Get your remote team into the spirit of the season with these virtual holiday team building ideas! Avoid last-minute stress by planning ahead. Ideally, summer is the best time to start planning your fall and winter team building activities!
This season, you can mix, mingle, and jingle with your remote team. These 12+ ideas will show you how!
TLDR: in this list, you’ll find:
- Holiday virtual team building ideas for remote teams
- Creative virtual team building activities
- Holiday Zoom call ideas
- Inclusive virtual corporate holiday party ideas
- Fun winter holiday activities for corporate teams
- Virtual holiday party games
1. Enjoy a Virtual European Holiday Together – One of Our Favorite Virtual Holiday Team Building Ideas!
Explore the streets of Lisbon and Dublin – virtually! This engaging experience will allow your team to take a virtual holiday trip together, with expert on-location guides. Plus, compete against your colleagues to make a classic Spanish recipe and test out your European knowledge with trivia. Breakout rooms will allow your team to go deeper and discuss what they’re learning. And, treat boxes filled with specialty European products make this an unforgettable experience.
Learn more and book your virtual European holiday experience here.
2. Organize a Virtual Secret Santa Gift Exchange
Regardless of which winter holiday you celebrate (if any!), a Secret Santa gift exchange is a popular office activity. But, you don’t have to be in the office to enjoy a gift swap!
This year, host a virtual gift exchange. First, assign everyone a name ahead of time and have each person ship their gift to the recipient. Then, have your team open their gifts during a holiday video call. Remember to set a price limit that includes shipping costs – especially for international teams!
To get started, use a free online gift exchange software like Elfster. You can invite your team members, draw names, and everyone can create a wish list.
3. Host a Virtual Gingerbread House Contest – One of Our Favorite Virtual Holiday Team Building Ideas!
In this activity, everyone can get together on a video call to build gingerbread houses together! Take a vote at the end for the most creative gingerbread house, most delicious-looking gingerbread house, and any other prize categories you think would be fun. Award the winner(s) with a special treat, like a small gift card or company swag.
Find easy-to-assemble gingerbread house kits at retailers like Target during the holiday season, or year-round on Amazon. You can even get creative with a gingerbread camper van, dog house, or a luxe Barbie Cookie Dreamhouse.
4. Create a Shared Holiday Playlist
Cue the Mariah Carey and break out the Michael Buble! Creating a holiday playlist is a great way for your remote team to learn a little more about each other. Ask each team member to suggest a favorite holiday or wintertime song, then use Spotify to create a playlist.
Your team members might include a modern pop jam, a nostalgic holiday favorite, or a traditional song from their holiday worship service. To deepen your connection, spend some time in your next team meeting allowing each person to share why they chose their song.
Get some inspiration with Pitchfork’s Spotify playlist featuring the 50 Beat Holiday Songs of All Time.
5. Declare an Unexpected “Snow Day” – One of Our Favorite Virtual Holiday Team Building Ideas!
This isn’t a team-building idea per se. Instead, as a special holiday perk, consider declaring a random “snow day” and giving your team an unexpected afternoon or day off. The upside of remote work is that it allows us to stay connected nearly 24/7. On the other hand, without an icy commute to the office, “snow days” are becoming a thing of the past. As long as the internet stays connected, so do our employees. But, a snow day can be a welcome (and even necessary!) “reset” button, allowing us to come back more relaxed and focused after a day of play.
This idea will allow your team to tap into their joy-filled childhood selves (snowball fight, anyone?). Or, employees can choose to spend the day tackling some holiday errands, relieving their stress around this busy time of year.
Make your impromptu snow day easy. If any employees can’t participate due to prescheduled meetings or project deadlines, offer a “flex snow day” they can take at their leisure!
6. Mail Your Team a Holiday Treat
Sweet treats and special foods are part of the holiday season for many of us. But, even the most well-intentioned manager can struggle to navigate everyone’s dietary restrictions and tastes. As a result, food can feel like a risky holiday treat idea.
