12 Holiday Party Ideas to Get Your Employees into the Spirit

It’s been a long time since everyone was able to safely gather together and celebrate the holiday season with one another. Though expectations for corporate holiday parties have naturally shifted over the decades, the pandemic has caused a much more dramatic change in the way people approach celebrations. For many, this upcoming holiday season will be the first fully in-person office party in years.

With events held virtually, hybrid, or not held at all for the last two years, a little awkwardness should be expected as we readjust to normalcy. Instead of allowing your coworkers and employees to stand around awkwardly, clutching their eggnog and hot cocoa and stumbling through small talk, plan to add a little extra holiday cheer into your event!

Games and activities are the best way to break the ice and encourage everyone to be merry and bright. Share laughs, build teamwork skills, and get to know each other a little better to create happy holiday memories. If you’re looking for ideas to make the party memorable, look no further than the list we’ve curated here.

Holiday Game Show

Whether it’s a seasonal edition of Family Feud between different departments, a Minute to Win It style trivia game, or a holiday Name That Tune competition, a festive twist on a classic game show is bound to get everyone on their feet and cheering for their favorite teams of coworkers. A little competition is a great way to bring people together.

Games from Around the World

Have you ever heard of Schokoladenessen? It’s a German party game where whoever rolls a double on a pair of dice has to wear a hat, scarf, and gloves and try to unwrap and eat a candy bar using only kitchen utensils before someone else can roll a double—perfect for a holiday party! Celebrate the diversity of your team by inviting employees to share activities and traditions from their cultural background with one another.

Ugly Sweater Competition

The classic ugly holiday sweater goes beyond just the clothes a person wears to the party; it also invites everyone to embrace letting loose and enjoying all of those corny aspects of the season we all secretly love! Carol karaoke, cliche movies, and cheesy games all go hand in hand with ugly sweaters. Not to mention that this dress code is much more comfortable than formal attire!

Nontraditional Tree Contest

A tree-decorating competition with no rules or restrictions on what can be used is a great way to express creativity and have a bit of fun. Breaking up into teams and working together to decorate a tree with whatever is available is also great for team building and problem solving skills. While tinsel and lights are traditionally found on the tree, you may be surprised to find out how you can utilize office supplies, toilet paper, or whatever they have available to them.

Holiday Award Show Party

Celebrate the holiday season by celebrating one another with an awards show style event. Acknowledging those who go above and beyond for customers and coworkers, those that never fail to make you laugh, or even just some silly superlatives like “Most Organized Messy Desk”. Of course, make sure that all awards are respectful and that everyone is comfortable having a laugh together and not at anybody’s expense.

Cookie Decorating Class

Learning something new is a great way to celebrate the coming new year and holiday cookies are a staple of the season. Bring in a professional to do a demonstration on how to elevate your cookie decor to the next level. At the end of the lesson, you can always host a competition for the most creative cookies. And of course, enjoying your customized desserts is the logical last step!

Pajama Party

Sometimes a high-energy party with too many activities jammed in isn’t the right fit for what your team really needs. Kick back and relax with a cozy pajama party, inviting everyone to wear their silliest seasonal jammies. Keep it casual with some hot cocoa, holiday movies, and board or card games for a relaxing, low-stress event.

Holiday Scavenger Hunt

Nothing brings people together like a common goal, especially if it’s one as obscure as finding a very specific ornament on a particular decorated tree on the west side of the building. Creating riddles that need to be deciphered or clues to lead teams through the next steps of the hunt once uncovered will encourage employees to use their varying talents to work together and get to the final prize first!

Gingerbread House Build-Off

Giving each team a pre-made base and letting them flex their creative muscles is a fun team building exercise, especially if each team is given a different theme to portray in their gingerbread house. Pop culture holiday movies, fairy tales, or holidays throughout history or in different cultures are all interesting cookie dioramas to build!

Indoor Snowball Fight

Snowball fights are a staple of the season, though why brave the cold and unpredictable winter weather when indoor snowball kits are available? The game works like dodgeball, with players split into teams and given a certain amount of cloth “snowballs” each. Bring out your employees’ mischievous and competitive sides as the snowballs fly, trying to hit their opponents to remove them from the game. When a team has all their players knocked out of the game, their opponent is the winner!

Hidden Snowmen

Have you heard of the “Hidden Mickeys” at the Disney theme parks? Test employees’ power of observation by subtly adding snowmen into the decor of your holiday party. Certain centerpieces, balloon arrangements, even the way that plates on the buffet table are placed can create a snowman shape. Get creative and let your party guests know to make note of where they discover each snowman. Rewarding whoever finds the most snowmen with a prize is a great way to wrap up the event!

Ornament Exchange

Put a slight twist on your Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange by inviting participants to add a personal touch to their gifts with handmade trinkets. Your employees may have hidden talents that no one knew about; woodcarving, knitting or crocheting, and even glass blowing are more common hobbies than you might think! For those who don’t believe they’re artistically inclined, even writing on a store bought glass bulb makes a thoughtful gift.

Whatever you decide to do for this year’s holiday party, be sure to keep the enjoyment of your employees at the center of your efforts. Understanding what sort of experience your team will best enjoy will determine which activities will be the ones raved about for weeks afterwards; your team might be in need of a relaxing, low-energy hangout, or maybe they’re itching for competitive games and an outlet for holiday stress.

Planning a holiday party that everyone will enjoy is no easy feat. If you need further assistance or a space to host your event, give Oaks Manor Events a call to get the party started!

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