In your mind’s eye, your virtual holiday party is absolutely perfect. Everyone is having a great time, getting into the holiday spirit.
And team members even share a Christmas story or two, without being prompted. Just simply picking up cues from the video call to make for the best virtual holiday party ever.
Well, we hate to burst that holiday bubble of yours. But sometimes, virtual holiday parties can be a little awkward.
Especially if you’ve got remote employees who don’t communicate with each other like they would in the office. So, how do you combat that Zoom shyness in order to execute all of your virtual holiday party ideas to a T?
Well, our first recommendation will always be to hire a virtual event host! That way, you won’t have to worry about rapport – they’ll take care of it for you!
But maybe you’re more along the lines of a DIY virtual Christmas party. So, we’ll play…
Try out some icebreakers! There’s nothing wrong with including icebreakers in your list of virtual holiday party ideas.
In fact, it’ll probably help the virtual holiday event go even more smoothly. No awkward gaps or conversation fumbles, just pure, clean, good, holiday spirit fun.
Pro tip: a corporate entertainer and icebreakers are not mutually exclusive. And the most successful virtual events include both. Just saying…
What are virtual holiday icebreakers?
Okay, maybe you’ve been celebrating holidays remotely for a little bit too long and you’ve forgotten what an icebreaker is. An icebreaker is simply a conversation starter.
Instead of: “Oh, I like all of your Santa hats!” and “Thanks!” (awkward silence ensues…) It’s, “Where are you calling in from for this online event?” “I’m in San Diego!” “Oh, I’ve been to San Diego…” etc.
As you can see, one of these conversations is actually going somewhere. And it’s most definitely going to San Diego!
See Related: Virtual Holiday Party Ideas For Work
Why remote teams should use icebreakers
Still living in that fantasy that your virtual holiday parties won’t be awkward like at all? Well, how about we list out some of the benefits these icebreakers could provide your virtual holiday party. Let us know how you feel after…
When you’ve got remote employees, it’s easy to feel like the remote team is just a bunch of individuals. Not a whole team that works together.
But getting folks in your Zoom holiday party talking dismantles that. And allows for your virtual holiday party guests to remember that they are, in fact, a team!
Engages each team member
Sometimes, virtual Christmas parties get taken over by that one team member who doesn’t know when to take a step back and let others speak. But icebreakers already allow all team members to be engaged.
No more listening to Harold’s same Christmas Eve story over and over again. Instead, it’s hearing what Barbara, Shannon, Darlene, and Christopher have to say at your virtual holiday party!
Helps to relax the environment
Let’s say you’ve got your online holiday party going and the environment just can’t help but tense. After all, it’s been a long and stressful year so that stress has inevitably leaked into the holiday season.
Well, icebreakers can create a more relaxed environment for your virtual party. And slowly but surely, team members can relax their shoulders and loosen their jaws as they watch Secret Santa unfold before them or get caught up in a fun game that melts away all their troubles.
Builds rapport and fosters collaboration
If you’ve got a bunch of virtual holiday games lined up, then icebreakers will help set the mood for collaboration. The last thing you want is for your virtual Christmas games to go down South because of some awkwardness between colleagues.
Instead, warm them up with conversation before throwing them into the virtual escape room. Otherwise, they’ll just be searching for a way to escape that conversation!
Quick holiday icebreakers questions
Start out your virtual event with some easy questions like these. And remember: a watched virtual Christmas party never boils, AKA be patient!
#1. How are you feeling today?
Mood rankings are a great way to leave any former feelings at the door. After all, you don’t want your exciting virtual class you’ve planned to be soured by somebody’s mood – especially when they just needed to get it out!
#2. Would you rather…?
- Live in the North Pole or the Sahara Desert?
- Own one good solid Christmas tree or many not-so-great Christmas trees?
- Sing Christmas carols or punk rock songs for the rest of your life?
If you don’t think those will start a conversation at your online party, you’ve got another thing comin’ to ya. Maybe even a punk rock ballad!
Bonus: How To Host A Virtual Holiday Party
#3. Where are you joining from?
Give folks a chance to acknowledge where they’re calling from to the video call. And take stock of the Christmas miracle that is technology!
#4. What’s your most beloved holiday movie?
Sure, not the most original of virtual Christmas party ideas. But trust us – your team members are guaranteed to have strong opinions about whether Die Hard is actually a Christmas movie or not.
#5. What are your favorite fun holiday drinks?
This way, you won’t just be swapping virtual holiday party presents for your virtual office Secret Santa. You’ll be swapping recipes for your virtual dinner party theme as well!
Short holiday team-building activities
Of course, this may not constitute as the main virtual holiday party event. But in case you need some buffer time in order to set things up for the virtual tasting party or fun and creative challenges you’ve planned, these will help stall your guests in a good way.
#6. Draw your mood
Use it or lose it! And in this case, we mean technology! Set up a virtual drawing board and have party guests show off their artistic flair (or lack thereof).
#7. Share your highlight of the month
Go around and share a highlight from your past month as a fun virtual holiday party activity. You may learn some new triumphs that happened around the office!
