‘Tis (almost!) the season for decking the halls, baking sugar cookies, and dusting off those decorations to give your home and office a little extra cheer. With the countdown to the holidays officially “on”, many are already getting the (snow)ball rolling with ideas for their annual Holiday Party. Of course, this will look very different for most companies this year, as people continue to work remotely in the wake of the global pandemic.
As with many instances over the course of the past 8 months, now is the time to improvise, adapt, and overcome. While we may not be able to gather round the table in person together, there’s no reason to let COVID-19 be the grinch that stole Christmas! There are plenty of ways to celebrate the holidays with your colleagues from afar.
Here are some of our favourite ideas to add some online holiday joy this 2020 season. From a virtual Whodunit to a socially distanced gingerbread house making competition, there are plenty of ways to ring in the most wonderful time of the year. All you need is a dash of good spirit, a pinch of creativity and a Zoom account.
Who doesn’t love the holiday season? No matter what you may be celebrating, this is a joyous time of year, full of great food, parties, and toys for all the children… until tragedy struck. During the biggest office party at Kringle Toys Inc, the toys that were slated to be donated have all been maliciously destroyed. To avoid a scandal, Kringle Toys is asking all witnesses of this event to help with their investigation.
In this unique twist on your traditional murder mystery, colleagues are split into smaller teams of 8-10 and tasked with interrogating suspects in real-time; cross-examining their alibis before ultimately submitting their best guess for the guilty party and their motive.
Designed and produced with a cast of professional actors, this 2-hour experience offers an entirely unique way to virtually celebrate your office holiday party! Can you figure out who ruined the toys in this Very Merry Mystery?
Want to add a little extra cheer to your Holiday Whodunit? Moniker has partnered with the wonderful Chocolate Soup to offer a one-stop-shop for all your holiday party needs. Put a smile on your employee’s faces leading up to the event with an expertly-curated gift box full of themed goodies! Designed to delight your employees with every unboxing, these are sure to get anticipation for your virtual event growing.
Creativity meets comedy in this seasonal version of our hit virtual game Patent Pending. Over the course of 90 minutes, teams will work together to come up with a whacky, holiday-themed product that is probably best suited for the island of misfit toys.
Using a mix of crowd-sourced prompts and our own festive gems, teams are tasked with putting together a 3 minute pitch within a mad-libs inspired mashup, creating a product that solves a specific target market's problem or need. Will it be a sleigh that runs on the power of - eggnog? Or, perhaps, a self-operating snowball blaster to deal with caroling neighbours? The possibilities are endless. Teams are then pitted against each other in a battle-royale style challenge to ultimately crown the pitch most worthy of securing funding for their product as voted on by their peers.
You truly never know what’s going to come out of a game of Patent Pending, but it’s sure to sleigh!
3. Holiday Scavenger Hunt
Teams will compete head-to-head from their own home to complete a series of exciting challenges. Who has the most decked-out home office space? Whose furry friend makes Santa’s best little helper? Who baked the best looking batch of holiday cookies? Find out with Social Scavenger’s “Hunts from Home” for your virtual office holiday party.
Hunts from Home will have teams working together to develop creative responses through submitting photos, videos and figuring out some fun puzzles and riddles. Games can be completely customized, so adding a holiday theme is as easy as (mince) pie. Better think outside the box… the virtual judges have seen it all and will be critiquing submissions as they come in. Can you best all the rest?!
4. Karaoke Caroling
A wise elf once said: “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” Okay, so maybe wise isn’t the appropriate adjective for someone who runs on candy canes and maple syrup (which, if you add in crème brûlée lattes, is eerily similar to my own diet around the holidays…), but take it from us - adding a little good-spirited karaoke to your virtual office holiday party line up is always a hit.
Virtual karaoke promises to be just as fun and engaging as its in-person counterpart, only with the added bonus of using virtual backgrounds to enhance your activity. Queue up the holiday hits and get ready to rock around the Christmas tree! Participants can be encouraged to dress up and use props to create a truly show-stopping performance. For those who prefer to save their voices for the shower, consider having a judges panel with an array of pre-assigned personalities à la American Idol for some extra entertainment.
In need of a little liquid courage? Consider pairing your karaoke event with a holiday themed drink list, or partner up with a cocktail delivery service like our personal go-to, Bar Cart (or Cocktail Courier for our friends south of the border)! Not only do these make great gifts for the holidays, they’re also the perfect remote alternative to a hosted bar.
5. Holiday Charades
Gather round, thespians! It’s time to show off those pantomiming skills. As classic online as it is off, your group will be divided into two teams of equal players and produce a holiday-themed word or phrase that a member from the opposing team must act out. The secret phrase is revealed to one member of the other team, the “actor”, but kept secret from the remainder of the other team, the “guessers”. The actor then has a limited period of time in which to convey the secret phrase to the guessers by pantomime. This means no speaking, no sounds or lip movement, and no clapping or pointing. Tricky, we know!
The guessers then attempt to guess the word or phrase based on the actor’s performance. They can ask questions, to which the actor may give non-verbal responses, such as nodding in affirmation. If any of the guessers says the correct word or phrase within the time limit, their team wins that round; if the phrase is not guessed when the time limit expires, the team that produced the secret phrase wins the round.
Add On: Remote Kris Kringle
They say the holiday season is all about giving - so why not add some Kris Kringle (our name for the non-denominational version of Secret Santa) to your virtual office holiday party?! A fantastic way to generate excitement and get everyone into the giving spirit, companies like Elfster make it easy to bring this holiday party classic into the remote work space. On the day of your Zoom holiday party, have everyone open their gifts together and try to guess who their Kris Kringle was.
6. Gingerbread Making Competition
Ginger up your virtual office holiday party with a little friendly gingerbread house making competition. An absolute “must” around the holidays, gingerbread house making is equal parts decoration and delicious - offering some laid-back entertainment for an hour or two.
Prior to the event, mail all participants a DIY gingerbread house kit (there are numerous options on Amazon alone!). These will often include the house foundation, a handful of candies, and some icing to get people kick-started in their decorating. Now-a-days, you can also find themed kits like a Hanukkah House or Santa’s Workshop to switch things up a little bit.
On the day-of, get everyone on the video conferencing platform of your choice, press “play” on the holiday tunes, and enjoy as everyone decorates their houses together. When the allotted time is up, narrow down the best of the best and have team members vote on their favourite! Consider having multiple prize categories for added fun (eg. most creative, tallest, most delicious-looking, most festive, etc.). Before wrapping up your event, be sure to take screenshots of everyone with their creations!
Add On: Candy Stipend
Alongside the gingerbread house kits, consider mailing out a small stipend/gift card for picking up some extra goodies. While the premade kits come with all the necessary materials, encouraging participants to add their own candy and icing selections can foster creativity and make for some truly standout finished products.
Whatever flavour you choose this season, putting together a virtual office holiday party is sure to be your one-way ticket onto everyone’s nice list!