Top virtual holiday party ideas to engage and inspire your remote team

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Matt Francis - Founder at Cloudpresenter
Post by
Matt Francis
Last updated :
February 7, 2024
 | 20 min read

If you have a hybrid or remote first workforce then it can be a challenge bringing everyone together for celebrations. But even with remote teams, humans can still share good feelings and work-related experiences. If you are running a remote team, for instance, an organized collection of virtual holiday party ideas can help you spread love and foster stronger human connections and employer branding without the hassles of hosting physical offline events.

Though the benefits of remote work have been proven in several research studies, millions worldwide still feel lonely when working 100% remotely.

In her Harvard Business review article, one career coach shared her experience through these words:

"As time progressed, I started to feel lonely. I spent too much time scrolling social media because I silently craved connection. And I was slowly but steadily becoming isolated."

Interestingly, when workers in the brick-and-mortar economy throw end-of-year parties and have holiday fun, the feeling of isolation becomes even more accurate for remote workers. You can use these virtual party ideas in this collection to help your employees or team members stay engaged in virtual meetings addition to other social activities they may have during the season.

How virtual holiday parties work

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Virtual holiday parties utilize online platforms and video conferencing tools to bring remote teams together to celebrate and enjoy festivities remotely.

Participants join through video calls, engaging in various activities and games tailored to the holiday theme. These events often involve a virtual exchange of gifts, interactive games, challenges, talent showcases, and shared experiences like cooking classes or movie nights, fostering team bonding and spreading holiday cheer despite physical distance.

Through computer screens, colleagues can connect, participate in activities, share laughter, and celebrate together, creating memorable moments and maintaining a sense of unity and festivity among team members.

Inspiring virtual holiday party ideas for remote teams

1: Virtual secret santa gift exchange

Gifting in a virtual Secret Santa gift exchange involves a remote and anonymous gift-giving tradition where participants, often within a team or a group, randomly select another member's name and then exchange presents without revealing their identities until the actual gift is received.

Typically facilitated through online platforms or tools, participants draw names electronically and then proceed to shop or create personalized gifts for the selected recipient.

The anonymity adds an element of surprise and excitement as individuals endeavor to find thoughtful and meaningful gifts that align with the recipient's preferences or interests. These gifts are shipped directly or exchanged virtually during a designated event, fostering camaraderie and holiday spirit among remote team members despite physical distances.

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2: Virtualized ugly sweater context

Holiday-themed virtualized ugly sweater contests are entertaining events conducted through online platforms, enabling remote teams from various locations to partake in the festive tradition.

Participants don their most eccentric, amusingly adorned sweaters and gather on a video call or submit photos and videos showcasing their attire.

Judges or fellow team members vote via polls, reactions, or designated voting mechanisms to determine the most outrageously decorated or hilariously unique sweater. Some contests might feature categories such as "Most Creative," "Most Festive," or "Most Outlandish," adding extra fun and excitement to the competition.

The virtual format not only allows for showcasing holiday spirit but also encourages camaraderie and shared laughter among colleagues, fostering a sense of unity and celebration across the remote team despite physical distances.

3: Holiday trivia quiz night

Organizing a holiday trivia quiz night online can infuse festive cheer into remote team gatherings. You can start by selecting a reliable hybrid meeting platform conducive to hosting quizzes and ensuring everyone has the link and necessary login details well in advance.

Curate holiday-themed trivia questions encompassing various categories like movies, music, traditions, and historical facts. Utilize interactive tools or websites designed for virtual quizzes to display queries and track scores in real time.

Consider dividing participants into groups of coworkers or allowing individual play, accommodating different preferences. To foster engagement, encourage team collaboration through breakout rooms or chat functions, allowing teammates to strategize and deliberate their answers.

Introduce fun elements like bonus rounds, visual clues, or timed questions to heighten excitement. To wrap up the night, announce winners and consider awarding virtual badges or small digital prizes to boost motivation and participation.

Overall, a well-organized online holiday trivia quiz night can entertain and unite colleagues, fostering a lively and festive team spirit even in a remote setting.

4: Virtual holiday cooking class

An online-based cooking class can be a delightful and engaging activity during virtual holiday parties, bringing remote teams together in a shared culinary experience.

