• Riley Steinbach

Holiday Party Alternatives in 2020

2020 has been a chaotic year, and has accelerated change in the workforce. Many organizations have been faced with implementing remote work and/or flexible work for the first time. While many organizations have been able to embrace remote work, with holidays just around the corner, many organizations may be questioning how to address the annual holiday party.


Just because social distancing and remote work are in effect, this does not mean the holiday work party needs to be cancelled. Holiday parties are important - they build camaraderie within your team and celebrate the company’s success. In fact, about 51% of employees stated they would be upset if their holiday staff party got cancelled completely. Although your party will look different than in past years, there are several ways you can celebrate the holidays with your employees. Below, we provide some fun alternatives to the traditional in-person holiday party.

virtual party

1) Virtual parties

From everyone wearing ugly holiday sweaters to hosting a fun interactive game night, there are many possibilities to make your virtual office holiday party a success. There is a number of platforms online that host holiday themed game nights. For example, “Holiday Hijinks” (a game by the company Outback) allow teams to race against the clock and solve cerebral, physical, and skill-based challenges. This game can host up to 1000 employees and has over 80 festive challenges to bring your team together in celebrating the holidays. Some companies may not be able to host such a large virtual event, so we suggest hosting separate team or department events to make it more personalized and easier to manage.


Another unique idea is from the company Sourced Craft Cocktails which brings the holiday party to you. Their company creates a custom webpage for your organization which allows employees to select their cocktail of choice which will then be delivered to them on the day of the virtual event. There is a large menu to choose from (it also includes mocktail (non-alcoholic) options as well). Sourced Craft Cocktails even provides a virtual bartender that helps employees create their cocktails on the day of the event.


2) Virtual secret Santa

The rules are similar to regular secret Santa. Employees secretly pick the name of a colleague and buy a gift for them with the set price that the team or company decides on. The only difference is that instead of giving the gift to your recipient in person, you will be mailing it to their home. The host will be in charge of creating a spreadsheet with everyone’s mailing address so that the gift giver remains a secret. Once everyone has received their gifts in the mail and the event begins, you open your gift together on an online platform and go around employees guessing who your secret Santa is.


3) Vouchers and swag

In-person holiday parties can be expensive. To celebrate holiday cheer and the end of the 2020 year, companies can consider giving their employees some extra spending cash, extra time off, food vouchers for take-out, or company swag such as holiday mugs or chocolate. One study found that holiday perks in order of popularity include: a holiday party (36%), extra time off (28%), holiday bonus (26%), office close-down between Christmas and New Year’s Day (22%), an employee gift exchange (18%) and an employer-paid holiday meal (18%). Particularly in 2020, your employees will appreciate any extra effort your organization makes to help them feel valued and recognized.


What is your company doing instead of a holiday party in 2020? – Let us know!


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