Remote work, working from different locations, international cooperation, and last but not least Corona. There are many reasons why a Christmas party should take place online in 2020. At first glance, a virtual Christmas party doesn't sound that fun, but with the right tips, tricks and tools and a little creativity, the digital company party can still be a great success.
Here we go: Until recently, it was unthinkable for many that virtual meetings could also have nice sides. And even if personal meetings are irreplaceable, in 2020 new approaches for a digital "we-feeling" are more in demand than ever. We at Theyo have already been able to sweeten the virtual events of many teams and organizations with our online tastings . We tried out a lot, learned a lot and are now prepared for the Christmas season. We are happy to share the most exciting learnings and the best ideas with you, so that your Christmas party is also a good memory!
Invite Only: the right invitation makes the differenceA boring calendar invitation doesn't exactly put your colleagues or employees in a party mood. How about a free virtual invite instead? Or - to build a bridge to real life - even a physical invitation card? Whether digital or "real": a nice invitation with information on the dress code, the food and other preparatory measures makes a lot more impression than a boring meeting invitation. Tip: make sure to filter for free designs when sending virtual invitations. These are available, for example, from Punchbowl or from services such as Canva .
Spoiled for choice: Which is the right tool?In the meantime, in 2020 alone, we have made over 1,500 employees a little bit happier with our team events andchocolate boxes . We probably used every conceivable tool for this. From Skype to Teams, Google Hangouts, Whereby and Zoom, everything was included. Aside from potential privacy concerns, Zoom was our favorite, especially for larger groups (200+) and breakout sessions. As always, when choosing the tool, the question is what you really need or what is possible at all. For example, if you are only celebrating with a smaller team, virtual rooms may not be that important. Even with large groups, it can be nice to stay in one “room” for the entire event. However, then of course the usual small talk falls a bit flat.
No Christmas party without Christmas JumperAsk your team to wear something festive. A Santa hat, a Christmas jumper or shirt, festive jewelry or reindeer ears. Even if it sounds a bit silly, it's just such little things that can contribute to a relaxed atmosphere. During the celebration, you can vote on which person wears the best Christmas party outfit and award virtual prizes. You can make the selection directly with Zoom using the survey tool or with external tools such as Mentimeter or Google Forms.
A virtual Christmas party that everyone likesAdmittedly, we are of course biased. Nevertheless, after so many virtual chocolate tastings , we can say that almost everyone likes chocolate. In contrast to alcohol - which for various reasons is not always well received at Christmas parties - chocolate is harmless and super delicious. But even without chocolate, the Christmas party can of course be a success ;-). In that case, you could do a cooking session together or everyone could bring their own favorite food. Sending a cooking box in advance would also be a nice idea.
But if you decide to go for the chocolate, here is a brief note on our own behalf. A chocolate tasting is particularly good at the beginning of the Christmas party because it spreads a good mood and is a good "icebreaker"; especially for colleagues who may not know each other that well.
Virtual dinner in breakout roomsAt a Christmas party, the food is often the focal point around which everything is planned. Why should it be any different virtually? At the virtual Christmas party, for example, there could be several courses and the teams can sit down differently at the virtual tables for each course. The idea: each table is a room, so that about 10 people “sit” together in each room. To make the whole thing a little more visual, you can work with Google slides parallel to the session, for example. A table with chairs, food, etc. can already be shown on the film. Each person in the digital space then pushes their picture onto a "chair" and it is also clear who the direct interlocutors are. We have already tested this at a team event and found it very entertaining.
Themes for breakout sessionsEspecially when there are newer colleagues in the team, it can help to give a few suggestions for discussion in advance. Around the festive season, it is of course a good idea to prepare a series of discussions about this topic. For example, to get started, team members can exchange ideas about how they and their families are spending the holidays, what food they are eating or – in general – whether they are celebrating Christmas at all. And in that case, of course, what they do instead. As soon as these icebreaker topics are processed, your own topics will certainly arise. Otherwise, you can always have a few more topics up your sleeve that you, as moderators, can place in the individual virtual rooms in between. If you decide to start with a chocolate tasting, for example, a suitable pairing could be offered and discussed in the rooms. So a (non-alcoholic) wine, a craft beer or even a coffee. This could also be discussed afterwards in small groups.
By the way: many companies – including Theyo – do not hold their Christmas parties until January. The advantage is obvious! In addition to the larger selection of service providers and a free choice of dates, the pre-Christmas stress is over and there is a great start to the new year!
Whatever you decide, have fun with it!