if your boss is okay with that. 

8. Christmas Song or Movie-Themed Charade

Charade is another fun game that will leave you and the team laughing throughout the virtual party. You need to act out the title of the song or the movie related to Christmas. Your teammates, in turn, will need to guess it right before the time runs out. 

At the end of the game, the one who will be awarded was the one who has the best acting. This may come as a surprise to the team, but it’s a good twist, isn’t it? 

Office People Celebrating

9. Virtual Holiday Scavenger Hunt

You can host a virtual holiday bash with a scavenger hunt theme. It is one of the cool virtual office holiday party ideas that will create an extraordinary adventure that everyone can play in their own home. Teams will search the house and web for seasonal information. Everyone will love playing this merry, thrilling, and venturesome game.

10. Chubby Elf

It is a game where participants have mouthfuls of marshmallows while trying to speak as much as possible. You can replace marshmallows with other holiday goodies such as cookies, fruit cakes, or candy canes. 

With mouths full, contestants will sing a few Christmas carolings and make other colleagues guess the title. You don’t have to wear an elf costume, but that would be better if you want to. 

11. Guess the Gift

This game will make you make a wild guess. A participant will hold a wrapped present while the other one tries to figure out what’s inside. Don’t be fooled by the look of the wrapper. This is one of those spectacular virtual office party ideas you shouldn’t miss.

12. Send Virtual Office Christmas Party Invites

Since the virtual party will take place using a video call, you have to send possible attendees with a meeting room link like Facebook Messenger. A digital invitation that’s colorful and bright can capture the attention of your remote teammates. You can try using Canva for making e-invites to send to your coworkers.

13. Host a Remote Secret Santa Exchange

This must be perhaps the most exciting game of your virtual event. Everybody, young and old, loves Santa and his presents. In this game, all of you, including your boss, of course, will become the Secret Santa. 

You will have access to the person’s wish list whom you are going to give a present and vice versa. Each will go crazy, guessing who is their Secret Santa. 

14. Enjoy a Holiday Feast 

A party isn’t complete without some tasty morsels to spare. The whole team can showcase their specialties and can even share their recipes if they prefer. They can also send these scrumptious edibles to their teammates a day or two after the virtual party.

15. Have a Virtual Dance Party

What is a party without dancing? Everybody loves dancing, and so do you. Whether you know how to dance or not, it doesn’t matter. Just move to the groove and stomp your feet. What matters is, you’re enjoying what you are doing.

16. Holiday Costume Contest

To make this virtual holiday gathering a one-of-a-kind event, try dressing up in a holiday costume. Pick three people with the best holiday costumes and give them a fun prize. 

17. Two Truths and a Lie

This is a fascinating game if you want to know more about your colleagues and their secrets. Everyone (including your boss to make it more fun) will write down at least 4 facts about themselves.

 However, one of these is inaccurate. All of you will try to guess which one is false. If you think you know your colleagues well (and your boss too), think again.

Presents on Office Desk

11 Remote Christmas Party Ideas Share by Experts and Professionals

1. Angelina Ebeling, Founder & CEO at acework.io

“We will throw a virtual Christmas party with our team. Since we are distributed across many time zones, the best way to include everyone is to make it a “Coffee and Cookie” get together. The typical alcohol-infused holiday party just isn’t practical when it’s 10 am for someone.

Angelina Ebeling sent cookies to everyone – home-baked ones to the team in Europe, and mail-ordered from Milk Bar for our US colleague. In the past, I’ve sent birthday gifts, which goes a long way when you are working on a fully distributed team. Even if it’s just flowers or a cake, it makes the relationship with a global team feel more personal. Since we are a multi-national team with different cultural and religious backgrounds, the focus doesn’t lie too much on Christmas, rather on an end-of-year celebration.”

2. William Taylor, Career Development Manager at Mintresume

“We have several remote employees (part-time and freelancers) and we celebrate Christmas and other events together over the internet. We exchange recipes, virtual gifts, send out bonuses, play games like photo guessing, etc.”

3. Simon Hansen, Founder & Blogger at Best Sports Lounge

“As a digital entrepreneur, I rely heavily on a team of assistants, writers, and video editors that help create quality content. To make them feel motivated and express my gratitude for working well, I make sure to conduct a group call where we wish each other well and share messages. This might be simple and small, but it’s the most sincere way to express your gratitude.”

