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‘Tis the season to plan a company holiday party! A festive company event is a great way to wrap up yet another (hopefully successful) year and get to know your team members on a more casual basis. Before the pandemic, company holiday party ideas mostly had to do with catering to all diets, being inclusive, and choosing the right location. However, company parties have shifted to an all-virtual holiday model last year. All of a sudden, party planners focused on activities, virtual audience engagement, content, and the inner workings of planning virtual happy hours!

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This year, we’re entering some truly unchartered waters. On the one hand, we can return to planning in-person parties if we want to, so long as we plan a COVID-compliant event. But then again, company holiday parties have a great potential to become a superspreader event like no other. Take a recent company Christmas party in Norway, for example – it contributed to the biggest spread of the omicron variant outside of South Africa where it was first detected.

So what is a good team leader to do? Is the holiday spirit about keeping people safe or is it about forgetting about the world’s troubles for a few hours? Last year, the answer was loud and clear: go virtual – or take a year off from celebrating. This year, the answer is not so straightforward. Virtual, in-person, or hybrid, one truth remains, though; whatever company holiday party ideas you have running through your head, keep the event small.

company holiday party ideasCompany Holiday Party Ideas: Virtual Is Safest

Virtual events don’t contribute to the spread of the virus, but they can be infectious in other, better ways. We’re talking about laughter, connection, and fun, of course! As long as you take good care of your attendees, keep them engaged, and host the party on one of the best event platforms that fit your needs, your attendees won’t feel like they’re missing out at all.

Take us, for example! Endless Events is an all-remote company and it has been for years before the pandemic. But that doesn’t stop us from coming up with amazing company holiday party ideas! Every year, we leave our company events feeling more connected and energized than before.

Last year, we published a list of virtual holiday party ideas. And they still stand today! At a virtual holiday party, the focus should predominantly be on sharing some kind of an experience. Why not send your team members a party-in-the-box, as AJ Williams suggested on the #EventIcons episode about experiential virtual events? Anything goes: hosting a trivia quiz, escape room, charades, dancing, listening to live music.

And since we’re on a roll here, here are some extra suggestions: have your guests dress up in a costume, introduce their pets, show off their homes, or vote on fun polls.

Keep In-Person Parties Intimate!

Despite the uncertainty, in-person holiday parties are coming back. Companies that have up to 50 employees are more likely to be seriously considering meeting like in the good old days. Especially those who have employees who are less likely to have severe complications in case they do end up contracting COVID-19. However, meeting face-to-face is still far from a given.

COVID-19 Considerations: Test, Test, Test!

This year, our in-person company holiday party ideas turned into friendly COVID-compliance suggestions. If you live in a warm enough climate, host the event outdoors. Alternatively, provide adequate ventilation and ensure that the event’s layout maximizes safety and security. Additionally, you can suggest to your team to get tested for COVID-19 before the company holiday party even if they’re vaccinated – just in case.

Skip the karaoke machine and loud music this year. Needless to say, sharing a microphone is definitely in the recipe for the perfect superspreader event!

Break Up The Parties Into Smaller Groups

Keeping in-person events small and intimate is the epitome of all company holiday party ideas this year. Instead of having one big gathering, consider breaking up the party into smaller events. A little party for each department, for example. This allows for attendees to really get to bond with their teammates and get to know them better. After all, we all know that it can be hard to get to know your coworkers at huge events. The sheer volume of people can be daunting, especially in times of increased health risks.

company holiday party ideas

Company Holiday Party Ideas: How About A Hybrid Event?

Hybrid events are a great way to bring your team together; especially if you’ve got a team joining from all over the world or your company’s headcount is just too high to throw an in-person company holiday party. Making decisions for your guests is so 2019. Instead, let them choose their own adventure! And if The Office‘s Ryan Howard could throw a hybrid event launch party with a choppy live stream back in 2007 (season 4, episode 5/6 – you’re welcome), so can you!

As we’ve discussed in the overview of our hybrid models, hybrid events come in all shapes and sizes. You can either host a hybrid event in a studio and stream it to individuals in the safety of their homes (the Star model), or you can organize several watch parties at several cities all across the country – or the world (the Satellite)!

Alternatively, you can also host a massive in-person event and give your guests an option to tune in from home (the Planet or the Moon). The choice is yours to make and it should be guided by your guests’ preferences.

Company Holiday Party Ideas: The Basics!

Corporate company parties aren’t just a yearly obligation. It’s a time to come together. Use your time together to send a message to your team. You can touch on excitement for the next year and recap some of the highlights of the last. Whatever you do, be authentic and make sure your party embodies your core values and culture.

Don’t Draw It Out!

The holiday season is busy enough and people’s attention spans are shorter than ever. Keep your party fun and to the point. Two to three hours is the perfect amount of time for your company holiday party. Better yet, make sure the party is something attendees can come and go to as they wish (see, virtual events have perks after all!). Keep your speeches short and make sure there are activities available from start to finish so no matter what time your guests arrive there is something to do. 

It’s Okay To Have No Company Holiday Party Ideas

Whether you’re planning a virtual, hybrid, or in-person event, there are countless company holiday party ideas to choose from. But even if you have none, that’s completely understandable this year. Many companies are opting out of partying this year or are instead choosing to send gifts to their beloved employees.

Perhaps you and your team can celebrate in a more low-key fashion this year. Instead of having fun in December, you can set your gaze on the future and what 2022 holds. There will be many more opportunities to party, and perhaps you can use any of these company holiday party ideas then!

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Anja Grcar

Author Anja Grcar

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