When your team is spread out across the country, celebrating the holidays at a fancy location is probably out of the question. But you can throw a memorable virtual holiday party and make it as fancy as you want!

And yes, remote companies DO throw great holiday parties. Just check out this great piece from The Atlantic: Drink from Home: The Rise of the Remote Work Holiday Party.

Here’s how to come together to spread joy and cheer from the comfort of your home office with a virtual holiday party:

Send a Picture Invitation

You could send a quick text-only email to invite co-workers to the virtual holiday party, but that wouldn’t set a festive mood. Pictures speak a thousand words, so get creative with the invitation!

Head over to Canva.com or PicMonkey.com. They offer free holiday designs you can use to create a picture invitation. Enter in the date and how you’ll be celebrating (see below for ideas). When you send the invite email you can send just the picture with a funny festive subject line.

Help Co-Workers Get Into a Festive Mood

When you set the time of the meeting, include some prep time. This will give them a chance to stop their work and switch gears mentally. It’s hard to get into the holiday spirit when you work right up until the holiday party, right?

You can suggest that everyone leave their desks, unwind, and prepare their favorite beverage.  If your company sends presents, send a hot cocoa gift set or some other drink set!

Celebrate Everyone’s Accomplishments This Year

When you’re at a large holiday office party, the CEO usually gives a speech.  He talks about the yearly company accomplishments and thanks everyone for all of their hard work.  Instead of leaving this review up to your president, invite your co-workers to reflect on their own accomplishments from the year.  Include this in the picture invitation so everyone has time to prepare.

This is sure to put everyone in good spirits, right? They are proud of the work they’ve done, they get to talk about it, and then everyone gives them a virtual pat on the back. This helps build team spirit and teaches each other about the work you enjoy.

What’s a Party Without Presents

There are a few ways you could manage gifts.  There’s the traditional “Secret Santa,” where everyone is assigned one person to buy for.  You could have a price limit and instruct everyone to use Amazon to ship the gifts straight to the person’s house. No gift wrapping needed because we all love opening cardboard boxes, right?

Another idea is to ask everyone to buy a toy they would have loved to play with as a child. During the party, co-workers can show the toy and explain why their inner child loves it so much. Then, while others are sharing their story, wrap the present (include gathering gift wrapping materials during the party prep time). When the party is over, head over to a local Toys for Tots location and donate the present.

Share Holiday Traditions

Sure, you’ll talk about what everyone is doing for the holidays, but get more specific. Is there a tradition your family follows that you think is pretty cool?

Then during the party, share it!  Or is there a favorite holiday recipe you only prepare during this time of year? Share the recipe so that others can start making it, too.

Whoever is hosting the party can take notes of what is shared, and at the end of the conversation, give a recap. Also, you could send out an email so it can be referenced later.

Don’t Forget to Wear a Festive Outfit

You will be on a video conference call, so your attire can help set a festive mood. Here are a few suggestions that you could include in the picture invitation:

  • Everyone could show up wearing their favorite ugly Christmas sweaters.
  • Sit under your Christmas tree or have your holiday decorations in the background.
  • One person could play holiday music so that there is a festive feeling in the air.
  • Everyone could show up wearing the same festive color, Santa hats, or jingle bells.

This party will become memorable because it gets personal and is not all about work. It can become a tradition that you make time to celebrate with one another at the end of the year. You’ll share stories about work and life, and have the opportunity to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season face-to-face, virtually.

Reader, how will you celebrate the holidays with your virtual team? Leave a comment down below and let us know about your virtual holiday party!