In the darkness of a Michigan December, I remember entering a large ballroom decorated with colorful ornaments; stars of silver and blue and balls of red and green adorned every table. Employees dressed as if they were attending a wedding, in formal suits and dark gowns of all kinds. There was a master of ceremonies, an elaborate plated dinner, and at the end of the evening, everyone got to take home a wintry snow globe. (As we walked out into what looked like a real, live version of said snow globe, of course.)

Now that was a company holiday party to remember.

Ah, the holidays. That time of year when darkness somehow makes us all lighter; when folks seem to be especially cheerful, generous, and kind. Those months when colorful light displays appear in storefronts and on neighbors’ houses. Depending upon where you are, the season may be cold. But our hearts are warm.

Christmas. Hanukkah. Kwanzaa. No matter the occasion, joy is most definitely in the air, and all kinds of celebrations are on tap in homes and in businesses.

For those who work in remote companies, it may seem as though the holidays aren’t as big of a deal, however. The buzz around a physical office simply isn’t present; there’s likely little watercooler talk about travel plans, coveted presents, or long-awaited family gatherings. At a time when many others are enjoying their workdays, distributed employees may begin to feel a bit left behind.

Here are just a few ideas to bring some good cheer to far-flung colleagues.

Your remote holiday party can be:

  • Gifted: Send employees a gift that they can’t open until the designated date. Inside, include a jingle bell or another fun noisemaker (among other goodies) to use on a holiday conference call.
  • Melodic: Find the best curation of festive music on YouTube, preferably with winter scenes or a burning fireplace, and share it with your team.
  • Delicious: Compile favorite family recipes into a Google Doc. (Why should you keep Aunt Deb’s gingerbread, Grandma Ruth’s latkes, or Uncle Dave’s eggnog all to yourself?)
  • Heartwarming: Share memorable holiday stories in recorded video clips and watch them together as a group.
  • Hilarious: Add childhood photos (crying on Santa’s lap, anyone?) to a Dropbox folder that the whole team can view while chatting. Try to guess who’s who.
  • Insightful: Teach others something new about your holiday tradition, whether it be religious, cultural, or something passed down in your family for generations.
  • Spirited: Take a remote team photo via screenshot on Skype while everyone wears goofy sweaters, reindeer antlers, santa hats, etc.
  • Sweet: Indulge your team’s sweet tooth by sending them some peppermint bark, amazing chocolate, or other local delicacy.
  • Grateful: Avoid too much talk about business, and instead, take this opportunity to round up a few of the year’s highlights, thank everyone for a job well done, and wish them the happiest of holidays! They’ve earned it.

These celebratory gestures will bring you closer as a team, and just might make your friends and family envious of your remote holiday party.

Have a fun idea to add to this remote holiday party mix? Leave it in the comments below. And if you try any of the above tips, please share the results with us!