HR

5 Holiday Party Alternatives for 2021

It’s almost time to ring in the new year—but this year’s holiday season still looks a little different. As the holidays approach, employees across the country continue to work from home.

So what does that mean for company holiday parties? Unfortunately, in-person gatherings may not be feasible again this year.

Although this is disappointing, companies can explore party alternatives and reallocate the money they would’ve spent on costs like venue rentals, hotel rooms, and travel expenses.

With that said, how can you still lift your employees’ spirits and spread some holiday cheer?

Here are 5 ways your company can celebrate the holidays virtually this year:

1. Throw a Virtual Party

Since the pandemic began, companies have been using Zoom and other video conferencing tools to host virtual meetings and events as their employees work remotely.

To replace your annual company holiday party, you can get creative with virtual events. From virtual dinner parties to ugly sweater contests, you can still celebrate the holidays with your employees at home. Schedule a virtual cooking class, paint and sip lesson, or wine and cheese tasting, and send your employees the supplies ahead of time. If you used to have entertainment at your holiday party, invite a comedian or musician to perform for your employees via live stream. You can also host a virtual happy hour and play online games, like Scattergories Online, Jackbox Games, and Virtual Pictionary.

2. Send Holiday Gifts

To help your employees get in the holiday spirit, mail them festive cookie decorating kits, gourmet hot chocolate mix, or cozy company swag. Since you’ll be saving costs by not hosting an in-person party, consider treating your employees extra this year by sending them AirPods, Amazon Alexa, espresso machines, or a personalized gift basket. If you want to let your employees pick their own holiday gift, utilize Snappy to give them a list of options to choose from within your budget.

3. Treat Employees to Dinner

Since food is such an integral part of holiday celebrations, treat your employees to dinner. From appetizers and entrees to wine and desserts, you can order your employees a delicious meal and have it delivered right to their homes. When sending employees dinner, be conscious of their eating restrictions or consider letting them choose their own meal by sending them GrubHub or DoorDash gift cards. 

Even more important than enjoying delicious food during the holidays is spending time with family and friends. When sending dinner to your employees, consider treating their family members and roommates, too. Find out how many people each employee lives with and send them meals for their entire household so that they can enjoy dinner all together.

4. Organize Virtual Gift Exchanges

To boost morale and keep your employees connected this holiday season, host a virtual gift exchange. Whether it’s within teams or cross-departmental, employees can set a budget, get assigned coworkers, and exchange virtual gift cards, like Amazon, Starbucks, or UberEats. If you want to host a live reveal, schedule a date and time for your employees to get together and exchange gifts with one another virtually.

5. Make A Donation

In lieu of throwing an in-person holiday party this year, participate in the season of giving and donate to a charity. Set aside an amount of money to donate and give employees a few options of charities to choose from. Based on their votes, you can donate to the charities accordingly. You can also let your employees donate to a charity of their choice by sending them a credit through Bright Funds.


Spreading some holiday cheer will help boost employee morale. But how can you keep employees engaged all year round so that you retain them? Find out in our latest eBook.

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