#8. Give a shoutout to a team member
Build up a colleague or two by giving somebody a shoutout for their hard work. This is one of those virtual holiday party ideas that can’t go wrong because you’re simply buttering people up!
#9. Share what you are thankful for
Let’s not forget what makes virtual holiday parties important. The virtual gifts and a holiday-themed game or two of course! Oh, and maybe your remote team too.
#10. Take a team photo
Get some holiday music going and take a team photo to commemorate the virtual Christmas party! Silly faces aren’t mandatory but are absolutely encouraged.
#11. Guess whose desk!
Get employees to take a picture of their desk, send in that pic, and guess whose desk is whose! Come on, it’ll be like taking a virtual tour of your colleagues’ work space. Who knew your team members were so into succulents!
#12. Share the last picture you took
You’ll get a look into your colleagues’ lives and who knows? Maybe your suspicions about Mark were right – he is a singer and he recently participated in a Christmas carol session! (Pics or it didn’t happen.)
#13. Random questions!
As the virtual Christmas party rolls on, pick questions out of a hat to randomly ask team members questions! Could be about their holiday traditions growing up or how Barbara gets her hair to look so shiny!
#14. Virtual card exchange
We know Christmas-themed games like Secret Santa but what about a virtual card exchange? It could be one of those Zoom Christmas party ideas that becomes an office-favorite to repeat every year!
Virtual holiday party games
Let us start by saying that virtual parties maintain a kind of decorum. So if you’re looking to let your hair down for your virtual Christmas party that includes holiday-themed games, get a virtual emcee to bear the responsibility of the party host.
Because let’s be real. You could win the prize for “Best Virtual Party Host,” or you could win big in the online holiday scavenger hunt you’ve been planning for weeks! (Clean Comedians does not condone cheating… but we also won’t tell…)
#15. Virtual holiday trivia
Make your holiday trivia one of the best online team building games ever and include trivia on your office mates. That way, you’ll get to determine once and for all that Jeffrey definitely has the best mug collection!
#16. Two truths and a lie
What are virtual events if not to get a glimpse into your coworkers’ past? Just kidding. But if those exact words were in fact written on your list of virtual Christmas party ideas, consider Two Truths and a Lie your best bet!
#17. Virtual Secret Santa
Let’s be honest. Everyone looks forward to online holiday parties for the present-opening. Because we just love to see all that gift-wrapping energy go to pieces in a single rriiiipppp!
#18. Fails of the month
Fails happen. And being able to laugh at those failures is in and of itself a virtue. So liven up the online Christmas party by sharing in the year’s struggles and, as Tay-Tay would say, shake it off!
#19. Stocking stuffer scavenger hunts
No need to go crazy with your virtual holiday party ideas. Just make a list of common household items for employees to collect in a Santa hat, then return to the screen to tally up who found the most items!
#20. Never have I ever
Okay, not that we’re trying to get you to dig into your colleagues’ past but this is a guaranteed crowd pleaser that will also have you learning way more about your colleagues than ever before. Crazy questions include, “Never have I ever listened to appropriate holiday music…” (Whoa!)
(Spoiler alert: all holiday music is appropriate. You’re really trying to shake out your coworkers’ skeletons in a closet at Christmas? That’s what Halloween is for!)
#21. Hot chocolate tasting party
Send out recipes beforehand and have everyone join the call with a cup of cocoa in hand! You can even challenge folks to sound like they’re on the Great British Bake Off.
“Mm, incredible texture. Flight, airy, fluffy on the inside.” “Yes, Paul Hollywood, I agree. But I do have to say that I’d prefer a bit more booze in mine.” “Prue!”
#22. Holiday show and tell
What are the benefits of hosting a virtual holiday party? Everyone’s in their own homes and can’t help but show and tell!
Invite colleagues to show off their decorations they spend weeks putting up. Or, let’s be real – more like a couple of hours just taping things on the wall in a mad dash!
#23. Holiday bingo
You can find a pre-made sheet of bingo online or you can make your bingo sheet customizable to meet the personalities of your office! Try including squares like, “Debra says, ‘Where’s my Santa hat?'” or “Mark finally divulges his hot cocoa recipe to all of us.”
You never know. You might just get an amazing hot cocoa recipe out of all of this.
Good old fashioned virtual Christmas party fun
By now, you should be saddled up with some of the best holiday icebreakers we have to offer. And you won’t have to fear any awkward fumbles or conversation halts during the most amazing virtual holiday party ever!
That being said, if these icebreakers somehow don’t end up working for you, we’ve got a backup plan as well. That’s right, us!
We’ll walk your party through all of the awkward hiccups and gloss over them with a virtual comedian who can burst the tension bubble in the room. There’s no shame in saying that your office mates aren’t all lovey-dovey with one another.
In fact, it’s probably better that they’re not. Either way, just know that this holiday season, you don’t have to do it alone.
The weather outside might be frightful. But these icebreakers will help you sift through the chilly breeze as you make your way to the fireside.
Keep Reading: Virtual Holiday Team Building Activities
Adam Christing is a professional comedy magician, virtual MC, and the founder of CleanComedians.com. He is a member of the world-famous Magic Castle in Hollywood and a popular corporate entertainer, magician, and virtual speaker.