You may have heard that Christmas is cancelled this year. This simply is not the case. Holidays aren't cancelled for 2020 - they will just look a little different this time around. Here are some virtual holiday party ideas to help spread the holiday cheer with your loved ones this year!
Gather around your laptops or tablets this year and login to your preferred video conferencing platform like Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, Messenger Rooms, or WebEx to bring your loved ones together for some fun and festive activities!
1. Uplifting Holiday Playlists
A good playlist can make or break a holiday party, whether it's virtual or not. It's important to curate an upbeat and equally uplifting playlist prior to the start of the event. A quick search for "holiday mix" on your preferred music streaming platform should do the trick. You can also take this opportunity to make it a fun and engaging experience for party-goers by creating a shared playlist on Apple iTunes or allowing them to add their favorite songs to a playlist on Spotify.
The carols can be enjoyed as background music or you can have party-goers jam out with some holiday karaoke! Watch2Gether allows you to stream lyric videos on YouTube with other virtual participants. There are also a lot of apps/plug-ins that sync viewer's videos.
A fun way to incorporate music into gameplay is to play a holiday themed version of “Guess that Song with Emojis". There are dozens of YouTube videos out there, if you don't feel like creating your own version of the game.
2. Christmas Trivia
Put your knowledge to the test! You can't go wrong with themed trivia when it comes to virtual holiday parties or online hangouts. You can easily create a personalized trivia game in Google Docs. Or check out this Christmas trivia game:
To play: Break into teams and separate into breakout rooms where guests can answer using the chat or poll features, or just have them shout out their answers (fair warning: responding aloud could get chaotic, if not moderated.) Another option is to utilize the raised hand emoji/reaction as a makeshift buzzer.
3. Pet Costume Contest
Show off your pets in their festive gear! It's best if you have guests record a video, or take pictures, of their pet ahead of time to share during the party. Guests can share a cute or funny story about their fur baby as well.
Have everyone vote on their favorite or most festive costume to decide on a winner. Send a gift card to a local pet shop or mail a gourmet holiday treat or toy to the winning pet as a motivating factor.
Party hosts can put together a cute keepsake video of guests submissions to lift people's spirits.
4. Virtual Scavenger Hunt
Virtual scavenger hunts are a creative way to get people moving and gives participants a quick break from the screen time. This activity is a great way to engage party goers and make this virtual get-together more interactive. If carried out properly, scavenger hunts have the potential to carry the energy for the remainder of your event.
How it works: Simply give your guests holiday-themed prompts and whoever brings the relevant item back first, gets a point. The best items to hunt for will have story or “show and tell” opportunities, like favorite gifts and things related to Christmas traditions. This is a fun way to make your virtual celebration a bit more intimate and lets guests get to know each other on a deeper level.
5. Get Crafty with Festive Ornaments
While you may not be sitting around the Christmas tree with your guests, you can still foster a sense of community and connection though ornament-making. This creative holiday crafting activity will leave you and your guests with a gift that reminds you of one another every time you look at for years to come.
Don't hesitate to follow along with a guided YouTube tutorial if you're not confident in your abilities. If you want to make sure you're guests are all on the same page while getting crafty, you can send them an ornament kit ahead of time!
Remind guests to take pictures of their finished ornaments so you can create a collage or gallery for everyone to see.
6. Online Holiday Bingo
Online Holiday Bingo is a modern twist on a fun game everyone can play at any virtual soiree. Feel free to play a more intimate, focused version of the game by allowing teammates to interact on chat and in breakout rooms. If you prefer, you can play as a group throughout the party.
Source: Museum Hack.
How it works: It's pretty simple, the first player to mark five squares in a row wins. Museum Hack made this template you can use for your game; just be sure to randomize the clues!
Templates can easily be made in Google Sheets if you want to add a personal touch. (Here's a quick tutorial.)
To make it a bit more exciting, you can offer prizes such as electronic gift cards, extra PTO hours, or even an extended lunch break. Get creative!
7. Virtual Holiday Charades
Divide guests into teams and take turns trying to guess the message, movie title, song title, and whatever else you can think of. Act out the title of popular festive flicks like “Home Alone” or iconic scenes from your favorite holiday movies.
8. Virtual Christmas Pictionary
Divide partygoers into teams and give one member of each team a seasonal prompt to draw while guests guess in a specified time-limit. Turn on screen-sharing while the whiteboard feature is selected to virtualize this classic party game. Another option is to draw on a piece of paper and hold it up to the webcam.
9. Virtual Holiday Light Tour
This is the perfect time to show off those holiday decorations that have been bringing you cheer this season! Give your guests a heads up for this activity so they plan a display. Take turns leading your guests on a virtual tour of your Christmas trees, decorations, and light displays.
10. Host a Hot Cocoa Contest
Warm up with some hot cocoa after you check out the Christmas light displays. Send out hot chocolate packs with artisan marshmallows, chocolate shavings, hazelnut spread, cookie batons, chili powder, maybe even thrown in an airplane size coffee liqueur to spice things up. Why not pair your cocoa with some smores?
If you want to make things exciting, host a hot cocoa contest to see who whips together the craftiest cocoa concoction!
11. Holiday Gift Bags or Secret Santa
Christmas isn't just about presents, but there's nothing wrong with spreading a little holiday joy this season! Sending out gift bags before the party or arranging a Secret Santa exchange can help make your virtual celebration a bit more festive. Elfster can take the guesswork out of organizing the exchange and even has a wish list feature.
There are tons of other options out there for those who don't want to ship anything or exchange physical gifts. Consider e-gift cards or subscriptions to themed gift boxes, streaming services, or snack kits.
12. Share a Holiday Tradition
Now that your guests have warmed up to one another, go around the virtual room and have people share one holiday tradition that they hold dear to their heart. This could be something passed down in your family or something special that your town does every year.
Revel in each other's festivities and figure out what the holiday season means to your guests. Who knows, you might end up getting on board with some new or unique ways to celebrate the holiday season!
13. Virtual Christmas Party Invitations
Last, but certainly not least is the E-vite or virtual holiday party invitations! Since this event will take place over a video conference call, you will need to send potential attendees a meeting room link. Standard emailed URLs can easily get lost in the shuffle of a busy inbox.
Choose from a wide-selection of pre-made E-vites or create your own colorful digital invitation to get your invitee's attention and pump them up for an awesome virtual party!
Canva and Crello are solid options for designing and bringing to life bright and festive virtual holiday party email invites.
Now is the time to send these out! You should aim to send your E-vites a few weeks before the event to allow people to plan their holiday festivities.