Participants join a live cooking session led by a professional chef or instructor, learning to prepare festive dishes or traditional holiday recipes in real time through a video conferencing platform. This interactive session allows team members to bond over an everyday activity, fostering a sense of camaraderie as they follow along, chop, stir, and cook together from their respective kitchens.

It provides an opportunity to learn new culinary skills or techniques and encourages teamwork, communication, and a shared sense of achievement as everyone simultaneously creates the same dish.

Moreover, once the cooking is done, participants can enjoy the fruits of their labor by savoring the dishes they've prepared, creating a memorable and enjoyable experience that enhances the holiday party and strengthens team connections despite the physical distance.

5: Online karaoke party with holiday songs

Online karaoke parties featuring holiday songs offer a vibrant platform for remote teams to bond and foster camaraderie in a fun and festive setting. Participants converge virtually via video conferencing, taking turns singing their favorite holiday tunes or classics.

The shared experience of belting out songs encourages a sense of togetherness and camaraderie as team members let loose and showcase their personalities in a relaxed environment. This activity transcends geographical barriers, allowing colleagues to connect through music and laughter, irrespective of their physical locations. It promotes team building and helps break the ice and create memorable moments, fostering a sense of unity and shared enjoyment.

Through this entertaining and lighthearted activity, individuals can forge stronger connections, boost morale, and reinforce the importance of being part of a supportive and close-knit remote team.

6: Virtual escape room challenge

Hosting virtual escape room challenges involves creating an online immersive experience where remote teams collaborate to solve puzzles, decipher clues, and accomplish tasks within a themed digital environment. Participants join a video call and access a specially designed virtual platform or website that simulates an escape room scenario.

Working together, team members use their critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills to navigate a series of challenges within a set time limit.

These challenges often require lateral thinking, teamwork, and creative problem-solving to unlock clues, progress through different levels, and ultimately achieve the objective of escaping the virtual room or solving a mystery. The experience promotes teamwork, camaraderie, and a sense of accomplishment as individuals collaborate under pressure, reinforcing bonds and fostering a shared understanding of achievement among remote team members.

7: Holiday party-themed virtual scavenger hunt

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Organizing a holiday-themed virtual scavenger hunt for remote teams involves meticulous planning and creativity to infuse festive spirit into the activity.

Begin by selecting a online meeting platform to gather participants and explain the rules, objectives, and timeframe for the hunt. Create a list of holiday-themed items, such as ornaments, specific decorations, or seasonal objects, tailored to accommodate various team members' surroundings and locations.

Dividing participants into teams or individuals, provide the list and allocate a set time to search their homes or immediate surroundings for the items on the list, using their smartphones or cameras to capture each discovery as proof. Utilize digital platforms or messaging channels for teams to submit their findings or photos within the given timeframe.

Consider incorporating bonus challenges or riddles related to holiday traditions or trivia to enhance engagement. Wrap up the scavenger hunt by reviewing the submissions, awarding points or prizes to the team or individual who successfully finds the most items or completes the challenges, fostering team spirit, collaboration, and holiday cheer among remote colleagues.

8: Remote team holiday movie nights

Movie nights offer an excellent opportunity to engage remote team members during the holidays, fostering a sense of togetherness and shared experiences despite physical distances.

Start by selecting a date and time convenient for all team members, considering various time zones, and choosing a platform that allows synchronized streaming and chat functions for interaction. Curate a list of holiday-themed movies, offering options for diverse tastes and preferences. Encourage team members to vote or suggest films beforehand to ensure inclusivity. Before the movie night, distribute viewing instructions and links for the chosen movie.

During the screening, the chat feature encourages real-time commentary, reactions, and discussions, allowing team members to share thoughts, jokes, and insights about the movie. After the film, set aside time for a casual conversation or reflection on the movie, creating an opportunity for team members to bond over shared experiences, favorite scenes, or personal connections to the film.

Overall, movie nights are a relaxed and enjoyable way to unite remote teams, promoting camaraderie and unity while celebrating the holiday spirit.

9: Online board game night or tournament

Hosting an online board game tournament as part of virtual holiday party ideas offers a fantastic opportunity for remote teams to bond and enjoy a festive and competitive atmosphere.

