‘Tis the season for fun, festivities, and office holiday parties! With a bit of thought and planning, this year’s party will be one to remember and engaging for every employee, in-person or virtual.

Sending invitations to everyone doesn’t have to be the same old “office memo,” email, or Slack. Invite your team to dress up to recreate a holiday classic “family portrait” and send postcard invitations for the celebration. Going green and want to send invitations via email or text? Evite is an easy way to send via email and easily keep track of RSVPs. Paperless Post is another virtual option that looks and feels like you’re opening an envelope card with their fun animations.

Now that you’ve taken care of inviting everyone start planning to make this year’s party the best yet! Here are six ideas to add a little flavor to your holiday mixer:

Ugly Sweater Holiday Party

Who doesn’t love a good, holiday-inspired, ugly sweater? This Christmas, throw a company Ugly Sweater Christmas Party in the office, or virtually,

For in-person fun, have door raffles and a voting booth, holding an ugly award ceremony toward the end of the party. Ask participants to vote for their favorite ugly sweater from various categories:

  • tackiest DIY sweater,
  • funniest concept,
  • most original, or
  • team spirit

Award several colleagues with prizes such as gift cards to local restaurants or coffee shops. Want to go over and above, or just be “a little extra?” Give out ugly sweater holiday-themed medals or trophies to each winner.

Celebrating virtually? Send your employees a holiday background for their Zoom room to create a sense of togetherness and to capture that photo-worthy screenshot of the team!

Help your team members prepare to don the ugliest apparel. Check out these ugly holiday sweaters to take the pressure off of having to rummage the local thrift market or get crafty with a DIY.

Cookie Swap

When you think of Christmas, do cookies come to mind right away? Sugar, snickerdoodle, spritz, oh my! So many awesome recipe options!

In the invite to in-person office employees, ask each person to bring a dozen cookies and print several recipe cards of their favorite holiday cookies.

Set up a festive table for display and sampling, then provide each person a festive to-go box to take some home.

Share the yumminess with virtual employees by sending company-branded cookies to spread good cheer and LOTS of sugar.

Secret Santa

A good Secret Santa is a Christmas party favorite! Include in the invitation the budget range, specific category, and parameters for the exchange. Be clear about expectations and appropriate goods to exchange, and then let the fun begin!

Elfster is an great tool for employees to randomly choose Secret Santas between each other and even create wish lists. With the convenience of Amazon shopping guides, employees working from a distance can easily participate.

Need some gift ideas to share with the team? Here are some co-worker gift ideas at every price point.

Volunteer Together Holiday Outing

Spread good cheer with your team members this holiday season by taking a few hours out of the office to serve the community together. Find local charities to give back at Volunteer Match. After a day of serving together, provide a team lunch or happy hour to continue the camaraderie and celebrate the season.

Even apart, we’re in this together. Ask virtual team members to find a local food bank, charity, or hospital to serve with their family, honoring their time “on the clock” and celebrating them with an end-of-the-day virtual happy hour to cheer for the season.

Instead of an office or virtual gift exchange, invite everyone to donate to a local charity or organization, whether it’s a monetary donation that is then made on behalf of your company or to collect items, such as new, unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots.

Holiday-Themed Book Club

Invite your employees to participate (on the clock, during specified hours) in an interactive book club. Provide a list of suggested books to read and a time and space (or a dedicated Zoom room) to gather together to discuss. Here are Oprah’s top book club questions to spark discussion amongst co-workers.

For clubs meeting in-person, be sure to provide drinks, snacks, and a comfortable (and festive) place to meet and discuss.

Door Prizes and Raffles

Door prizes and raffles make a festive addition to any company party. Who doesn’t love winning something? Gift prizes that fit your budget and what your employees will appreciate most. A few employee favorites include:

  • Gift cards
  • Tech gadgets
  • Fancy chocolate
  • Paid days off
  • Coffee mugs
  • Tickets to a game or show

How you choose to celebrate the season has endless possibilities. Who you celebrate this season will benefit your company culture and collaboration headed into the New Year!

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