4. Pratibha Vuppuluri, Chief Blogger at She Started It

“It’s really hard to come up with one given the time difference within the team. However, what we agreed on doing is sharing our Christmas playlist and then compiling it to one file, which is available for everyone to listen to. We particularly encourage everyone to look into the list and make use of it as they do work. Sending/exchanging Holiday GIFs (as creative as possible) over Slack is also encouraged on a specific date. “

5. Chima Mmeje, CEO at Zenith Copy

We broke down the Christmas party into regions, since everyone around the country couldn’t gather at the same spot. My boss would send money for everyone to travel to the city centre closest to them and throw a big party at a venue we all agreed on. A senior-level staff was appointed to organize the party for each region. During the Christmas party, we would live stream each region, so everyone could see what was going on and feel like they belonged, even though they weren’t physically present. “

office Holiday Party-Christmas Party

6. Allison Hott, Content Marketer at OptinMonster

“Our company is entirely remote with employees located all over the world. Because not everyone celebrates the same holidays, we don’t have a company-wide virtual Christmas party. Instead, for those who celebrate Christmas they can take part in our Christmas card exchange. We have an internal company map that lists the addresses of our employees so that those who want to exchange Christmas cards can easily do so.”

7. Raj Vardhman, Co-founder at goremotely.net

Secret Santa is my all-time favourite Christmas celebration idea both for remote and in-house teams. Everyone is assigned one person to buy a present for, and every team member can pick something from Amazon or eBay to send to another colleague. An important thing to note is that you should determine a budget with a team, so everyone gets an “equal” amount of love.”

8. Chuck Chapman, Content Strategy Coordinator at Kevin Eikenberry Group

“We will be celebrating with our remote team members (4) on their webcams, and with a webcam on the table for the rest of us located here in Indiana (8). Homemade cookies are being sent to the remote team members, and we will all be eating together (including the cookies!). We also have planned activities to create a sense of fun and togetherness. ”

9. Sharon Koifman, President of Distantjob

Like in most remote teams, we are people working from different parts of the world and have different cultures. We respect each other religion and beliefs and we try to have a great time together whenever we have a chance. So before the Christmas Holiday, all members of our team are gathering online to play Cards Against Humanity. It’s a fun game that helps us connect and have a great time. This should be a must in each remote company like Distantjob.”

10. Andrew Ehlert & Susan Harris From Rooted Mama Health

“With 12 total employees, we have 8 employees that work remotely in different parts of the world, which made it difficult to plan a traditional Christmas party. So we decided we would have a virtual Christmas party. We decided to have a secret Santa gift exchange while on video chat with each other. This required some planning to execute. We announced the team that we would do a secret Santa gift exchange at the end of November so each team member had enough time to purchase a gift for their assigned recipient as well as ship the package to them. But nobody was allowed to open the package until we were all on a video chat together.

When the time came for the gift exchange we had everyone log online to our video chat and we went around in a circle to open gifts in front of everyone! We loved that we were able to exchange gifts while being remote. Our team loved the chance to have a traditional holiday party even though we are a mostly remote team. We also decided to give our employees the week of Christmas off with the rule that they must report back after Christmas with one fun thing they did over their break.”

11. Yours Truly, Emily Uebergang, SEO Strategist at Digital Darts

“As our digital team has grown, it so happens no one team member works from the same city. We’ve had to bypass the previous year’s idea of meeting up for a banquet in-person meal and Escape Room”. While Emily Uebergang had grand plans to create a scavenger hunt we could all participate in from our home cities and share photos and experiences from, I suddenly realized I was in and over my head (leaving it way too late to organize).

“So this year instead we’re keeping it simple. We’ve opted for a live online chat where we’ll share some stories from the year that’s been, cheers over a drink of choice, and share what we’re looking forward to in the New Year. Work chat will be banned. We’re also holding out for our special bonus gifts in the mail from the boss. He doesn’t know this yet, but when he reads this he will.”

Written By
Emily Uebergang is one of the faces behind the online marketing agency, Digital Darts. Her introverted self loves working full time at home from a small oceanside town in country Australia. She loves to adventure, enjoys lazy Sundays gardening while watching her chickens scratch around and mountain biking (especially when she doesn't get injured!).

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