Throughout my career, I’ve worked in a company that was completely removed, one company that was partially removed, and several fully personal organizations.
Every company dealt differently with Christmas parties. In fact, most remote organizations didn’t even offer team bonding activities.
While we have likely all attended various Christmas parties and team bonding events, these may not have been virtual.
Hosting a virtual team bond or a Christmas party can seem daunting. How can you plan activities online? What logistics is it?
If you’re planning a virtual Christmas party this year, don’t worry.
Let’s see some tips from HubSpot’s remote workers on how to host a virtual Christmas party.
8 tips for planning a virtual Christmas party
- Use a table to organize your activities.
- Make it interactive.
- Incorporate food.
- Encourage people to dress up.
- Always lead with an inclusive mindset.
- Plan ahead.
- Submit something physical.
- Choose a goal.
1. Use a table to organize your activities.
Planning a virtual Christmas party requires a lot of logistics. This is why you should use a table to help you stay organized.
Kara Korosec, Senior Remote Customer Success Manager at HubSpot, says, “I coordinated Secret Santa at my last company, a 100% remote company. I made a spreadsheet that everyone listed some of their interests. Then we did uses a random table. ” Generator to assign secret Santa Clauses. Each had a budget of $ 50 and used the chart as inspiration for what to get. After the gifts were sent out we had a zoom where we shared our gifts and guessed who our secret Santa Claus was. “
Regardless of the activity you are doing, it is important to stay organized so it is clear who is doing the activities and when the deadlines are.
2. Make it interactive.
Virtual events may automatically feel “hands-free”. However, these events can still be interactive. In Korosec’s secret Santa example, they opened the presents on a live zoom call.
The goal here is to be creative.
Eimear Marrinan, director of culture at HubSpot, says, “There are a ton of amazing remote and minority companies that we work with on the culture team. They do a great job. If your budget allows, consider outsourcing to the experts . Some brilliant events I’ve seen: Ski Chalet Experience, Walkthrough Christmas Markets, cocktails in a winter wonderland! “
There are various online games and activities that you can use for your virtual Christmas party. Below are some of our favorite remote interactive activities:
3. Incorporate food.
If you have an event in person, the food is usually on offer. Don’t forget this element for secluded holiday celebrations.
Emily Tong-Sanchez, a remote revenue operations specialist at HubSpot, says, “Let people put their food together!”
This gives people a reason to celebrate and enjoy the party.
Marrinan adds, “Ask questions when you incorporate food. Are there any allergies or preferences? When arranging a cocktail hour, does everyone drink alcohol? This is about helping organize your event.”
When broadcasting food, it is important to be aware of the limitations so that your event includes all attendees.
4. Encourage people to dress up.
Christmas parties are usually fun events where everyone can dress up and party. Being away shouldn’t change that.
Says Tong-Sanchez, “Encourage people to dress up. We want a reason to wear fancy clothes!”
5. Always lead with an inclusive mindset.
A major obstacle to remote meetings is that it is difficult to feel included.
Marrinan notes, “We operate in a dispersed and remote world right now. So when you think through a vacation event for you and your team, think big and global. Will the time zone work for everyone on your team? Does ‘The Holidays’ resonate? Ask Make sure you are planning something that is fun and inclusive that everyone can get involved in! “
6. Plan ahead.
When planning a virtual Christmas party, it is important to plan ahead.
Marrinan says, “The end of the year is busy. Really busy! Give people advance notice and book the time in advance. Lots of people are juggling right now, so protecting time is important! Watch out for your caregivers, too Team or someone who blocked the time in their day. “
7. Submit something physical.
Just because your event is remote doesn’t mean you can’t include a physical element in your virtual Christmas party.
“Can you send something to the team ahead of time to cause a stir? This doesn’t have to be a physical gift – it might be a handwritten card or thank you letter,” Marrinan notes. “A holiday event doesn’t have to be a big deal. Sometimes it’s the simple acts of kindness that go a long way for people.”
8. Choose a destination.
When planning your Christmas party, it is important to decide what your goal is. For example, it is difficult to play a game and get to know each other at the same time.
Caroline Merewether, Strategy and Operations Manager at HubSpot, says, “The biggest benefit is figuring out whether it’s more about deepening relationships or playing a game.”
One of Merewether’s favorite events her team hosted was an Airbnb experience that was a virtual escape room.
“It was fun doing something different and it was a fun mental change. But it wasn’t great getting to know people because we were trying to look for clues. We wanted to have conversations between us for our next party.” She adds.
For their team’s next virtual Christmas party, they’ll be sending international sweets which will be a great conversation starter for breakout rooms. Then they’ll do a costume contest and online trivia.
Jeff Boulter, Technical Director at HubSpot, decided to combine the interactive activity with an opportunity to get to know each other through an interactive quiz game.
At the beginning, Boulter sent out a Google form with a mixture of questions about icebreakers. Some examples include:
- What was your first online handle or email address?
- What was your worst class in college?
- What was the strangest job you’ve ever had?
- What’s your least loved song
- What’s your favorite conspiracy theory?
- What’s an unusual ability you have?
- Star Wars or Star Trek?
- Yanni or Laurel?
- If you could commit a crime and get away with it, which one would it be?
- What’s the worst gift you’ve ever received?
- Who would be eaten first if we were all stuck in the 1C elevator?
Then they used a free online trivia site called MyQuiz. Here the answers either chose a person from their roster (the least preferred song is “It’s a Small World”, for example) or the correct answer from among three other made up answers. You had 54 questions. Take a look at the picture below to see what this looked like.
Ultimately, planning a virtual Christmas party requires some planning. However, with a little research, you could end up with a fun, interactive game.
As a remote leader, your Christmas party can be just as fun and interactive as a personal event. To find out more, take part in HubSpot’s Remote Leadership Training.