Tips for How to Have a Virtual Holiday Party That Isn’t Terrible
With in-person festivities completely off the table for all BU departments this year, throw a Zoom party you’ll actually want to attend
The annual holiday office party—it’s an end-of-year tradition. But COVID-19 has made it impossible this year, and that goes for all BU departments.
“As much as we enjoy the tradition of celebrating the holidays in person with our colleagues,” says Ken Freeman, interim vice president for human resources, “we ask all members of the BU community to refrain from in-person holiday celebrations as we continue efforts to contain the virus.”
This year, all BU holiday parties must be online only, which means the cheese boards, bowling lanes, and mustachioed photo booth props of office gatherings past will have to wait until the next yuletide. But before you despair, there are plenty of ways to get creative when it comes to throwing a virtual holiday party that’s fun, and not just another Zoom happy hour. We’ve come up with five ideas for how to host a Zoom holiday party that everyone will actually enjoy.
Or whiskey, or beer, or eggnog (with or without alcohol)…you get it. This year, opt to preserve everyone’s favorite part of the holiday party—free drinks—but in a classy, structured way, of course. Sign up for an official tasting experience or put together your own flights by taking recommendations from the team or choosing a theme to build your event around. If you want to up the ante, you could throw a charcuterie board contest, with the best-looking spread winning a small prize or company swag. Regardless, this is a low-key, low-pressure option that’s sure to deliver giggles from everyone’s tasting notes.
You know what everyone loves? Winning. So, this season, tap into your department’s competitive streak with a night of fun virtual games. Put together a trivia night, plan a holiday-themed scavenger hunt, play some workplace-specific pictionary, solve a murder mystery, or all of the above. Throw in some prizes (some seasonal Polar, perhaps?), and you’re good to go. ? ?
This could be the year the office learns how to make orecchiette. Plenty of skilled chefs, artists, and makers are holding real-time tutorials during quarantine, and taking a class could be a fun, interactive holiday experience for you and your officemates. Send everyone the supplies ahead of time (or provide the funds for them to purchase everything themselves) and tune in as an expert walks you all through how to bake a strata, plant a succulent terrarium, or paint a winter landscape. Keeping your crew busy will spare the awkward small talk—can’t chitchat when you all have treelines to trace—and by the end of the party, everybody has a tangible souvenir to show for it.
Coronavirus has ruined a lot of things, but escape rooms aren’t one of them. The pre-COVID team-building craze has made a solid transition to the virtual realm, since you can still solve puzzles and riddles online. With tons of different themes to choose from, virtual escape rooms are an immersive and engrossing way to keep your colleagues interacting from afar this holiday season. Break everyone up into teams and send them off into the digital wilderness—first one back wins.