Begin by selecting high-quality board games catering to different preferences and group sizes, ensuring accessibility for all participants. Try to utilize online gaming platforms or apps that allow multiplayer options and facilitate smooth gameplay.

Schedule the tournament with specific time slots for each game, ensuring adequate breaks between sessions. Divide participants into teams or pairings, allowing them to compete against each other in a bracket-style tournament. To enhance the holiday spirit, incorporate holiday-themed elements into the games, such as festive game boards or themed challenges.

Encourage friendly competition and camaraderie by facilitating communication through chat functions or video calls during the gameplay. Celebrate the winners at the end of each game or the tournament's conclusion, acknowledging achievements and fostering team bonding while creating lasting holiday memories among remote colleagues.

10: Virtual dance party with holiday classics

Dancing during a virtual dance party becomes a dynamic catalyst for remote team building, uniting dispersed colleagues in a lively and interactive setting. Participants converge on a designated video call or virtual platform equipped for synchronized music streaming.

A DJ or curated playlist sets the festive tone with upbeat tunes, prompting everyone to sway and groove from their respective locations. Incorporating themed attire or encouraging holiday costumes further amplifies the celebratory atmosphere. The shared experience of moving to the rhythm fosters camaraderie, bonding, and a sense of collective enjoyment among team members, transcending geographical barriers.

The event can feature interactive components like dance-offs, challenges, or coordinated group routines, creating joyful moments and laughter and ultimately enhancing team connections, making the virtual dance party a memorable and enjoyable team-building endeavor.

11: Holiday-themed charades or pictionary

Holiday-themed charades for remote teams involve an engaging and interactive game where participants use gestures and pantomime to convey holiday-related words, phrases, or actions via a video conferencing platform.

Begin by dividing participants into teams or pairs, ensuring everyone has a clear view of each other on the screen. 

Each team takes turns selecting a holiday-themed word, phrase, or action from a pre-prepared list or generates one spontaneously, keeping it a secret from the other groups. The participant then acts out the chosen word or phrase using gestures, without speaking, while their team members attempt to guess what it is within a set time limit. Utilize features like chat functions or private messaging to maintain secrecy and submit guesses.

The game encourages creativity, communication, and teamwork as participants brainstorm and interpret clues, fostering a lively, fun-filled atmosphere. Points can be awarded for successful guesses, culminating in friendly competition and a festive way to strengthen connections and bring remote teams closer during the holiday season.

12: Virtual cocktail and wine tasting event

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Virtual cocktail and wine-tasting events for virtual holiday parties offer a delightful and interactive experience, bringing together remote teams to explore and savor various beverages from their homes. Participants receive a curated list of cocktail recipes or wine selections in advance, ensuring everyone can access the ingredients or bottles needed.

A designated host or expert guides the event via video conferencing, providing insights into the drinks, sharing mixing techniques, or discussing tasting notes and pairings.

Team members prepare their cocktails or pour their chosen wines, following along with the instructions and guidance provided. Participants discuss flavors, aromas, and personal preferences throughout the session, fostering a convivial and relaxed atmosphere. The event promotes camaraderie, encourages conversation, and allows colleagues to bond over shared interests in mixology or enology, enhancing the festive spirit and camaraderie among remote team members during the holiday celebrations.

13: Remote team award show

Hosting a remote team award show during virtual holiday parties holds significant importance in acknowledging and celebrating team members' accomplishments, efforts, and unique contributions despite physical distance.

This event is a powerful platform where you get a chance to recognize outstanding performances, exceptional teamwork, creativity, dedication, and various talents within the remote workforce.

Honoring individuals or teams with awards tailored to categories like "Most Innovative Idea," "Best Collaborator," "Team Player of the Year," or "Excellence in Leadership," fosters a sense of appreciation and validation for the hard work put in throughout the year. 

Moreover, the award show amplifies morale, boosts motivation, and reinforces a positive company culture, emphasizing recognition and inclusivity even in virtual settings. It creates a moment for the team to come together, applaud achievements, and showcase gratitude, ultimately strengthening connections, employee engagement, and a sense of belonging among remote colleagues during the holiday festivities.

