Office holiday parties are a timeless tradition. It's a time to celebrate the year that was, connect "outside of work," and let loose. We all know the guy at the office who drinks too much every year, the woman who buys the best Secret Santa present every year, and the one(s) who duck out early every year. Heck, you might even be one of those people! But this year, everything is different. For the first time in our lives, the company holiday party isn't happening because of the pandemic.
But what if it could still happen, virtually, on Zoom? When my mom passed away in March, we had no choice but to host a virtual memorial service for her. A few days later, I realized many other families would be struggling with how to memorialize lost loved ones during the pandemic, so I launched Remembering.Live, which has already helped hundreds of grieving families through online funerals. Soon, we realized people would also want to celebrate happy occasions online, so we launched Celebrating.Live to host online weddings and bar mitzvahs.
Now, it's holiday season, so of course we created robust options to host your company holiday party online. But you don't need to hire us to have an amazing office holiday party on Zoom. All it takes is a little creativity and willingness to think outside of the box! So here are five ways to make your 2020 office holiday party memorable, entertaining, and fun for everyone -- without any risk of drunk driving!
1. Use Cameo for personalized shout-outs and live celebrity entertainment.
Cameo is a tool that allows people to book shout-outs from celebrities, ranging from A-list actors like Mandy Moore to rock stars to reality TV has-beens. Is your team based in one city and into sports? Book a local popular professional athlete. Is your team primarily older? Book a TV star from a classic show like The Brady Brunch. Cameo even has a reality-TV star turned author and entrepreneur. And you can now book live appearances from your favorite celebrities--so they can stop by during your holiday party to say hi. There's truly something for everyone.
2. Host a magic act or improv comedy troupe.
Zoom is tough for "typical" party entertainment like bands and DJ's, because people probably aren't going to want to dance alone at home. But entertainment such as magicians and improv comedy can work really well in a virtual setting, since they're interactive at their core. Guests won't just be entertained--they'll be part of the entertainment! Pro-tip: Give the magician or comedians you book insider info prior to the event to make their acts even funnier.
3. Host a game show, with prizes!
Bring in an MC (or handpick the most outgoing, charismatic person at your office to MC) for your own version of a game show. You can do Family Feud with two teams competing, Kahoot with everyone answering trivia questions, or your own version of The Newlywed Game, where contestants go to a breakout room to try to predict what their colleagues will say when asked predetermined questions. With prizes for winning contestants and a "host" with a big personality, a game show can be a huge hit.
4. Use breakout rooms smartly.
At your offline holiday parties of old, 50 people didn't gather together to have one conversation. So they shouldn't for your online holiday party, either. Instead, use Zoom's Breakout Rooms feature to set up groups of 10 to 15 people per "room." One room might be the ugly sweater contest while another is Christmas carol karaoke, a third is a craft activity, a fourth is your Secret Santa gift exchange, and a fifth is casual conversation. Then, rotate rooms every 15 minutes. A company with 200 employees can still have everyone engaged at once in 20 different Zoom breakout rooms!
5. Try a wine or cocktail tasting.
Shipping alcohol across state lines is next to impossible, but if your employees are mostly based in one state, you can send people wine or scotch samples and host a tasting during your party. You can even have an expert on hand to walk everyone through the story behind each wine. The nice thing is, food and beverage is usually a huge expense for offline holiday parties, so this can be done virtually and still save money.
These five ideas are scratching the surface, as the possibilities are truly endless! Host your own "gingerbread cookie wars," have an at-home scavenger hunt, have a year-end gratitude share session, create your own sundae-making stations, or play Jackbox. With a positive attitude, some technical know-how, and a bit of creativity, you can probably have the best office holiday party you've ever had, all from the comfort of everyone's own home!