15 Virtual & In-Person Team-Building Activities Perfect for the Holidays

A holiday party that weaves in some team-building activities can boost morale and prepare everyone for the coming year with gusto. It’s a great way to foster teamwork between employees, new and old, and have some fun after a year of stellar work.  

Even if you have a Grinch or two in the office, with the right activity, you can bring everyone out of their shell a bit. And don't worry if you have remote employees. Many of these activities work great both in-person and virtually. 

15 Team-Building Activities to Try This Holiday Season

If you're on the holiday party planning committee and need some fresh ideas, we're here to help. These in-person and virtual holiday party ideas are a good starting place to create an engaging, memorable winter party. We’ve also included some products or services that can help you get ready.

1. Host a Holiday-Themed Painting Party With Your Team

Making art together is a wonderful way for your team to bond. Many people discover they’re better at painting than they thought when they have step-by-step instructions, and everyone can enjoy the time to relax and chat as they paint. 

Choose a holiday-themed or winter-themed painting for this event to keep in line with your holiday party, like this Winter Moon or these Holiday Ornaments. Keep in mind that not everyone in your office celebrates Christmas, so consider choosing a neutral piece, like a Simple Snowman

You can bring in snacks and play music in the background while your team gets creative.

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

Paint parties work as both virtual and in-person events. You can also do a hybrid event, with some employees painting together under one roof and others joining from home. 

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

Painting To Gogh makes setting up a paint party, either in-person or virtual, as simple and streamlined as possible. We have a variety of winter- and holiday-inspired paint kits for all experience levels. You can also encourage collaboration by having pairs of employees team up to paint diptychs, which are art pieces made with two separate canvases. 

Simply select the painting you want to do and we’ll ship the supplies to your office or each participant’s doorstep. Everyone will get a link to the expert-led video tutorial and you’re ready to go.

2. Get Festive With a Fully Virtual Holiday Party

Many of today's offices have gone fully remote or have a mix of in-person and remote team members. You may have an entire workforce that’s scattered across thousands of miles. This trend toward remote teams makes a traditional holiday or Christmas party difficult because it may not be practical for everyone to gather in one space. 

Instead, consider making your entire event virtual. Virtual games and activities get everyone into the holiday spirit, regardless of where they live. Set up a Zoom call and put your favorite holiday songs on while you enjoy virtual games. You can even incorporate a virtual gift exchange and pay for employees to ship gifts to one another. 

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)

A virtual holiday party works for in-person and virtual teams. 

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

Moniker is one company that offers virtual holiday parties. They have a database of virtual holiday team-building activities, like mystery and trivia games, with various themes you can choose from. 

3. Create Friendly Holiday Competition With Gingerbread Wars

A little competition can make the holidays fun. Bring your at-home holiday traditions to the office with a game of Gingerbread Wars. Each team member or group of team members will showcase their best gingerbread man or gingerbread house at the holiday party. Vote on the best one for fun holiday prizes.

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

This favorite holiday tradition works well for both in-person and virtual parties. 

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

Wilton sells gingerbread house kits during the holiday season. You can purchase one for each group to get ready for this party.

4. Host a Teamwide Beer or Wine Tasting

If everyone is celebrating a different holiday, make this year's company holiday party about something other than the holiday itself. A teamwide beer or wine tasting makes a great icebreaker and helps people loosen up during an otherwise stressful season.

With a wine or beer tasting party, you can set up your own office party holiday happy hour and enjoy some excellent drinks along with your favorite team-building games. Another way to enhance the event is to invite an expert (a sommelier for wine or cicerone for beer) to explain what’s special about each drink and share interesting tidbits.

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

Just a few years ago, this idea would have only worked in person — it’s hard to hand out glasses of cheer over Zoom! But now, there are many businesses that provide teams with virtual beer and wine tasting experiences. They partner with local shops or may pull from an international catalogue. 

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

Check out J. Cage Cellars for virtual wine tasting corporate parties. They will set up your team with wine samples and a virtual time to log in and enjoy them together.

5. Have a Team-Building Trivia Night

Do you have some trivia buffs on your team? Make a holiday party that's a trivia night. You can let them showcase their prowess and knowledge while you enjoy snacks and perhaps a gift exchange. Announce the theme of your holiday trivia night well in advance, such as favorite holiday movies, 90s hit TV shows, or local history, so people can brush up on their facts before they compete.

