Virtual Holiday party ideas: family Christmas celebration via video call

While the thought of a virtual holiday party may bring back visions of forced online gatherings, digital holiday parties offer benefits beyond social distancing constraints. They’re a great way to celebrate with family and friends who don’t live nearby and can’t make a trip to visit. 

A virtual holiday party is also an ideal way to gather with clients and remote employees. Whether you’re hosting a festive fete for your friends or a more formal event for coworkers or clients, these virtual holiday party ideas will help you pull off the best holiday event of the year.

Tips for Hosting a Virtual Holiday Party

Hosting a holiday party can be stressful, but with a few useful tips, you can have fun planning the perfect event. Before we dive into fun virtual holiday party ideas, follow these suggestions to ensure your party goes off without a hitch.

Make It Holiday Neutral 

First, think about what type of event you’re hosting. If it’s a virtual holiday party for clients, it’s a good idea to consider making it holiday neutral. Some of your clients may celebrate Kwanzaa while others host Christmas or Hanukkah events. To keep things neutral, swap out the Santa decor for more seasonal items like snowflakes, snowmen, and gingerbread decor. For lighting, stick with warm or bright white string lights to maintain the neutral theme.

Choose a Tech Platform

From Zoom to Facebook, virtual parties can be held on a host of different platforms. If it’s a work event, choose the one you use to connect with remote team members for video conferencing. For friends and family, you can choose the platform you’re most familiar with to keep things simple. 

Make sure to let guests know which platform the event will be hosted on, and include a link to the event and any necessary passwords to access the virtual event. The day before the video call, test your equipment and the event link to make sure everything is working. Test the video quality and audio as well. 

Pick a Theme

Once you’ve decided what type of event you’re hosting, pick a theme. You’ll find some common themes and decor ideas in the next section, but popular favorites include ugly sweater parties, bake-offs, and cookie decorating events. You can then select a few holiday games or activities for a fabulous holiday affair.

Make a Schedule

While hosting a virtual holiday party is similar to the process for hosting an in-person party, there are a few additional considerations. One is scheduling. Virtual events benefit from having a loose itinerary so guests know what to expect. 

Since guests can’t walk around and mingle as they would at an in-person party, you can start off with five minutes where everyone greets each other. During this time, you can do a quick icebreaker to make everyone comfortable. For example, you can ask guests to name their favorite holiday movie, holiday activity, or holiday tradition.

Next, you can move into a scheduled activity — like cookie decorating — or set up breakout rooms if you want certain groups to connect further. Set aside 20-30 minutes for the activity and don’t worry if you go over a little bit. This isn’t a rigid timeline — it’s simply a guide so you can keep control of the virtual event. Leave a few minutes at the end of the virtual gathering for everyone to say goodbye.

Be Clear on Holiday Gifts and Supplies

If your virtual holiday party involves an activity like cookie decorating or holiday ornament making, be clear if attendees need to have their own supplies. When you send out the holiday party invitations, list any supplies that are needed or indicate if you’re doing a gift exchange. This way, everyone can come prepared. To make the event extra special, you can deliver any needed supplies to the attendees before the event. 

When it comes to mail-in gifts, coordination is key. If you’re having a virtual gift exchange, set a hard deadline for when gifts need to be shipped. This should be a week or two before the event to ensure everyone’s gift arrives in time for the event. You should also let guests know whether the gifts will be unwrapped during the event or if they can open them before or after on their own time.

Virtual Holiday Party Ideas

For virtual holiday party ideas, look no further than this list of fun holiday parties that you can host online with friends and family or coworkers and clients. Here, you’ll find options for themes, decor, and activities to make the event a success. Plus, you’ll find some of our favorite virtual holiday party invitations to accompany each theme.

1. Cookie Decorating Party

Virtual Holiday party ideas: Classic-Christmas Cookies Invitation

Design: Becky Nimoy Stationery

Invitation Pick: Classic Christmas Cookies Invitation

A holiday decorating party is a great way to ring in the holiday season. It’s a good option for holiday events from Halloween to Christmas and New Year. You can decorate Christmas cookies if you’re hosting a Christmas party or you can decorate gingerbread houses instead for a holiday neutral event.

To make this party more memorable, send out packages with all the ingredients attendees will need. With food delivery services, it’s easy to send cookie dough, sprinkles, and frosting to attendees no matter where they live. If you’re all in the same town, you can also dress up as Santa Claus or a snowman to deliver the gift boxes in person.

2. Ugly Sweater Party

Festive Ugly Sweater Invitation

Design: Becky Nimoy Stationery

Invitation Pick: Festive Ugly Sweater Invitation

An ugly sweater party is a classic idea that’s easy to turn into a virtual event. Ask guests to don their ugliest holiday sweaters and show up for some virtual fun. This event is easy to make inclusive since guests can wear an ugly sweater featuring motifs from the holiday they choose to celebrate. You can ask guests to decorate their video camera background to add a festive air. Things like sparkling garland and twinkling lights are easy to hang and add a cheery atmosphere.

