From hosting virtual family meals to dropping off presents on doorsteps, the holidays will look different this year. While the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to rethink how we celebrate, that doesn't mean you can't make this season a special time for your team.
It's still a great occasion to show appreciation and gratitude for everyone's hard work, especially as they persevere through these challenging times. Below are some ideas for how you can make this year festive and enjoyable — even virtually.
With all the video chat platforms available, it's easy to host a virtual holiday party. You can even add some fun, interactive elements to your soiree this year:
- Secret Santa. You don't have to forego this classic gift-giving tradition. Just find a name drawing site, such as DrawNames, and you can easily and securely pick names for everyone. Set a spending limit and consider paying for the postage necessary to mail the gifts. Then, everyone can open their gifts during the holiday party (or even on a separate occasion).
- Cocktail making. Your team could vote on a special cocktail to make, and everyone could try their hand at putting their own spin on it and enjoying their creation together.
- Contests. What's better than infusing a little friendly competition in the holidays? You could do a traditional ugly sweater party or try something different, such as a gingerbread house making contest.
- Virtual escape room. Take a totally non-traditional approach to your holiday party and treat your team to a virtual escape room. From the Golden Girls to Harry Potter, there is quite a number to choose from. You could even try a holiday-themed room like Frosty's Festive Escape.
There are a number of team building activities you could try outside of your actual holiday party:
- Kitchen adventures. Let's face it: Everyone wants to eat all the things during the holidays. Lean into that by organizing some food-related activities. One idea is to cook or decorate cookies at the same time via video chat. You could also do a recipe exchange or take an online cooking class together.
- Wine tasting. You'll need some vino to go with your new recipes and freshly baked cookies, right? Ship some wine to your team and enjoy a virtual tasting together.
- Games. Have a few laughs by playing virtual games. Jackbox Games party packs have become increasingly popular throughout the pandemic, and there are a plethora of other options as well.
Everyone has had a uniquely tough year, and your team members deserve to be recognized for their exceptional efforts in the face of an international health crisis.
- Presents. In addition to handwritten cards, consider mailing gifts. If your team is small enough to personalize each gift, you can do that to show an extra level of care. But no matter what, try to go above and beyond company swag. From gift cards to flowers to treats from a local bakery, it's important to show that you put thought behind your choices.
- Awards. A fun way to give praise is to create "awards" for each employee. You could go with serious, work-related awards, such as "The Best at Creating Masterful Pivot Tables," or you could try a more fun approach with superlatives like "Most Likely to Steal Your Stapler."
- Peer praise. Ask each team member to write a note to a colleague, thanking them for their unique contributions to the team. Just make sure that everyone is assigned someone, which you could do by using a name drawing site.
Making the holidays a special time for your team is not only a great way to form deeper bonds but also to foster a culture that helps encourage people to do their best. And honestly, we all need as much holiday cheer as we can get this year.
If you're looking for more ways to improve employee relations or attract top-quality talent, you can turn to StellaPop for management consulting. Grab some hot cocoa, and let's chat!