This holiday season, embrace the fun of a virtual Ugly Sweater Party! This guide will walk you through each step of planning the perfect virtual holiday get-together for your remote team. You’ll find loads of great ideas here.
In this post, you’ll find:
- how to plan a virtual ugly sweater party from start to finish
- interactive holiday activities for remote employees
- holiday team building ideas for remote teams
- virtual holiday party fun game ideas
- DIY ideas to plan your own ugly sweater party
The Easy Way! Book a Virtual Ugly Sweater Party Experience
Lighten your load this holiday season. Let Unexpected Virtual Tours plan your virtual holiday experience!
The Virtual Ugly Sweater Party is a guided live experience with breakout rooms, fast-paced festive games, and team crafts. It’s perfect for small teams as well as large groups of several hundred participants.
Plus, add a treat box and have delicious snacks shipped directly to each member of your group!
Want to do it yourself, instead?
Create Your Virtual Ugly Sweater Party Invitations
An ugly sweater party is all about fun – so don’t just send a calendar invite! Instead, set the tone and build excitement ahead of time with fun e-vite.
For an easy option, use our Canva Template (pictured above) to create your own invitation! You can customize the colors and fonts, add your company’s information and logo, and download the invitation to send out.
Or, you can opt for a paid digital invitation service. Many e-vite companies offer a wide variety of holiday templates. Plus, you can see who opened the invite and track RSVPs.
Since some holiday sweaters can be a bit edgy, you might want to include a dress code reminder on your invitation. Office holiday parties are also notorious for being a time when people indulge a little too much. It’s helpful to clarify ahead of time whether participants can enjoy alcoholic drinks during the party or not.
Set the Scene With a Festive Background for Your Virtual Ugly Sweater Party
Encourage each team member to show up to the party with a festive background. This could be their real life holiday décor or a digital image set as their video call background.
To find a background image for your ugly sweater holiday party, try free stock photo sites like Pexels or Unsplash. Search for images like a roaring fireplace, a snowy cabin, or sparkling ornaments. Here are a few of our favorites:
Prepare Themed Treats Together
For an interactive activity, plan a baking or cooking experience with your team. Exercise your creative flair by making ugly sweater cookies together.
Or, choose a quick activity like putting together marshmallow snow people. For extra fun, ask everyone to decorate their marshmallow figure as someone in history or pop culture they admire! Go around and take turns showing off your treats and explaining your inspiration.
Preparing a food or craft with your team is a great way to encourage dialogue and bonding. You can send everyone a shopping list ahead of time and offer a stipend or gift card to fund the activity. Or, find a gingerbread house kit or cookie kit online that you can get delivered to each employee’s home.
Get Your Kitsch On
Ugly sweater parties are all about celebrating kitschy, glittery, tacky holiday spirit – so have fun with it! Especially during challenging times, it’s important to have moments of celebration and fun with your team.
When planning your ugly sweater party, focus on lighthearted activities that will leave your employees feeling uplifted.
Use a video-syncing browser extension to watch holiday movies with your team. Consider classic holiday favorites like A Christmas Story, Gremlins, Elf, A Rugrats Chanukah, and Home Alone.
Decorate Holiday Sweaters Together
For a hands-on activity, host an ugly sweater decorating session with your team. Offer everyone a stipend to purchase a basic solid-color sweater. Your local craft store is a great place to find one, or order online.
Then, use a DIY ugly sweater kit to personalize and bedazzle your garment. You can find a variety of kits online that come with iron-on patches, puffy glitter paint pens, and other supplies.
Each person’s sweater will serve as a memorable keepsake of the party. Plus, they can wear it to future ugly sweater parties, this season and in years to come!
Vote on the Best (or Worst!) Ugly Sweater
Launch a poll during your video call to let everyone vote for the best holiday sweater! You can award prizes for the most creative outfit, the tackiest sweater, the coziest backdrop, the most holiday spirit, etc.
Share the prize categories with your team ahead of time so everyone can bring their “A game” to the party. Give the winners a small e-gift card as a token of celebration.
Play Virtual Holiday Party Games
Liven up your party with interactive games like bingo and trivia. Use our free Virtual Ugly Holiday Sweater Bingo card (above). You can also search online for downloadable bingo cards. Or, use a service like Canva to make your own.
Online holiday trivia is also a great way to encourage friendly competition with your team. Explore online options, or create your own holiday trivia using a quiz tool like SurveyMonkey.
Take a Moment to Celebrate During Your Virtual Ugly Sweater Party
A virtual holiday party is a time for lighthearted fun and cheer. It’s also a time to recognize the contributions of your team as well as the successes of the year. Don’t forget to take a moment to raise a glass and celebrate!
Here are a few of our favorite virtual ugly sweater party ideas: You can highlight individual team members’ accomplishments. Give out fun superlative awards. Or, share company-wide wins that everyone helped make happen. You might want to invite other department heads or leaders to say a few words as well.
Show Your Gratitude with Party Favors (One of our fave Virtual Ugly Sweater Party ideas)
Even if you’re gathering virtually, you can still show your team members some IRL (in real life) fun! In advance of your ugly sweater party, mail everyone a special party box. You can include any supplies needed for the activities you choose, as well as a few fun treats. This is also a great opportunity to include a note thanking the employee for their contributions this year.
Some universally loved holiday gift box items include:
- Tea bags, hot cocoa mix, or coffee
- A nice notebook or journal
- Plant seeds or a small succulent
- A high-quality coffee tumbler
- A voucher for a bonus vacation day
More Virtual Ugly Sweater Party Ideas
After countless team video calls, this is the time to switch things up and try something new. Here are some more virtual ugly sweater party ideas:
- Host a casual virtual happy hour before your holiday office party
- Plan a virtual holiday themed scavenger hunt for your team
- Consider ending the workday early the day of your virtual party, so everyone can relax beforehand
- Organize a virtual secret Santa or gift exchange. Choose gift cards with an electronic delivery option, or mail a gift to your recipient!
Gather Post-Party Feedback
Whew – you’ve planned every detail, and your party went off without a hitch! Or did it? The best way to find out is to ask everyone for their feedback.
Send out a post-party survey to hear what everyone loved and what you could improve on for next year. After all, a holiday party is all about showing gratitude for your team. And, there’s no better way to show appreciation for someone than to listen to what they have to say.
Want to know more about Ugly Sweater Parties?
What is an Ugly Sweater Party?
An ugly sweater party is a holiday event where everyone wears their tackiest holiday sweater. This tradition typically involves lots of tinsel, hot glue-gunned jingle bells, and glitter. The idea is to go a little “over the top” and embrace the lighter side of the holidays.
You can even dress in theme head-to-toe with fun holiday headbands, earrings, socks, or a full suit!
How did Ugly Sweater Parties Start?
According to CNN, Christmas-themed sweaters were originally called “Jingle Bell Sweaters” when they came out in the 1950s. Those sweaters of days past were much more toned-down than the outlandish versions that exist today. In the 1980s, holiday films like “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” popularized holiday sweaters that were a little more bold.
Ugly holiday sweaters faded out of popularity before making a comeback in the early 2000s. In the 2010s, many famous designers even came out with their own versions.
The “Ugly Christmas Sweater Party” became a popular holiday activity. Retail options abounded, from real LED-lit Christmas tree designs to festive Hanukkah options, Kwanzaa candle designs, and more. Today, the tacky sweater is a holiday staple that’s perfect for showing off on social media.