For an activity, host an ugly sweater contest. Have all attendees vote on their favorite ugly sweater or ask each guest to explain why they chose a particular sweater for the party. The winner can receive special accolades, holiday party favors, or a gift card that can be sent after the event.

3. Virtual Secret Santa

Virtual Holiday party ideas: Retro Santa Invitation

Design: Signature Greenvelope

Invitation Pick: Retro Santa Invitation

Spread some holiday cheer this year with a virtual Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange. Planning this event is easy as pie. Each attendee will draw a name and get a gift for that person. 

Since this is a virtual event, gifts will need to be mailed before the virtual event so make sure to give guests enough time to choose and ship a gift. Send out invitations a month or a month-and-a-half before the event so there’s plenty of time. 

On the day of the virtual event, guests will open their gifts and try to guess who gave them the item. Anyone who guesses correctly can win an extra prize — like a holiday treat or gift card.

4. Virtual Happy Hour

Frosty Cheers Invitation

Design: Vivian Yiwing

Invitation Pick: Frosty Cheers Invitation

A virtual happy hour is a great way to get into the holiday spirit and spread good tidings to all. Start the event with a holiday playlist using a tool like Spotify or iTunes. Use a company like Sourced to send curated cocktail kits to each attendee before the event. Then, during the virtual holiday party, an expert cocktail crafter will show everyone how to make the perfect drink.

If it’s an office party, you can turn the event into a virtual team-building activity. Some great happy hour activities include holiday trivia and a virtual scavenger hunt like the ones from PlayPartyPlan. You can divide guests up into teams and see who gets the most holiday-inspired trivia questions right. Alternatively, you can also do karaoke with holiday songs using an app like Karafun.

5. Holiday Movie Night

Virtual Holiday party ideas: Elfin' Good Time Invitation

Design: Stacey Day

Invitation Pick: Elfin’ Good Time Invitation

Host a virtual holiday party where you watch a classic movie like “Elf,” “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” “Home Alone,” or another holiday flick. Dress up as your favorite character from the movie or surprise guests with the movie you’ll be watching. A fun way to do this is to play charades before the movie starts and pick characters from the movie to imitate. Once someone guesses the character or movie, you can start watching. 

Send over a gift box filled with popcorn or holiday treats before the movie night. That way, guests can enjoy tasty treats while watching the film. You can interact with attendees by sharing comments as the movie plays or end the night by playing a short trivia game focused on the movie actors or storyline.

6. Virtual Wine Tasting

Sleigh Some Cabernet Invitation

Design: Kaydi Bishop

Invitation Pick: Sleigh Some Cabernet Invitation

Can’t get together for a holiday wine tasting trip to wine country? Bring the fun into your own homes with a virtual wine tasting party. Use a delivery app to send a few bottles of wine to every attendee. You can also include non-alcoholic options or turn the party into a hot chocolate tasting for a more inclusive and kid-friendly event. Decorate your video background with holiday motifs like snowflakes and gingerbread cookies or use a virtual background on a platform like Zoom for quick virtual decor without the hassle. 

7. Virtual Escape Room

Virtual Holiday party ideas: Fun & Games Card

Design: Ringleader Paper Co

Invitation Pick: Fun & Games Card

Host a virtual escape room with colleagues or friends to ring in the happiest time of the year. This type of holiday party is great for team-building since everyone has to work together to get out of the virtual room. Find a holiday-inspired room on sites like Breakout IQ and Breakout Games.

8. Virtual Game Night

Merry Tissue Tree Invitation

Design: Dotted Line Studio

Invitation Pick: Merry Tissue Tree Invitation

What’s merrier than a night of virtual games?! With this virtual holiday party idea, you’ll have everyone laughing late into the night. Choose from classic games like Pictionary or make it festive with holiday bingo. You can make your own DIY bingo cards or download some using a site like My Free Bingo Cards.

Have a Holly Jolly Virtual Party

Planning a party can be hard work, but we also think it should be fun! With these virtual holiday party games and themes, you’re sure to find one that works for your next holiday soiree. 

Need invitations to match your virtual holiday party ideas? At Greenvelope, we’ve got you covered. Check out our huge selection of holiday party invitations that you can use for virtual get-togethers. All of our invites are digital so you can send them off to attendees in a matter of minutes without going to the post office.

Best of all, you can choose from hundreds of hand-illustrated designs for everything from a fancy Christmas party to a laid-back ugly sweater event. You can even upload your own design to make your virtual holiday event truly memorable and unique.