Fun In-Person & Virtual Holiday Games
With the holidays almost here, it’s the time of year to be of good cheer. And it’s more important than ever to help your team focus on the positive this holiday season.
To bring your colleagues together, whether in-person, virtually, or a hybrid of the two, and make the most of any event, you’ll want to be prepared with some great virtual holiday game ideas. From twists on old classics, to virtual gift-giving, to our popular virtual holiday games, these 12 virtual holiday party ideas for work can help you plan a memorable, camaraderie-filled holiday event.
Solve a Puzzling Holiday Mystery
In the new Puzzled for the Holidays: A Virtual Mystery Game, disaster has struck Santa’s workshop! Production has ground to a halt, and the North Pole is stumped. Is it the work of a disgruntled elf? A fiendish Grinch? Your team will have to play through familiar board games and puzzles to uncover the culprit’s identity and save the day. And your group can play any of our virtual games even if you’re all in the same place, making them a great option for any set-up.
Incorporate food into your event, whether you all get together around a table IRL, or your team gathers virtually with some food of their own. The simplest option is to let colleagues expense their meal for the party (within reason, obviously).
If you want to get a little more into it, you can coordinate snacks or meals based on a theme. For example, you might all get international wintery snacks, like latkes, Vietnamese pho, or, uh, fermented shark from Iceland. You can also arrange to send your team a box of snacks, either based on a theme or simply full of fun treats, ahead of time. Just check into food allergies before sending anything.
And Beverages, Too
There are plenty of fun ways to zhuzh up the libations for those who choose to. If you’re going virtual, have everyone make their own favorite drink at home, which gives them each a chance to talk about their creation. Or encourage your team’s creativity by sending each team member a mixology kit. You can even hire a mixologist for an in-person or virtual event. In the latter case, virtual mixologists will talk participants through making different cocktails and explain their history and cultural significance.
Virtual Holiday Scavenger Hunt
Joy Around the World Virtual Holiday Scavenger Hunt sends you on a global search for glad tidings and good cheer. Virtually visit international locations and answer fun questions about what you find. You might look for Scrooge at Charles Dickens’ London home, peek at a snow-capped pagoda in Japan, swing by the North Pole, and more.
Put a fun holiday twist on the classic kids’ game Hangman. Using a whiteboard, or Zoom’s built-in Whiteboard feature, one person can draw the simple gallows and blanks for the letters of the hidden word. Then, for anyone playing virtually, Screen Share with them and let players take turns guessing letters. As they get them wrong, draw parts of a snowman instead of a person.
Another simple-to-translate classic, thanks to Whiteboard and Screen Share. One person on each team can draw something related to the holiday season—a wreath, a menorah, Black Friday, and so on—while the rest of the team guesses. (Bonus: The difficulty of “drawing” on the Whiteboard using a mouse often adds an unintended level of hilarity to games like this.)
Whether you call them White Elephant, Yankee Swap, or a game by another name, gift-exchanging festivities are a holiday staple. And you can still play them, even if you’re not all in the same room staring at a pile of mystery presents.
Here’s one way to do it:
- Before the event, each participant picks something they can purchase online, like a gift certificate or a gift. Agree on a price range and level of wackiness beforehand. Some groups like to exchange practical gifts, while others prefer goofy gag gifts.
- Everyone sends the event organizer the link to their gift.
- Assign each participant a number. The organizer can do so before the event using a random-number generator. Or you can do it during the event by picking numbers out of a hat.
- During the event, everyone picks gifts in order of their numbers. When it’s your turn, you choose another participant.
- The organizer then reveals the gift that participant chose. Describe it, show a picture of it, or share a link in the Zoom chat.
- If you don’t like your gift, you can steal one other gift that has already been revealed.
- If someone steals your gift, you get to choose another.
- The game continues until everyone ends up with a gift.
- Afterward, each participant knows who should receive the gift they chose before the game.
Of course, you can always skip the stealing part and opt for a more straightforward, Secret Santa–style game. Whatever floats your festive boat!
Holiday Trivia Game
In ‘Tis the Season for a Virtual Holiday Game, you’ll tackle humorous trivia questions and challenges about a wide range of holiday topics, from tasty treats to seasonal songs. Teams also create lasting memories in a round of creative photo ops.
Whether you devote an entire event to it or sprinkle it into meetings leading up to the end of the year, keep it simple with your own holiday trivia. You can put together trivia about holiday movies or surprising holiday facts. Or to put a personal spin on it, ask colleagues ahead of time for silly or embarrassing holiday stories, and make a game out of those. Then compete in groups or individually, and award the winner with a prize.
Zoom in Holiday Style
This is less a game and more just a fun thing to do. In the lead-up to the holidays, your team can get into the spirit with holiday Zoom backgrounds. Customizing your Zoom to a theme offers a low-effort, high-impact way to boost morale and enjoy fun surprises, literally in the background of whatever else you decide to do! If you need help changing your Zoom background, check out these helpful tips for using Zoom.
Ugly Sweater Contest
A virtual or in-person contest to show off the ugliest holiday or winter sweater will have your team laughing and groaning in no time. Feel free to give players free reign to add hats, props, and working holiday lights. You can then have colleagues vote and give small prizes for things like funniest, ugliest, and most artistic costumes. And dressing up is a nice addition to every other option on this list. (Just make sure you try harder than that guy up there.)
Name That Tune
Did you know you can play music through Zoom? When you Screen Share, click the Advanced Tab up top. Click the Music or Computer Sound Only button, and Zoom will share the audio playing on your computer. Prepare a holiday playlist in advance, or pull one up on your preferred music service, and let players guess each song by playing a short snippet for them.