Like everything in 2020, the annual office holiday party has to be reconsidered and reevaluated.

After all, while anyone can play the Prince song, none of us can party exactly like it’s 1999 in the year of Coronavirus. Still, it is important (maybe more important) to get together with employees and their families, strengthening relationships among colleagues, celebrating a year of good work under extraordinary circumstances, and looking ahead to better things. We just might not be able to gather physically.

Hosting parties in the virtual space can be just as much fun as when the team gets together in person. It just takes some extra thought and sometimes a unique way of looking at games and activities. As a bonus, there’s no designated driver needed.

Sococo helps teams connect in a remote world, whether these teams are spread apart throughout one city, one state, or even throughout the world and on numerous time zones.

10 Inventive Ideas for Planning a Remote Holiday Party

1. Create a “Holiday Floor” for Your Virtual Office

As our former Andy Tryba writes for WorkRemote, “The first key to throwing a remote party is to make it ‘feel’ like an in-person event. Virtual worlds work great for this purpose — since the skeuomorphic depiction of a space tricks the brain to thinking people are in the same physical room. We use Sococo and it works great.”

Want to take your office floor plan to the next level? Create a space specifically for the holiday party. Give each room a festive appeal related to the holidays — for example, “Hot Cocoa Room,” “Toyland,” “Santa’s Helpers,” “Dreidel Spin Room,” “Cookie Corner,” etc.

And remember that your staff may celebrate all different holidays — Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and more — so foster a space for sharing everyone’s beloved traditions. Not only will it add fun to your party, but it will further bond and strengthen the connection with your team.

2. Holiday Playlists — Let the Holiday Music Play

Get your holiday groove on with a good ol’ holiday playlist. There’s plenty of ready-made playlists to stream via Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, and other channels. Or you can let your staff choose their own songs to put into rotation and then play the list in the background during your video chat.

The nice thing is that everyone on staff has a say, which makes this collaborative and a team-building effort (which is the whole point of the holiday party to begin with). The bad thing about a Holiday Playlist with everyone chiming in on their favorite, is that you may wind up with two hours of nothing but Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

3. Get Your Holiday Groove On with a Dance Party

Even in a virtual setting, your staff can let loose their fa-la-la on the dance floor. Set up at an online office space or video conference for a fun party or even a dance-off.

Pump up the volume on a staff playlist or other holiday hits like George Michael’s “Last Christmas” and Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song.”

4. Video Competitions Bring Out Extra Cheer

Competition is a great way to encourage team bonding. Have fun with a lip sync battle, ugly sweater contest, a name-that-tune game, or a company-wide video with a section of a song or a sketch. Get creative! These kinds of contests can actually work better in the virtual setting where people can take full advantage of technology and tools for creation. (TikTok, anyone?)

5. Cookie Baking Wars

In the year of sourdough starter kits where everyone learned how to cook like (semi-) professional chefs — what could be more timely than a baking contest? Swap the bread for a variety of cookies… sugar cookies, gingerbread people, reindeer and snowflake-shaped treats… the options are endless (and hopefully delicious).

Since it’s a virtual game, make the contest about best-looking cookies instead of best-tasting. You can even create scrumptious categories like Best Frosting, Best Sprinkles, Most Creative, etc.

6. Themed Scavenger Hunt

Take advantage of the dedicated rooms the Sococo platform offers. Create a special holiday floor, designate a room as your starting point, and offer instructions and a clue to decipher before the team can move on to the next room.

7. Virtual Secret Santa

Is it even the holidays if no one’s playing Secret Santa? The virtual version of this game starts off much the same: you pick a random name of a colleague but instead of making the selection out of a hat, use an online gift exchange generator. As a group, set a budget, pick a date, and decide if you’d prefer to send packages through the mail or swap online gift cards.

8. Virtual White Elephant Party

A White Elephant Party is basically the quirky cousin of Secret Santa gift-giving. Either the gifts are strange (impractical or even odd) or they’re so bad they’re funny. These types of gift exchanges are probably best suited to a team that may already be close-knit and can appreciate the humor in it.

Note: If you’re planning on incorporating the “steal” element (where participants can claim a previously opened gift for their own), it will be easiest for gifts to remain online gift cards or internet subscriptions.

9. Workspace Decoration Contest

Just because team members may not be walking past physical cubicles doesn’t mean you can’t show off your festive spirit. Dress up your home workspace with twinkling lights, holly, stockings or other holiday decor that will feel fun on video conferences. You could also challenge employees to come up with the best Zoom background for the season.

10. Elf on the Shelf Quarantine Game

Elf of the Shelf is an office game absolutely everyone can enjoy. No need to look for a new place to hide the elf everyday as the answer will always remain the same. The elf is in quarantine.

This also works for Mensch on a Bench. And you can even set up a specially designated quarantine room for the Christmas Elf and the Hanukkah Mensch in Sococo.

Whether your team is scattered throughout the world, bringing them together in a festive-themed Sococo online office space is the perfect way to celebrate the holidays virtually. Learn more about building your own Sococo online office for work as well as yuletide fun.