15 Epic Virtual Holiday Party Ideas In 2020

Thomas Paris
February 24, 2021
15 Epic Virtual Holiday Party Ideas In 2020

As we head into the holiday season, a question bound to crop up, is,  – is a virtual holiday party any fun? Yes, it turns out. It’s a lot easier and can be incredibly fun if you are creative. Virtual parties are also the safest way to spread the holiday cheer this year. 

What’s a Virtual Holiday Party?

A virtual holiday party is a holiday celebration taking place online over video conferencing platforms like Google Meet, Zoom, and WebEx. Virtual holiday parties typically involve games, activities, and themes that are best suited for online participation. While the essence remains the same – a communal celebration around food and wine, virtual parties have some definite upsides. For instance, when hosting a virtual party, you’re no longer bound by geography. You don’t need to clean up after the party, and it’s also much easier to get everyone involved. You can attend the party in your PJs and from the comfort of your own home. There’s no lining up for drinks and no waiting for cabs to get back home. 

Sounds great, right? Let’s take a look at some of the most creative virtual holiday party ideas.

15 Epic Virtual Holiday Party Ideas

Since social distancing became the norm, employees have found it challenging to replicate the social connection we experience in the workplace with our co-workers. While you may have weekly or monthly virtual social events, not all employees may have engaged. For some, it might feel like they’re still on the clock, while others must’ve been busy juggling their personal lives while working from home. Others might’ve been caring for a family member or might’ve experienced loss. Either way, the holidays are the perfect time to breach that invisible virtual barrier and get your employees excited about the holidays and the year ahead. 

Here’s our list of 15 awesome ideas that’ll help you ring in the holiday season in style.

#1 Plan a Killer Opening Act

If you’ve ever attended a virtual party, you already know that sitting in front of a screen waiting for others to join can get very boring very soon. If the idea is to have people join your virtual holiday party by a set time, organizing an opening act is an excellent idea. You can have a stand-up comic or band do their set as you begin with the festivities. A headlining act at the start of the part will set the evening's mood and ensure that all your attendees are on time.

A photo of a computer screen showing a virtual comedy act with participants at a virtual holiday party
 A Sit-Down Comedy Set or a Band Performance Can Set the Mood for your Virtual Holiday Party

You don’t need a big budget for executing this idea. If you can hire local talent, there’s nothing like it! 

You could add physical, experiential elements to the virtual opening act by providing employees with free drinks and food vouchers that they can use throughout the party. This way, you offer them a blended experience – combining the best of real and virtual worlds. 

#2 Foster Authentic Connections with Hoppier's Delicious Virtual Holiday Party

Take your virtual holiday party experience to the next level by empowering your employees to choose their favorite food and drinks. With Hoppier managing the logistics, you can focus on what truly matters - connecting with your employees and fostering a culture of collaboration and creativity.

You can gift your employees their own virtual holiday spending cards which they can use to order their favorite drinks, food, and party gear from local pre-approved restaurants, stores, and bars. In addition to personalizing the party experience at scale, Hoppier also provides you with the flexibility to choose your budget and create your holiday party experience in minutes.

#3 A Winter Cocktail Party

Hire a mixologist or a trained bartender to host a winter cocktail party. Prepare a shopping list of liqueurs, drinks, and mixers that your employees can buy using virtual credit cards or stipends. Your employees can then follow the bartender's instructions and prepare their cocktails or mocktails for a spirited, fun evening. You could follow this up with other holiday games, mini-challenges, and quizzes to make the party even more engaging. 

#4 Plan a Virtual Pub Quiz

One of the most popular pub activities, pub quizzes are a fantastic idea to bring the team together before you kick-off your holiday festivities. Pub Quiz is one of the cheapest yet engaging virtual party ideas that can foster a sense of community among participants. If YouTube watching patterns are anything to go by, Jay’s wildly popular virtual Pub Quiz has some interesting pointers. 

You can begin by setting your holiday-inspired quiz rounds. Think holiday movies, music, food, and questions about your team/team members. Next, begin framing your questions – online resources like Paul’s Quiz, Pub Quiz Questions HQ, and Collins Pub Quiz can help you speed things up. Finally, take the experience online by using quizzing apps, software, or event Google Slides.

#5 Host A Live Cook Along Party

Food or cooking is vital to the holiday experience. So, instead of catering or ordering meals, you can encourage your team to participate in a virtual cook along party. The best part of a virtual cook along is that employees can share these meals with their families. 

Supply your employees with a list of ingredients they’ll need for the cook along or have these shipped to their addresses in personalized gift boxes. A live host can lead the cook along party, or you could follow a video recipe. Ask the participants to share images of their completed dishes and put them up on your websites’ team or career pages.

#6 The Holiday Playlist Party

Music is the soul of a memorable party. Invite your team or employees to contribute to creating the holiday playlist. Every employee gets to pick a song that goes into the holiday playlist. You can use a service like Spotify or Soundcloud to create and save the playlist. To make the party more interactive, you can ask team members to guess which colleague picked which song to play or invite them to talk about why that song is their favorite. 

The holiday playlist party idea is very collaborative and works well for teams with 10-20 people. You can split larger groups (30 employees or more) into smaller teams and ask individual teams to choose their songs. 

