It’s safe to say that the annual Christmas party won’t be the same this year. With social gatherings of more than six impossible, what are the alternative Christmas party ideas so you can celebrate the end of a difficult year with your staff?

Here are some of the top ideas we have found from our clients and partners:

Overcome video fatigue

Many of us are now sick of video calls and online quizzes have lost their novelty. However, hosting a virtual Christmas party is one of the simplest and most obvious ways to connect with your team. But it doesn’t have to be boring. There are many inventive activities you can do as a team online including:

  • Chocolate making party: staff can collectively take part in a group activity having been sent ingredients in advance. This can be transferred to any crafty activity to do at home (ginger bread house making / wreath making / cake making etc.).
  • Virtual escape room: teams can search for hidden clues and work together to find their way out of the virtual room. Macmillan is running a virtual escape room which not only supplies you with the resources but also helps them to raise money at the same time.
  • Murder mystery: numerous apps are available to help your staff work as a team to solve the mystery. You can get props sent out in advance and costumes at the ready!
  • Virtual fancy dress party: with prizes for the best costumes. Set a theme, whether it be based on a TV series or a decade. You could run the party in tandem with a quiz from that decade (try music rounds or picture rounds to make it more interesting).
  • Afternoon tea; where all staff are supplied with a hamper and treats in advance. Allocate a time and then all sit down together to enjoy it. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration for ideas and suppliers.
  • Karaoke: if your team are up for a bit of singing this can be a great way to get everyone in the festive mood.
  • Virtual meal: everyone orders their favourite takeaway, timed to arrive at the same time, and you can enjoy a virtual meal and drink together.

Awards for staff which don’t break the bank

This year has been difficult for everyone with furlough, redundancy and ongoing uncertainty. All employees will need a boost to see them into the new year and what lies ahead. Rewarding staff for their efforts this year will go a long way. This doesn’t have to be expensive; you can award each member of the team with their own accolade – recognising their hard work. For example, “Team player of the year” or “most positive person in the office”. Staff will feel valued and it will add a bit of fun to your video call. We’ve put together some free award certificate templates for you to customise here.

Charitable donations

You may want to canvass opinion amongst staff to see whether they would prefer that any party budget is re-directed towards charitable causes. Making a donation on their behalf, and on behalf of your business, could be more meaningful to workers this year. Ask them to choose charities and make donations on their behalf. Many of our clients are looking to local food banks this Christmas. Visit the Trussell Trust to find your local bank.

Keep the secret Santa tradition going

Just because you’re not swapping gifts in person doesn’t mean that this tradition has to end. There are numerous gifting sites, and those specialising in Secret Santa presents. Arrange a time for the team to get together on video and open gifts in succession. Try to encourage staff to buy local this year (see below).

Eat in to help out

Going out for the Christmas meal won’t be possible, but you can still support local businesses by buying vouchers for takeaways for your team. Treat them to a gift voucher for a meal for their so that they don’t have to worry about cooking. Deliveroo and Just Eat both offer gift vouchers.

Shop local for gifts

If you are buying gifts for staff (or clients), it’s now more important than ever to shop local and support your local businesses. Many local magazines are producing Christmas gift guides this year showcasing local businesses. You can also use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to find suppliers using hashtags such as #shoplocal or your local area, for example #guildford #madeinGuildford #guildfordbusinesses. Also check out the Small Business Saturday campaign which champions local businesses on 4th December.

The gift of time

If budgets are tight and none of the above ideas would work in your business, then giving staff the simple gift of time is always a great idea. Offering everyone a day off for Christmas shopping, or to spend time with their families will be greatly received. If you stagger the days off then it shouldn’t impact your business.

Socially distanced get togethers

If you would prefer to get together with your team in person then you could consider a drive-in movie. There are numerous sites across the country offering classic movies from the (relative) comfort of your car. You could treat your team and their families to a night at the drive-in. One of our clients is also hosting a distanced Christmas decorating making party as part of their team meeting.

Set a team challenge

If your team are a competitive bunch why not set a 12 days of Christmas challenge for them to complete? It could raise money for charity at the same time. If they are sporty then how about a virtual relay where each employee has to complete a leg before passing the (virtual) baton to the next?  Virtual runner helps to track time and log mileage.

Or think about a Bake Off challenge where you set a different brief each week and award prizes for the best bakes? You can see all the recent recipes from the show on the Bake Off website – ask your team to have a go at recreating.

Hold smaller events

If your staff are still keen to meet in person, and you’re in a tier 1 area then you can still meet with up to six people indoors. If you’re in a tier 2 area then you can only meet outside. Don’t assume that everyone will be happy with this arrangement as some may feel uncomfortable getting together as a group. If you have a larger team then think about getting them together in smaller groups and hosting a series of events if you still want to meet in person. It’s important to remember that everyone has different views on socializing and this may not be the best idea for everyone.

Finally, for those staff who are continuing to come into work – how about hosting a ‘desk dinner’ or a ‘workstation lunch’ where you order in a nice meal for them to enjoy whilst still at work?

 

We would love to know if you have any other ideas, get in touch and tell us on our social media channels.