Discover 12+ free virtual holiday party ideas for 2021! The holidays are the perfect time to reflect on the successes of the year while sowing seeds of connection and rapport for the year ahead.
In this list, you’ll find:
- free virtual holiday party ideas to boost team spirit and holiday spirits
- food and drink ideas for virtual holiday parties
- inclusive, non-religious holiday party ideas
- holiday virtual parties for remote teams
- virtual holiday party ideas that include friends and family
- fun games, scavenger hunts, holiday movies, and more
Do you have a budget to spend and want to take your virtual holiday party to the next level? If so, explore Unexpected Virtual Tours’ experiences for remote teams! From taking a European holiday to hosting a Virtual Ugly Sweater Party, there’s something for everyone on your team.
1. Plan a Virtual Holiday Gift Exchange
A virtual “Secret Santa” gift exchange can be fun or stressful, depending on who you ask. That’s because some team members love the chance to get something special for a coworker. At the same time, others dread the task of finding and delivering the perfect gift.
This year, make your gift swap easy by going completely virtual. Send a quick online survey to your team, so they can share their favorite stores or treats. Then, assign each employee a recipient to purchase a digital gift card for. With instant email delivery, you can skip the hassle of wrapping and shipping!
Standby options like Target and Starbucks are always popular. But, these days, many local businesses also sell gift cards online with e-delivery options. Other beloved but slightly unexpected options: a gift card to outdoor retailer REI, video game platform Steam, or even a state parks pass!
2. Have an Adventure from Home with a Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger hunts don’t have to take a lot of planning. Here’s how to plan a low-effort virtual holiday scavenger hunt!
Before your holiday party video call, make a list of holiday items people might have around their home. For example: a holiday ornament, a menorah, hot cocoa mix, mittens, or a pine-scented candle.
Go through the list, reading off items one by one. Each person must gather the item from around their home and share it on-screen. Give people 1 point for each item they find. At the end, give the winner a fun prize!
This activity is a great way to get employees talking and connecting. Pause and allow employees to share about their favorite holiday trinkets. Some may be imbued with deep traditions and meaning!
4. Spruce Up Your Party with Virtual Invitations
Sure, you could just send a regular calendar invite. But, why not make your virtual holiday event invite a little more special?
These days, it’s easy (and free!) to send out a customized digital party invitation. You can include your company logo, festive designs, and all the party details. Some websites let you track RSVPs and send reminders!
Keep things simple with a free service like Canva to design and email your invitations. Their built-in templates make it easy to customize your invite.
5. Host a Virtual Happy Hour for the Holidays
In lieu of an office party, a virtual happy hour is a fun way for remote teams to enjoy the holidays together. Encourage everyone to bring their favorite holiday drinks or treats. To set the tone, you can create a holiday playlist for everyone to enjoy together.
Or, encourage everyone to use a fun holiday-themed video call background. This will help everyone get in the festive spirit.
Want to practice your mixology skills – but don’t have a budget for an expert-led class? Find a holiday cocktail recipe on YouTube and send everyone a list of ingredients ahead of time if they’d like to participate!
One of our favorite holiday mixology videos: Holiday Cocktails, from Basics with Babish!
6. Shake Things Up with Virtual Holiday Party Games
Holiday and Christmas parties are more fun when there’s an interactive element. Virtual holiday party games are a great way to get your team interacting, laughing, and bonding together.
Try playing holiday bingo together, or create a holiday-themed trivia quiz. You can also use skribbl.io for a free online-based drawing game, similar to Pictionary.
Personalize your holiday bingo! At myfreebingocards.com, you can generate up to 30 customized holiday bingo cards for free.
7. Watch Holiday Movies Together
For many of us, holiday movies conjure up cozy memories of hot cocoa and snuggly blankets. Encourage your remote employees to prepare their favorite winter beverage and join together for a holiday movie night!
Your team can vote ahead of time on which movie to watch. Then, use a free browser extension like Teleparty to stream your flick together. Keep a dialogue going in your team’s Slack channel or group chat.
8. Warm Up with an Icebreaker Game
This idea is perfect for teams that don’t often interact together. Encourage everyone to get to know their coworkers with fun introductory games at the start of your party.
For example, play a work-friendly game of “Never Have I Ever.” Everyone starts by holding up 10 fingers. Then, read a list of holiday mishaps. Each person puts a finger down if they’ve done the activity described.
A few good ideas: Never have I ever…
- …fallen off the roof while putting up holiday lights
- …broken a snow globe or ornament
- …peeked at my holiday gifts
- …gotten pelted with a snowball
- …knocked over a row of Christmas trees when picking one out
Remember to choose a fun prize for the winner! Take a peek at the gift card ideas mentioned in list item #1, or buy the winner a meal from their favorite local restaurant.
9. Take Turns Leading a DIY Holiday Cooking Class
No budget for a chef-led virtual cooking class? No problem! Try taking turns leading a basic holiday cooking class during December.
You can do this as a participatory activity, with everyone buying their own ingredients and cooking along. Or, do it in the style of a cooking show, where one person cooks and demonstrates while the others watch and ask questions.
This is a great opportunity to see your team members’ leadership and presentation skills in action. You can also learn a lot from how employees react when things don’t go to plan!
For some holiday recipe ideas, check out Food Network’s list of 50 Quick and Easy Holiday Recipes.
10. Host a Family-Friendly Craft Activity
Allow your employees’ kids, partner, or roommates to get in on the fun with this activity! A holiday craft session is a fun way to get to know your coworkers and their families better while also creating some fun home decorations.
One classic holiday activity? Making paper snowflakes. Adults will love this because it reminds them of nostalgic holiday school activities from their youth. Little ones will be excited about the Frozen inspiration!
Find 17 magical paper snowflake craft projects here. This list includes upcycling ideas, a snowflake suncatcher, DIY gift tags, and more!
11. Play “Name that Holiday Tune”
Does your team include music lovers? Play a holiday version of “Name that Tune” to see who knows popular holiday songs the best!
As the moderator, you can play a 5-10 second clip of a favorite holiday song. Then, have team members call out the name of the song or type it into the chat box. The first one to get it right wins a point! Keep track and award prizes for the winners.
Remember to keep this idea inclusive by branching out from traditional Christmas songs. You can add pop favorites into the mix, or include songs from different cultures and traditions.
12. Send a Holiday Card After the Party
This idea does require the cost of postage and stationery. But, for a nominal cost, consider sending your employees a holiday card after your virtual party.
Include the usual holiday greetings and well-wishes. And, consider adding a sentence or two about how glad you were to see the employee during the party. If you’re a manager or executive, this gesture of gratitude can go a long way.
Thank the employee for their specific contributions to the party, whether they led a cooking demo, participated enthusiastically in trivia, or went all-out with their holiday attire. Take time to recognize each person’s unique contributions to your team. This can help set the stage for a restful holiday and a productive year ahead!
Jazz up your cards with fun holiday stamps, like this “Winter Scenes” Forever stamp option.
Explore more virtual holiday team building ideas from the Unexpected Virtual Tours blog:
- Inclusive Holiday Party Ideas (Not Just Santa!)
- 12+ Virtual Holiday Team Building Activities for 2021
- Free Virtual Team Building Activities (for any time of year!)
Do you have a budget for your holiday party and want a seamless, easy, fun experience? Let us handle the details! Explore our interactive experiences for remote teams – including a Virtual Ugly Sweater Party!