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7 creative, safe and fun ideas to celebrate the holiday season with your team and co-workers

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December is just a few weeks away (jeez) and we all know what that means: it is time to place happy Christmas wishes in every email signature, start humming holiday tunes and generally trying to have a more relaxed time as the end of year approaches.

There used to be office parties, dinners and pub nights before Covid times, but it’s perfectly understandable if you are not looking forward to hugging 20+ people just yet. Fortunately, technology made it so that it’s absolutely possible to still have fun with your coworkers this Christmas, whether you are looking to do it in person or virtually. Here are 7 creative and fun ideas to keep your holidays fun this year!

And don’t worry if Christmas parties are not your responsibility – you could still suggest one or more of these ideas to your boss!

Christmas Jumper Day!

Most of us have a silly or stupidly ugly Christmas jumper somewhere. It is tradition to bring those to Christmas parties, but in the absence of that, you could still host a Christmas Jumper Day across the entire team. You don’t need to be working in an office to do it – just make it virtual!

Imagine everybody popping on camera during a meeting with a cozy and warm Christmas jumper, and imagine having to make out exactly what each one represents. It can help with the mood, it helps with team bonding and builds a beautiful atmosphere ahead of the holidays.

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Image credit: Five by Five Global

Secret Santa… with a spin

A classic. Ever since there were office parties, there have been Secret Santas to make things more fun and interesting for everybody – as well as build friendships around the team. There are countless ways to host a successful Secret Santa, but why not put a creative spin on it?

Make it so that everyone in the team needs to craft something handmade or unique for their Secret Santa. Ensure to use your own creative and craftsmanship skills to create something your Secret Santa will remember. Or you could simply conjure up a list of random creative gift ideas to be then assigned around the office. Wouldn’t it be fun to see the graphic designer try their hand at a Christmas poem? So long as you keep the environment as healthy and safe as possible, everyone can have a bit of fun.

Virtual office Christmas party

There are, of course, many ways to host a virtual office Christmas party. Whether your boss is paying for everybody or not (they probably should), you could have a virtual ‘pub’ night on Zoom, or organise a dinner in which everybody exchanges recipes from their personal repertoires, then tries to cook them.

There are e-gift cards, platforms which enable you to send virtual pre-paid cards into the inboxes of your team (with a controlled budget) and countless more ways to set up a dinner party while apart. And if you don’t need to be apart, well… You can still let everybody bring some snacks and nibbles!

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Image credit: Alana Martin

The Great Holiday Bake-Off

Who’s the best at baking gingerbread houses? Do you have that one coworker who always brings the best cakes at work? Why not put everybody to the test with a Great Christmas Bake-Off?

This is of course less viable if you would rather not meet outside of home, but you can still show off your cooking skills on camera – with the promise to bring the real thing in the office whenever it is safe to do so. What you can certainly do on camera, however, is host a contest for the best Christmas cake or the best gingerbread family, or something along those lines. Though you won’t be able to score the taste, you can still line everything up and gather votes on the best looking cookie, can you not?

Holiday-card and home decoration contest

If you’re reading this, you are probably a creative professional. Why not get creative indeed? Get your team of designers and art directors to work on a series of holiday cards, then have the rest of the office vote and honour the winner with a free drink or meal.

If you’re not into holiday cards or you would rather have the whole office involved, you could always host a contest on the best home-office holiday decorations and reward the winner with the same prize – or a gift of their own choice. The most important thing is to have fun, no matter what you do.

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Image credit: Kevin O'Shea

Silly (and not!) awards

If you’ve been with your team for a long time, you should all have at least an idea of each other’s interests, taste and even flaws. Why not host an award contest with the silliest awards ever? Anything could work, from the most colourful mouse-pad to the best desk decoration.

If you would rather do something to nurture meritocracy in the team, you could give out actual awards. Something for performance, teamwork, time-management, communication and diplomacy, for instance. People love rewards, and creative professionals especially love to be celebrated for their achievements.

Trivia, films and games!

In short, do anything that sounds or feels fun for you and the rest of the team to do. You could do an evening on Zoom with trivia and games – Tabletop Simulator is perfect to play any kind of tabletop game at a distance, though each member of the team should have a license to play. That said, it only costs about £20, and it often goes on ridiculous sale around Christmas. Perfect if you want to have an evening of casual Uno! games, for instance.

Or you could opt for a Christmas film, chosen and voted by your coworkers to watch all together on the party’s evening. It is the equivalent of watching a film on the couch with a friend, and so long as you are all watching it on your own screen or television, there are certainly no legal issues to be concerned about.

In short, the best way to have fun with your coworkers at Christmas is to… simply have fun. Don’t worry too much about office etiquette or maintaining your reputation as a professional – everyone will be looking to have some healthy fun. If there’s anything we learned from the past two years, it is that we can’t wait to enjoy going out again. Until then, you can still create some meaningful moments around the office – and you most definitely should.

Header image: Adam Newby

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