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We may now be ankle-deep in the weirdest holiday season any of us can remember, but don’t worry if you’re still figuring out how to show your staff the appreciation they deserve after an incredibly trying year. To paraphrase the timeless words of Three Days Grace, it’s never too late to put great Christmas event ideas for work into action and round off 2020 on a positive note.
Let’s face facts — it has been a ridiculously difficult 12 months, and they have tested us all on so many levels. Feelings of social isolation and loneliness have gone through the roof, and then continued skywards, work-from-home orders have put paid to established processes and ways of getting the job done, with potentially detrimental impacts on everything from efficiency to confidence.
All of which means simply getting through to this point in time is a feat we should celebrate, and businesses should be keen to offer staff some seasonal rewards to acknowledge their achievements in the face of some serious obstacles. But can you really put on a fun, memorable and meaningful Christmas event for work when we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic? Thankfully, at Eventcube we believe the answer is a resounding yes, so deck the halls and prep the bells — here are nine Christmas event ideas for work that are guaranteed to, err, work. And if you missed our recent post on event planning tools that can make organising a breeze, we recommend taking a look at that, too.
Our 9 Christmas Event Ideas For Remote/Virtual Work are:
Home restaurant kits have been one of the success stories of 2020 — top quality dishes prepared by professionals delivered to homes for heating and eating. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the New Roaring Twenties have also given rise to a boom in home cocktail-making kits, and these can be a great way to bring people together when we can’t actually come together physically.
With a pre-paid link sent out to staff in advance so they can pick their chosen ingredients (don’t forget to offer non-alcoholic options), it’s a case of fixing the time for the video call and then handing over to a professional mixologist who can teach attendees how to fine tune the perfect tipple. Interested? Have a look at ClassBento, one of the leaders in the UK market.
Secret Santa is a long-standing office tradition for good reasons — it’s a fun and affordable way to ensure everyone gets a personal gift, helping cement bonds and letting people know how they are seen by colleagues. The good news is, just because you’re all working remotely this covert exchange of gestures doesn’t have to be put on hold.
The likes of Elfster and DrawNames can make the entire process smooth, quick and painless, allowing managers to set the budget and individual staff members to choose a wish list of possible gifts for others to give them. The added bonus here is that by reading through those lists everyone will get to know each other even better, which could be a particularly huge help for firms that have taken on new starters over the course of this year.
OK, so this is a bit like The Cocktail Party, only instead of booze think stuff like gingerbread houses, holly and ivy wreaths, tree decorations and nativity scenes. In fact, if you can put an ‘arts and craft’ label on it, and people can feasibly make the item in their living room, you can pick pretty much anything for the focal point here.
You’ll need to come up with a simple and cheap kit containing everything people need to make whatever the item is, get these out to everyone in advance of the chosen date, and then set up a video conference with one lead host who can talk everyone else through a step-by-step guide to completing the task. For the best results, why not come up with competition categories that everyone can vote in at the end of the event, with prizes for each individual victor.
The explosion in Christmas Markets over the past couple of decades hasn’t passed anyone by unnoticed. Themed on the traditional German icons, we’ve seen these pop up everywhere from Birmingham, UK to Birmingham, Alabama. And while many have understandably been cancelled this winter due to fears arising from the pandemic, many are still going ahead and can make a great real world option.
But if you’re struggling to find one nearby don’t worry too much. Eventcube has heard that several firms are planning to run their own mini markets in the company car park, and this doesn’t have to be quite the monumental task it first sounds like. Nobody is expecting all the bells and whistles, just a little effort to brighten up what could otherwise be an incredibly dreary December. We’d recommend a simple set of COVID-19 -secure stalls offering homemade food and drinks like mince pies and mulled wine.
The jury is out on whether the trend for drive-in music events is a good thing or one of the most ridiculous ideas for putting on parties during the pandemic. Nevertheless, the drive-in concept doesn’t start and stop with Spotify chart-topping EDM stars from the United States. Drive-in cinema film screenings are the oldest example of drive-in entertainment, and you can also create your own version of this.
With a couple of relatively basic bits of kit — which you can hire from professional companies — you can set up a small film night of your own to give people a reason to come together for a shared experience. Those who want to take the idea further should consider options for digitally connecting the cars, or at least the members of staff in them, with a video link to allow people to talk to one another during the show, without having to leave their seat. Top marks for any of the following hot flick picks; Bad Santa, Elf, Scrooged, Die Hard, It’s A Wonderful Life.
Again, this isn’t so much a new idea as it is something that we need to think a bit differently about because of the dreaded COVID-19 situation. Company Christmas events have long-played with corporate stereotypes by preparing fun and personal award categories that act as a great way of showing some real love for those who keep the wheels turning everyday.
Due to the ongoing restrictions, you may need to run your award ceremony online, opening up a world of possibilities in terms of technological trickery to bring the evening to life. It’s crucial to remember that these only really do what they are supposed to if everyone gets to walk away with a trophy, so if you’re firm is made up of more than 20 or so staff members it might be better to consider a different option, or at least be aware of how repetitive this could be and think of a few ways to vary and switch-up proceedings.
Video games have enjoyed a boom year in 2020 for obvious reasons, and one of the most visible trends in the gaming world has been the explosion in people watching other people play through titles, or live streaming themselves to show off their joypad prowess. Meanwhile, mobile games are continuing to grow in popularity, and there are endless ways to network and play against online contacts.
So why not show just how on-point you are by embracing this idea for the office Christmas event? Simply select a game or two and then organise how the competition will work based on what the games involve. Then coordinate a live streamed contest where employees can watch one another going head-to-head, no matter where they are logging-in from. Have a read of our blog on 11 proven virtual event and live streaming tips if you're unsure of how to pull this one off.
Who doesn’t like donning a costume, ideally homemade, and getting silly with their colleagues? Fancy dress can be a great way to lighten the mood and break the ice, as obviously everyone is quite literally wearing a talking point. It goes without saying this can be done either in a face-to-face situation (with appropriate social distancing this year) or in the virtual world.
There are tons of ways to put unique twists on this one, too. Specifying an overarching theme is the most obvious, and that could work really well when combined with another of our Christmas event ideas for work, say the movie night or cocktail party. But you could also consider running quizzes wherein people have to guess who is impersonating who, adding an air of mystery to proceedings and encouraging employees to think well beyond the box.
Most of us were sick to the back teeth of Zoom quizzes by about Week 4 of Lockdown 1.0, meaning these days the very mention of that phrase risks triggering your employees with suppressed memories of hours spent watching family members bickering resurfacing from the deepest recesses of their minds. Taking that into consideration, we recommend giving these a wide berth.
But that doesn’t mean the basic principle can’t be adapted. One of the most fun games we have played in this least-fun-of-years involved treasure hunting objects around the house to fit simple, broad descriptions or categories, and then having a vote on whose interpretation was the most accurate, smile inducing or innovative. Like our Secret Santa idea, this can really help staff get to know each other better, and in our opinion that can only ever be a good thing.
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