#7 Host a Virtual Holiday Decorating Party

A photo of a Christmas tree with ornaments for a Virtual Holiday Decorating Party
A virtual decoration holiday party is a great way to bond with your team mates

One of the best things about holiday parties at work is decorating the office. While employees can still decorate their homes this year, doing it alone can seem like a chore. Ask your employees to save a room, corner, or the Christmas tree, which they can decorate with their co-workers virtually. You can have the decorations shipped to employees’ locations and begin decorating once the party is underway. You can ask employees to take pictures or selfies with their decorated space after the party and share those on social media as personalized thank you holiday cards.

#8 Virtual Karaoke Night 

There is something truly liberating about being able to sing poorly in front of co-workers and friends. It’s the perfect end to a stressful day. You can replicate the karaoke experience online with tools like Watch2Gether, where you can assemble your queue of songs. We recommend moderating the karaoke session to ensure everyone gets to participate, and there are no interruptions during the performance. The karaoke night can be the follow-up act to your virtual happy hour or the winter cocktail party. 

#9 Virtual Game Night

People are hesitant to mingle and talk at a virtual holiday party because of the lack of physical, experiential elements like buffets and open bars. You can break the ice with participants by playing games at your virtual holiday party. The Spruce, offers some great holiday game ideas that can easily be adapted for virtual parties. This is in addition to the classics like Scrabble, treasure hunt, and Pictionary that you can play online. 

#10 Plan a Virtual Casino Night

Photo of a virtual casino night with the dealer holding up a chip and player windows on the right side
The virtual casino experience with a live dealer experience - Source

A virtual casino party is a great way to recognize and reward your employees as they head out for the holidays. Virtual casinos have come into their own over the past few months and many companies offer a blended casino experience with a live dealer and multiple game tables. Employees can interact with their virtual live dealer and other co-workers on the table while sipping their favorite cocktails or drinks. You can make the party even more rewarding for your team by providing them virtual credits to use at the casino - or a virtual credit card with a set limit. You can raise the stakes by rewarding the winner with a $500 or $1000 prize which they can donate to a charity or non-profit of their choice.

#11 Organize a Virtual Wine or Cheese Tasting Party

A photo of a wine glass alongside a cheeseboard great idea for a virtual team building cheese and wine

Bring the exotic wine or cheese tasting experience home for your employees. You can tie-up with a local vineyard or cheesemonger to send your employees a box full of exotic cheeses or wine along with little personalized gifts. Hire a wine or cheese expert to guide your employees through the tasting process. This makes for an excellent experience to bring the holiday cheer. 

#12 Host a Virtual Dance Party

A screenshot of a great virtual holiday party idea people are dancing during a virtual zoom call party hosted by a ravel agency for ts employees
Source: Travel Weekly
Largay Travel agency hosted its virtual dance party in March this year. The company has since hosted similar parties every month for customers and employees.

 Plan a virtual dance party for your team via Zoom or Teams. Send instructions to participants in advance and ask them to use external speakers instead of relying on their phone or laptop speakers. A dance party requires little to no investment, and you can share a fun bonding experience with your employees. You can mix things up by sending employees free drinks and food vouchers that they can encash during the party. The Zappier team has found real success with its virtual dance party. They chose “a popular song off Spotify, asked everyone in the company who was online to pull up Apple’s Photo Booth app and take a five-second video of themselves dancing, then upload it to Giphy and create a GIF of it. Then, they created a montage and posted it in the company-wide Slack channel.”  

# 13 The Virtual Film Dubbing Party

Remember Whose Line Is It anyway? A virtual film dubbing party follows a similar style to Whose Line Is It Anyway – make a list of movies rated lower than B and ask participants to dub in lines instead of the actual ones used. You can share instructions beforehand and explain how the game will work. This game can work with a single move where employees take turns to dub for characters in the film or clips from different movies, where every employee gets to dub an entire clip by themselves. Let your employees know what order they will fall, assigning them characters or clips. 

#14 Host a Virtual Painting Party

A virtual painting party is a great option for organizations looking to buck the party trend. It’s a deeply personal and relaxing experience that employees can take part in from the comfort of their own homes. You can arrange to have the paint supplies delivered directly to their homes or tie-up with virtual painting solutions like Painting to Gogh or JJ Art Works, who will take care of the entire party. You can add in free drinks or snacks to make the experience more engaging for employees. 

#15 Host a Broadway Meet and Greet Party

A photo of a fan virtually meeting Broadway stars
It's doesn't get more exclusive than a meet and greet cocktail party with Broadway stars

While most of us have been cooped up at home for the better part of 2020, travel and social experience companies have been busy adapting experiences for the virtual world. One of the best experiences you can offer your employees this holiday season is a Broadway meet and greet. Broadway Plus offers virtual experiences with actors from a number of top Broadway shows, where you can book a meet-and-greet, virtual concert, or even have them give your employees choreography or acting lessons. Yes, that means you can get a drink with the cast of Hamilton!

Conclusion

2020 has been a roller coaster of a year and it has taught us to value human connection. Our list of virtual holiday party ideas is in no way exhaustive but is intended to help you provide a fun bonding experience for your employees. The idea of any holiday party is to celebrate achievements and set the tone for the year ahead. Whatever idea you decide on, personalize it for your team and employees to drum up engagement. 

Talk to us about hosting your virtual holiday party. Get 20% off on your first party with Hoppier.

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