14: Holiday-themed photo booth session

A holiday-themed photo booth session is a fun and interactive activity during virtual celebrations, allowing remote team members to capture festive moments and create lasting memories.

Participants are encouraged to dress in holiday attire, don props, or use virtual backgrounds that resonate with the holiday theme. Utilizing a designated online platform or video conferencing tool with features like filters, frames, or virtual environments, team members join a shared virtual space where they can take photos or screenshots individually or in groups.

To enhance the photo booth experience, organizers can provide a list of suggested poses or props, encouraging creativity and spontaneity. 

Additionally, incorporating themed decorations or holiday-specific digital props enhances the ambiance and encourages participation. The collected photos can be shared within the team or on social platforms, fostering a sense of camaraderie, joy, and connection among remote colleagues despite being physically apart. Make sure you instruct participants on everything they need before the event. And that's one way to create an atmosphere for a good laugh through the holiday party. 

Practical tips for planning a virtual holiday party

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Set clear objectives and theme

Begin by defining the purpose and goals of the virtual holiday party. Determine whether it's primarily for team building, celebrating achievements, fostering camaraderie, or spreading festive cheer.

When your objectives are defined, the next step is to choose a theme that resonates with the holiday season, whether it's a winter wonderland, ugly sweater party, festive cocktail hour, or any other music that suits your team's preferences.

Choose the correct date, time, and platform:

  1. Consider team members' availability and time zones when selecting the date and time for the event to ensure maximum participation.
  2. Select a reliable, user-friendly video conferencing platform that accommodates your party's activities and interactions.
  3. Ensure everyone has access to the necessary links and instructions well in advance.

Plan engaging activities and entertainment

Curate activities that align with the holiday theme and cater to diverse interests. Include interactive games like trivia quizzes, virtual escape rooms, or charades. Additionally, consider incorporating entertainment elements like live performances, cooking classes, karaoke sessions, or talent showcases to keep the event lively and entertaining.

Encourage participation and interaction 

Foster a sense of inclusion and encourage active participation by creating opportunities for everyone to engage. 

Remember to use breakout rooms for smaller group discussions or activities, incorporate polls, quizzes, or challenges, and use chat features for real-time interaction. Encourage team members to dress up, share holiday stories, or showcase their holiday decorations, fostering a sense of togetherness and camaraderie.

Test technology and provide clear instructions: Ensure all necessary technology and tools are tested beforehand to avoid technical glitches during the event.

Provide clear and concise instructions to participants about accessing the virtual party platform, participating in activities, and any specific requirements or preparations needed. Offering a brief tutorial or pre-event orientation can help ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for all attendees.

Following these steps, you can organize a successful virtual holiday party that engages remote team members and creates a memorable and enjoyable celebration.

Conclusion

With the virtual holiday party ideas shared in this post, only your imagination will determine what is possible. One key point from this page is that geographic distance is no longer a barrier to team-building activities that foster strong bonds between employees, their team members, and the companies they are working for.

The best part is that you don't have to spend much money to organize these virtual party events. To get the best results and create an engaging and fulfilling experience for everybody, try to set the ground rules of engagement before commencement.

Most importantly, look for a virtual event platform with exceptionally interactive engagement tools. One good example is Cloudpresenter. Sign up for our 100% free plan, and you'll gain access to great features to make your virtual holiday party memorable.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do remote teams celebrate holidays?

Remote teams celebrate holidays by organising virtual gatherings and events using video conferencing platforms. They engage in various activities such as virtual gift exchanges, holiday-themed games, trivia quizzes, cooking classes, talent showcases, movie nights, and themed dress-up days.

What is a virtual holiday party?

A virtual holiday party is an online celebration organized for remote teams using video conferencing tools or digital platforms to replicate the festive atmosphere and camaraderie of traditional in-person gatherings. These events encompass a variety of engaging activities such as virtual gift exchanges, themed games, trivia quizzes, cooking classes, talent showcases, movie nights, dance parties, or wine-tasting sessions—all tailored to celebrate the holiday season.

How do I host a virtual office holiday party?

To host a successful virtual office holiday party, choose a convenient date, use a user-friendly video conferencing platform, plan engaging activities like games and virtual gift exchanges, and encourage participation with clear instructions and early invitations.

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