‘Tis the season for holiday cheer and time with our family and friends, but it might look a little different this year. Maybe your company is even hosting a virtual Christmas party?

You’ve probably adapted to working from home now, so it’s no surprise your Christmas party likely won’t be happening in-person this year. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be as jolly as ever!

But of course, you want to make sure it’s safe too!

Are you organizing a virtual Christmas party this year?

The corporate Christmas party should be a time for relaxing, getting to know your team, and generally having fun, whether it’s virtual or in-person.

The problem is, many of those tasked with organizing the festivities dread the potential misbehaviour that can happen at these events. All too often, stories of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour emerge in the aftermath of the party.

And the last thing you want is for your party to be remembered for resulting in a workplace investigation!

The good news is, there are many things leaders and organizers can do to help mitigate the risk of employee misbehaviour and harassment of all kinds.

These strategies also allow organizers to relax and enjoy the party! The great thing about a virtual Christmas party, however, is many of these risks are naturally eliminated.

For example, you don’t need to worry about employees drinking and driving home if they’re already at home during the party! You also don’t need to worry about employees spreading COVID to one another during virtual parties.

Today, we’re going to share our top tips for making your virtual Christmas party jolly for your entire team. We’ll also cover safety tips for those of you who still have an in-person Christmas party coming up!
To keep up with the times, let’s start with our top tips for safely hosting a fun, virtual Christmas party for your organization.

Virtual Christmas Party Tips

Keep it short

Your traditional office Christmas party might last for hours, but it’s best to keep a virtual Christmas party on the shorter side. Aim for about an hour or under, or offer people an out if they don’t want to stick around as long.

Make it creative

Rather than having all of your employees stare at each other on a screen, try something new for your virtual Christmas party!

Here are a few ideas to make your Christmas party unique and fun:

  • Send out cookie or craft decorating kits to each employee for everyone to do together, virtually
  • Send gingerbread house kits to employees
  • Have each employee share their favorite holiday memory or tradition
  • Play Christmas-themed trivia or games

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is a great option for virtual or traditional Christmas parties! You can have employees open their Secret Santa gifts on camera, and guess who it’s from.

Christmas parties during COVID

Whenever possible, it’s best to opt for virtual options for gatherings during the pandemic.

But if you happen to be having a socially-distanced, in-person Christmas party, there are more safety considerations than ever to keep in mind:

  • Allow for proper social distancing
  • Provide masks and hand sanitizer
  • Ensure proper ventilation
  • Encourage sick employees to stay home

And of course, make sure to follow all local laws and guidelines for gatherings!

Safe and jolly office Christmas parties

Depending on where you live, it’s unlikely your office Christmas party will be taking place in a traditional format.

But if local laws and guidelines permit, here are five easy steps to help ensure your in-person party is safe and jolly for everyone:

  • Plan Ahead
  • Manage the Alcohol
  • Feed Your Peeps
  • Get People Home Safely
  • Have Fun!

See ACTivate HR’s Guide to Your Corporate Christmas Party down below for more on these five steps to make sure the evening is safe and fun.

If, despite your best efforts, you experience complaints of harassment or other inappropriate behaviour, contact us for help. We are happy to help you with impartial, confidential workplace investigation services.

Don’t forget to follow us on Linkedin!

Did you learn a lot from this post about organizing an in-person or virtual Christmas party? Here are three more to check out:

Your Organization Received a Sexual Harassment Claim. Now What?
Are You a Bosshole? Or Do You Work for One?
Effectively Investigating Workplace Bullying and Harassment Hazards and Incidents

This article was originally published in 2017, but has been updated in 2020 just for you!