The holiday season is a time for celebration, joy, and connection with loved ones. It is a time to come together and share in the warmth and cheer of the season and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Over the last half decade, the rate of people working remotely has increased over 150%. With this meteoric rise, it makes sense to be on the hunt for activities that keep your employee engaged.
This is not to say remote work and holiday seasons do not have their challenges, but despite these challenges, it is still important to find ways to celebrate the holiday season with friends and loved ones, even during a pandemic.
Here are some tips for hosting a successful remote holiday party using Zoom (or a similar video conferencing platform):
How to Host a Remote Holiday Party
- Send out invitations and set expectations.
Before you can start planning the details of your holiday party, you’ll need to invite your guests. Use a tool like Google Calendar or Evite to send out invitations and make sure to include all the necessary information, such as the date, time, and link to the Zoom call.
It’s also a good idea to set some ground rules and expectations for the party. For example, you could ask that all attendees have their cameras on and use their real names to facilitate conversation and help create a sense of community. You could also set a dress code (e.g., ugly holiday sweaters) to add fun and festivity to the event.
Plan the Agenda
Next, you’ll want to think about what you want to do during the party. Here are a few ideas you could include in hosting remote workers:
A virtual gift exchange: Have attendees bring a small, inexpensive gift to the party and do a Secret Santa-style exchange. You could use a tool like Elfster to organize the exchange.
A cooking or cocktail-making demonstration: Invite a chef or mixologist to lead a cooking or cocktail-making demonstration or have attendees prepare a dish or drink to share with the group.
Trivia or games: Host a holiday-themed trivia game or play other interactive games like charades or bingo.
Karaoke or a holiday movie watch party: Set up a karaoke session or watch a holiday movie together using a streaming service like Netflix Party.
Planning the agenda for how to host a remote holiday party (zoom holiday party) can be quite tasking and messy if the necessary steps are not put in place. To ensure that you’re on the right track, the following are additional requirements you should consider when planning to host a remote holiday part.
One of the challenges of hosting a virtual holiday party is creating a festive atmosphere. Here are a few ways you can set the mood:
Decorate your space: Encourage attendees to decorate their spaces and share pictures or a virtual tour of their decorations. You could also have a contest for the best-decorated space.
Use holiday-themed backgrounds and filters: Zoom offers a range of holiday-themed backgrounds and filters that you can use to set the tone for your party.
Play holiday music: Create a playlist of holiday tunes in the background during the party.
- Encourage socialization and interaction.
One of the benefits of in-person holiday parties is the opportunity to socialize and interact with others. You can replicate this experience to some extent by encouraging attendees to talk to each other and participate in activities. Here are a few ways you can encourage interaction:
Use breakout rooms: Zoom allows you to divide attendees into smaller groups for more intimate conversations. You could use breakout rooms for activities like the gift exchange or trivia game.
Use the chat function: Encourage attendees to use the chat function to communicate with each other and share holiday wishes or funny memes.
Play icebreaker games: Start the party with a few icebreaker games to help attendees get to know each other better and break the ice.
- Have fun and be flexible
The most important thing to remember when hosting a remote holiday party is to have fun and be flexible. This may not be the same as an in-person party, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable.
- Test your technology beforehand
Before the party, make sure to test your technology to ensure that everything is working properly. This includes your internet connection, audio, and video. You should also make sure that all attendees have the necessary equipment and know how to use it.
- Consider time zone differences
If you have attendees joining from different time zones, you’ll need to consider that when planning the party. You may want to choose a time that works for most people, or you could host multiple sessions to accommodate different time zones. Below, you’ll find the best approach to tackle the challenges of having multiple people from different time zones.
The first approach is to:
- Determine the time that works best for most of your guests: Look at the time zones of all your guests and choose a time that works for most of them. You might have to make some sacrifices and choose a time that isn’t ideal for everyone but try to find a time that works for as many people as possible.
- Communicate the time clearly: Make sure to communicate the time of the party clearly to all your guests, including any necessary time zone conversions. Consider sending out a calendar invite or using a tool like Every Time Zone to help people visualize the time in their own time zone.
- Consider offering multiple time slots: If you have guests in different time zones and can’t find a time that works for everyone, consider offering multiple time slots for the party. This way, everyone can choose the time that works best for them.
- Be flexible and understanding: Remember that not everyone can attend the party simultaneously, and that’s okay. Be flexible and understanding if some people can’t make it at the designated time. Consider setting up a way for people to catch up on the festivities later (such as recording the party and sharing it with those who couldn’t make it).
By considering time zone differences and being flexible and understanding, you can host a successful and enjoyable remote holiday party for all your guests.
- Provide food and drinks
Food and drinks are an important part of any holiday party, including virtual ones. You could have attendees bring their own snacks and drinks or send out care packages with holiday treats and goodies. Alternatively, you could have a group meal or cocktail hour where attendees can share recipes or show off their culinary skills.
- Consider Accessibility
Hosting a remote holiday party can be a great way to connect with friends and colleagues, especially during a time when in-person gatherings may not be possible. However, it’s important to consider accessibility when planning a remote holiday party, as not everyone may be able to participate fully due to physical or technological limitations. Here are some tips for making your remote holiday party as accessible as possible:
- Use closed captions: Closed captions can help those who are deaf or hard of hearing follow along with the conversation. You can enable closed captions on Zoom by going to “settings” and selecting “closed captions.”
- Use a good microphone and internet connection: A good microphone and internet connection are essential for clear audio. This can help ensure that everyone can hear and be heard during the party.
- Provide options for visual displays: Some people may have difficulty seeing small screens or may prefer to see visual aids or slides. Consider sharing your screen or using a screen-sharing tool to display visual aids.
- Consider using a transcription service: A transcription service can provide a written record of the conversation, which can be helpful for those who may have difficulty hearing or who may need to refer back to the conversation later.
- Make sure the lighting is good: Good lighting can help ensure that everyone’s facial expressions and gestures are visible, which can be helpful for those who rely on visual cues to communicate.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that everyone can fully participate in your remote holiday party and enjoy the celebration.
- Have a backup plan
As with any event, things don’t always go according to plan. It’s a good idea to have a backup plan in case of technical issues or other unforeseen circumstances. This could include having a backup video conferencing platform or a backup date in case you need to reschedule.
Hosting a remote holiday party on Zoom is the ultimate way to spread cheer and bring people together, even when they can’t be physically present with one another. With a little planning and a lot of creativity, you can transform your Zoom call into a festive and fun-filled celebration that will leave a lasting impression on your guests.
To host the ultimate remote holiday party on Zoom, start by setting the stage with a visually appealing background and holiday decorations. Next, send out invitations and set a clear agenda for the event, including activities, games, and any special guests or performances.
During the party, make sure to keep the energy high by leading interactive activities and games, such as holiday trivia or a virtual gift exchange. Don’t forget to have a variety of holiday-themed snacks and drinks on hand to keep everyone fueled up and in the holiday spirit.
And last but not least, make sure to end the party on a high note by thanking your guests for joining and spreading holiday cheer. With a little bit of effort and a lot of holiday cheer, your remote holiday party on Zoom is sure to be a hit!