Services like Sugarwish allow everyone to pick just what they want. You can choose your box size, ranging from small to extra large. Then, send a special e-card to your team, letting everyone know they’ve received a holiday box. Everyone can select their favorite snack choices. Options include candies, cookies, nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, and more. Once everyone receives their treat, hop on a video chat for an unwrapping and sharing session!
Explore snack options and purchase your Sugarbox snack kits here. Keto, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free snacks are available.
7. Play Holiday Bingo During Your Virtual Holiday Party – One of Our Favorite Virtual Holiday Team Building Ideas!
Use the free printable graphic above to add some fun to your virtual holiday party! To play, assign one team member to be the bingo leader. This person can read the text off each square. Then, use a virtual hand-raise, a chat box, or just shout out if that square applies to you!
Each person can keep track of their own card, and the first to declare “BINGO!” gets a prize. Bonus: holiday bingo is a great icebreaker activity for employees who don’t know each other well.
To download your virtual holiday bingo card, right-click the image above, select “Save Image As…” and choose a name and file location.
8. Host a Virtual Holiday Movie Night
This idea will bring the whole team together, whether you’ve seen every Hallmark Channel movie ever made or Die Hard is more your holiday movie style. Use a free browser extension like Teleparty to enjoy a festive virtual movie night together. Everyone’s videos will sync with each other, and you can chat about the movie in real-time in the team’s Slack channel or chat box.
Be sure to offer a variety of holiday movie choices to settle on something everyone will look forward to!
9. Host a Virtual Gift Wrapping Party
It’s a rare treat to check something off a personal to-do list while also bonding with your coworkers. This virtual holiday team building activity allows your employees to do just that! Host a virtual wrapping party where your team members can enjoy chatting with each other while wrapping gifts for their friends and family.
You can also turn this into a family-friendly experience by inviting everyone’s children or roommates to join in the fun. This is a perfect time to play your team’s holiday playlist (idea #4). Or, start the session with holiday bingo (idea #7)!
If you have a creative team, consider a gift wrapping challenge and vote on the most beautifully wrapped gifts at the end! Get started with this popular YouTube video, “Life-Changing Gift Wrapping Hacks.“
10. Learn About Global Holiday Traditions
Have some festive fun with your team while also honoring your company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) commitment.
Learn about global holiday traditions by hosting a virtual viewing party of Discovery Education’s Holidays Around the World Or, participate in an interactive lesson, December Holidays Around the World, from study.com
Not sure where to start? Get back to basics with National Geographic Kids’ guide to winter celebrations. These easy-to-understand resources can help everyone learn more.
11. Mix & Mingle with a Virtual Holiday Cocktail or Mocktail Class
With this activity, your team can enjoy a unique holiday happy hour, minus the snow and traffic! Make festive cocktails or mocktails to celebrate the season together. Once your drinks are ready, everyone can raise a glass to another successful year together.
For the best experience, find a class led by an experienced bartender or mixologist. You can even call local restaurants and bars in your area to see if any offer virtual mixology classes.
Check out this virtual holiday happy hour class. Your team members will receive a holiday cocktail kit and a trivia activity.
12. Recreate Your Favorite Holiday Movie Recipe – One of Our Favorite Virtual Holiday Team Building Ideas!
This idea is like a cooking demonstration with a twist. Your team can gather together on a video call, and each person will cook a dish from a beloved holiday movie. For example:
- Buddy the Elf Pasta from Elf
- “Filthy Animal” Pizza inspired by Home Alone
- Meat Loaf from A Christmas Story (or an Ovaltine Martini!)
- Turkish Delight from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- Olaf Nutter Butter Cookies inspired by Frozen
Find even more ideas with Taste of Home’s list, 20 Recipes Inspired by Your Favorite Christmas Movies.
With these ideas, you and your remote team will be on your way to enjoying a magical holiday season in no time! Above all, remember to share in moments of gratitude and connection together. Reflect on all you’ve accomplished in 2021 while taking a festive break together.