I believe it was the late, great Meredith Wilson, then Perry Como, then Michael Bublé who said "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas", and in many ways they were all right. It is indeed, beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Everywhere you go in fact.
Usually, that would mean the office Christmas party is already deep in the planning stage. That box of office Christmas decorations has been dug out and dusted down, someone is desperately trying to find a venue that hasn’t been booked up since March and we are all working out how to break it to Neil that there won’t be any Karaoke… not after last year.
But things are different now. Last year, we were forced to move all of our Christmas parties online. And with many offices now switching over to remote work or having hybrid teams, this year looks to be no different.
But how difficult is it to make an online work Christmas party fun? Turns out, not that difficult at all.
Here are a few ideas to make your virtual Christmas party pop!
Eat, drink and be merry!
Send your team a hamper ahead of the big day bursting with decorations that they can hang, silly hats to wear, food to eat and a bottle of something to enjoy. You may even be able to persuade them to hold off drinking it till you can all get the chance to have a toast together! (But also, maybe not!)Check out what’s available at Christmas Hampers UK.
There’s no need to give up on Secret Santa this year. You can ask people to post their gifts. Who doesn’t love getting a parcel in the post? But be sure to get organised before the last postal dates for Christmas. Alternatively, there is the option of a virtual secret Santa, sending gift vouchers, online experiences, you can even get a virtual message from a star… the bigger the star the pricier of course… Depending on your office budget you could get Brad Pitt! Or Barry from Eastenders!
Whether you chose traditional or virtual you are still able to open your gifts in front of each other on camera and try to guess who bought you that amazing gift… or that gift clearly recycled from last year…. Actually didn’t you buy them those socks last year?!
Why not try a virtual class together? But instead of the usual cookery or wine tasting, how about a cocktail making class? It is Christmas after all!
Mixology makes it super easy, from sending the ingredients before hand directly to the door to giving you instructions on how to set up your own ‘bar’ before you get started. This guarantees a lot of giggles from the team. AND when you finish, you’ll have a cocktail to drink! Of course, how well it was made is a matter to be seen! (And drunk…)
And the winner is…
Hold a virtual awards ceremony. Give awards that range from serious (Hardest Worker, Most Supportive Team Mate) to ridiculous (Best Zoom Background, Most Memes Sent)
People will love this little recap of the year they’ve worked together, and it’ll help them feel appreciated, noticed and a little closer to the team.
Get your game faces on!
It wouldn’t be Christmas without a good old fashioned game of monopoly and an argument. A bit less old fashioned, you can try Christmas party games online! Hopefully there’ll be fewer arguments if you play boardgames online together. Or for bigger groups you could try a virtual online adventure. Each group is lead by a real actor taking each team through their own adventure whilst competing against the other teams. This is perfect for ensuring that everyone is able to get involved and will give you a lot to laugh about after!
A trip to the races!
How about Virtual Horse Racing? Whether or not you’ve ever been horse racing before, this is a great way for teams to have a little fun and a bit of healthy competition. You get to learn all about the horses, place your bets either as a team or individually and then watch the actual race with running commentary. Cheer on your horse to victory! (Hopefully).
The Office Has Talent!
Hold a virtual talent show! You’ll be amazed by what secret talents your team is hiding! Whether it’s Leanne on the drums or James penchant for magic tricks! As long as it isn’t Neil on karaoke….
It’s a Kind of Magic
Or instead of making your staff do all the work you can let them sit back, relax and watch an actual interactive online comedian or magician! Watch them be amazed and wonder “How did they know which one was my card?" And "Where has all my eggnog gone?”
Just because a party is online it definitely doesn’t have to be any less fun. If anything, moving to the virtual world has opened up a whole world of new and fun ways to celebrate the year with your team. You don't even need to pay for a taxi home. You may need some help getting up the stairs however.
By Jenni Lea-Jones