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In-Person Holiday Parties Aren't Possible This Year, But Your Business Can Still Celebrate

By Brian Farris   |    December 8, 2020   |    3:40 PM

Budget-Friendly Office Holiday Party Alternatives for 2020

With the pandemic still in our lives, it's not safe to go ahead with typical company holiday party plans. That doesn't mean you need to nix your team's well-earned celebration, though! 

It’s been a tough year for everyone, and your employees deserve to celebrate… even if things need to look a bit different in 2020. Luckily, there are plenty of fun, and safe, alternatives to the traditional office holiday party — here are some of our favorites. 

Give employees gift cards to local restaurants

Holiday celebrations often revolve around food, but a big communal meal isn’t a great idea right now. 

Gift cards to a local restaurant are the perfect alternative. Your team can order takeout to enjoy at home, and you’ll also lend some much-needed support to struggling restaurants.

Host a virtual holiday party

For some companies, a virtual holiday party may be the only viable way to celebrate the year as a team. You could:

  • Combine this idea with the first one and enjoy takeout together over Zoom.
  • Play games together via a platform like Outback, which offers virtual team-building activities.
  • Plan a virtual happy hour using a service like Sourced, which brings the bar to your home by delivering cocktail (and mocktail) ingredients. The service isn’t available everywhere, though you may be able to find something similar in your area.

However, note that a virtual holiday party may not be the best idea if you know that your employees are completely burned out on video meetings. 

If your team’s calendars have been steadily booked up since the beginning of the pandemic, consider one of the other options in this post. The last one on this list would be especially appreciated if your team is stressed out and tired of video calls.

Virtual secret Santa

The spirit of virtual secret Santa is the same as the regular version, but employees will need to mail their gifts.

The rules are essentially the same, too:

  • Set a price range that everyone can agree on.
  • Choose someone to be the host and have them create a spreadsheet with everyone’s mailing addresses.
  • The host can also facilitate name drawing using a simple service like This tool also allows recipients to make wish lists to ensure everyone receives a gift they’ll enjoy.
  • Make sure everyone understands the deadline for mailing gifts.
  • Open the gifts together on an online platform like Zoom or Google Hangouts.

Give your team time to volunteer virtually

In-person volunteering is mostly off-limits this holiday season, but online volunteering is still possible.

Visit this Virtual Volunteer Opportunities page on VolunteerMatch’s website to learn about all of the possibilities. Options include human rights, animals, arts and culture, education, health, technology, and more.

You could select a cause as a group, or give team members the freedom to choose the cause that they care about most.

Skip the celebration and give everyone some bonus vacation time

2020 has been a draining year for so many people. If your team feels overworked and burnt out, consider giving them some additional paid time off to enjoy the holidays with their family. 

It’s a simple way to show your appreciation for a year of hard work during some truly challenging times. Plus, your employees will return to work refreshed and ready to tackle the New Year.