As the holiday season approaches, planning your annual holiday party in 2020 is surely going to look a lot different. Some may forgo a party altogether. Whether you have been put in charge of organizing a Christmas party for your company, a club, or with your close friends and family, there are plenty of creative ways to keep the holiday cheer high and throw a memorable virtual holiday party that everyone will be talking about! Rather than researching venues and organizing catering, new tasks in 2020 may include selecting a fun theme that can be celebrated virtually, answering simple IT questions, and coordinating engaging socially-distanced games. This year we are all making up the playbook when it comes to hosting a memorable virtual holiday party, so don’t worry if there are a few hiccups along the way. This post on how to host a virtual holiday party will hopefully provide you with a variety of ideas and topics that will set you up for success this holiday season.
When you begin planning your party, the first factor you’ll want to consider is the party theme. Regardless of planning a prom, wedding, or Christmas party, party planning 101 would have you first select a fun and exciting theme! A great theme can drum up excitement around your virtual party. Themes can dictate a variety of party elements, including dress code, color themes, decor, activities, food choices, and so much more. Here are a few theme ideas to help you get started.
If you’re looking for a playful theme, you could have a “Wig Out!” party and encourage all virtual attendees to wear a colorful wig of their choice! Guests can prep for the party by picking out the perfect wig that represents their personality. Plus, everyone’s wig will be easy to see over a virtual call!
When is the last time any of us have put on a suit or evening wear? Our wardrobe selections have probably been very routine day in and day out over the last 9 months. This theme can spark excitement as coworkers and friends get to break the mold of their daily routine by dressing up in something fancy for the night. Carry the theme forward by allowing each virtual caller to have a little 5-second red carpet virtual introduction at the beginning of the call. As the host, you can introduce each guest and make everyone feel special! You could even host an “award ceremony” portion of the party and honor certain employees who are best dressed.
Have attendees dress up in a manner that showcases what they wish they were doing if everything in the world was back to normal. Think football jerseys for the sports fan, aloha shirts for those that wish they were vacationing in Hawaii, a band’s t-shirt for those that might be fans of live music. For this virtual Christmas party theme, you could host trivia rounds that focus on questions surrounding certain industries that have been on a hiatus, such as movie theaters, sports, travel, and the like.
Seeing as how the year 2020, has been the “Year of the Mask,” why not play off that trend by hosting a “masquerade” holiday party. For this theme, each guest can prepare by picking out a mask of their choice. Anything from ornate Venetian masks to superhero disguises will work. This is a great way to level up your holiday party and add a theme that everyone can participate in!
For this theme, guests can dress up as their favorite celebrity and other attendees can all try and guess who they are. Add an element of fun to this party theme by awarding prizes for the “best look-alike” or for the party attendee who guesses the most celebrities correctly! Reward winners instantly with virtual gift cards through the private chat feature of your hosted meeting.
When planning your virtual party, you’ll want to make sure all the technical details are squared away before the party date. Experiment with a few video calling services such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype beforehand to make sure they’ll work for your party. If you have particular games or activities in mind, make sure they can be achieved through your particular video conferencing platform. Lastly, be sure to include language in your party invitation that explains what service you’ll be using and any information guests need to know beforehand.
So you’ve set a theme, but what is going to keep your holiday guests entertained for two hours on a computer? To help you get started, we compiled a list of games and activities that are all perfect for a virtually-hosted party. Feel free to use a number of these ideas throughout your agenda to keep your attendees engaged and on their toes.
Allow employees to share hidden talents they may have with their colleagues. Since they will be performing in their home environment, they may feel more comfortable in front of an audience of their peers. Because many of us have spent more time indoors lately, there is a strong likelihood that new talents have been discovered or that instrument has gotten more attention than normal. Encourage guests to sing, dance, juggle, or show off any hidden talents they may have!
If you have a more creative group of employees, you might consider hosting a little film festival during your party. For this activity, employees can make a short 1-3 minute video on any subject of their choice. With today’s smartphones and simple video editing software, a complete novice can put something together rather easily. Display all the videos during the party and have a panel vote for their favorite. Employees can make anything from light-hearted family videos to quirky work videos. Guests will enjoy making the videos and watching what everyone else has created! If you do go this route, be sure to send out details at least three weeks prior to the party so everyone has ample time to create their videos.
Get a little crafty and hire a local artist to teach an art lesson during your party over Zoom. You can look for a variety of artists that specialize in different art forms such as paper mache, watercolor, hand lettering, drawing, and more. This is a great way to host an activity that everyone can participate in together. For this activity, send each guest a packet in the mail containing all the paint or art supplies they will need to follow along. At the end of the lesson, everyone can go around and share on their camera how their craft came out!
Host a huge trivia challenge for all employees to compete against each other in. For this activity, everyone can play individually or you can break employees into teams for some good team bonding. Be sure to choose from a variety of trivia topics, like movies, television, sports, music, science, and history to make sure every player is involved. As the host, you can lead numerous rounds and keep track of team points as you go.
This idea would partner great with a black-tie theme and is great for virtual corporate parties! Carve out 20 to 30 minutes for top management to acknowledge certain employees for their achievements this year! It has been a tough year, and everyone appreciates being recognized for their hard work.
Once you’ve settled on a theme and rough agenda, it’s time to get the word out! Sending out paper invitations is the perfect way to add credibility and formality to the event. A tangible card is also much more likely to result in a “yes” RSVP response from your guests compared to an email or text message. With physical invitations, guests can pin the card to their fridge as a reminder of the upcoming celebration. Use the invitation to hint at the theme and the activities that can be expected at the party.
On Minted, we have a wide variety of holiday party invitations to choose from that come in different styles and themes. Choose from themes perfect for cocktail parties, gift exchanges, DIY group art projects, and so much more. Plus, all designs are customizable so you can include important details about your virtual party.
As RSVP’s start to come in, see if guests would like to participate in a Secret Santa gift exchange. Simply collect the mailing addresses of all confirmed guests and then provide each guest with the details on a person they will be responsible for purchasing and mailing a gift to. Provide a deadline for when the gifts need to be in the mail so that everyone will be able to unwrap their gift live during the virtual holiday party!
Do you really need festive party decor for a virtual Christmas party? Of course! If you are going to play host for the celebration, make it a point to order some decorations to help elevate your theme. Because your computer’s camera can only see a narrow representation of your at-home environment, you won’t need too much decor to really transform your area into a winter wonderland! Some decorations that can transform your backdrop include banners, streamers, balloons, ornaments, holiday garland, and other Christmas greenery.
If you’re having a smaller virtual gathering, you might consider sending everyone a special care package with themed party favors or snacks. Christmas cookies anyone?! Since you will be saving money on catering and food, relocate some of those expenses into a fun package that can be mailed out to employees and guests ahead of the party. Advise guests that they cannot open the package until the virtual holiday party begins. Depending on the theme you choose, get creative on the items included in your pre-party mailer. Stickers, candy, art supplies, and noisemakers are just a few ideas.
In the weeks leading up to the party, advise guests of ingredients they should have on hand if they want to try the signature cocktail that will be created during the holiday party. This is the perfect way to get everyone involved in a joint activity during the virtual party! Encourage guests to leave reactions to the drink in the chat box of your video call. If looking for some Christmas cocktail ideas, we have a great post on recipes made with vodka, gin, rum, and other spirits.
Lastly, we wanted to provide you with a sample agenda and timeline to reference as you work to coordinate the best socially distanced holiday party around.