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

Trivia night is a great virtual team-building activity, but you can also do it in person if you want.

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

Trivia Packs sells trivia that covers a number of topics. Find one that fits your theme and enjoy putting together your trivia night.

6. Hold a Gift Exchange (From White Elephant to Secret Santa)

The holidays often center around gift-giving, but sometimes office Christmas parties can feel awkward if people only give gifts to their bosses or favorite co-workers, making others feel left out. Make sure everyone feels included by planning a gift exchange.

You could have a traditional Secret Santa, where everyone picks a random name to buy a present for. Or you can opt for a White Elephant exchange, where gift-givers give a prank gift or something from around their home. White Elephant gift exchanges can be especially hilarious. Just make sure the value of the holiday gift is clearly explained to the participants so everyone leaves with something similar in value. A price limit of $10-$25 is common. 

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

A gift exchange party may work best as an in-person event since it removes the cost and hassle of shipping. However, it can also work virtually. Employees can easily send presents like experiences (event tickets, e-books, etc) or gift cards digitally. 

7. Celebrate Together With a Holiday Game Night

Holiday game nights work whether people are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or another winter holiday. Who doesn’t have a favorite board game, card game, or video game? 

For your get-together, you can choose games that are holiday or winter-themed, or find one that everyone likes to play. Try sending out a survey with your initial game ideas and see what people are leaning toward. 

Double-check that each game can support the number of players you need and won’t run too long (Monopoly is notorious for this.) That way, everyone can participate if they wish.

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

You can host a virtual game night or an in-person game event.

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

To make the planning easier, consider hiring a game host company. BoomBox offers virtual team-building events, including game nights. Partner with them to plan your holiday event and ensure everything goes off without a hitch. Jackbox is another popular option. It’s easy to run yourself and everyone can tune in from their devices.

8. Have Good Laugh With a Comedy Event

If you want to break down walls and get people enjoying holiday cheer around your office, host a comedy event. Have a local comedian come to your office for a stand-up routine, and enjoy the entertainment together.

When hiring a comedian, be clear about your expectations. You want to make sure their material is appropriate for the wide range of people on your team. 

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

You can set up a virtual comedy event or host it in person, but you might find that the laughter comes more naturally with an in-person experience.

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

Use a service like The Comedian Company or Clean Comedians to hire a local comedian. 

9. Decorate the Office for the Holidays (At Home or On-Site)

Decorating is a simple and fun way to raise the holiday spirits. If you find it difficult to schedule a team activity or party due to busy schedules, this activity is perfect. You can pause the work day early to get started. Don’t forget to provide some food or drink people can snack on as they get creative.

If you decorate the office together, you may not get a professional-level look, but you will have fun and build camaraderie while you do it. Sometimes, that's more valuable than a fancy design. 

Is your team remote? No problem. Everyone can take some time to decorate their home. Willing employees can show off their favorite part of their holiday decorations, like their mantleplace, Christmas tree, or menorah. 

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

You can decorate your office in person, but if your team meets virtually, you can encourage everyone to decorate their own space and show it off at our next Zoom meeting.

10. Participate in a Holiday-Themed Group Cooking Class

Making sugar cookies or perfecting that honey ham are great goals for the holidays. If you have some people who are interested in learning to cook, why not organize a holiday-themed group cooking class?

You can bring in an instructor to your location or set up a virtual cooking demonstration where employees follow along at home. The end results will be sweet as you all learn to cook something delicious together.

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

Cooking together is fun in person, but you can set up the class to be virtual and have everyone cook in their own home if you wish.

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

Check out Taste Buds Kitchen, which offers virtual team-building cooking classes. Make sure your team has a list of ingredients before the start date, and then schedule a class to get started.

11. Play a Game of Winter Pictionary

From snowmen to holiday trees and lights, you can make a list of winter people, places, and things and use them to play a game of winter Pictionary. This game is very easy to DIY. All you need is some topic cards and a few whiteboards.

Divide your group into teams and give them a pile of cards. Then, have them draw what’s on the card and have their team members try to guess the drawing. The team that guesses the most correctly wins.

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

If everyone can get a small whiteboard for their virtual office, you can do winter Pictionary as either in-person or virtual.

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

Do you need a little help setting up a Pictionary event? Check out Confetti. They have a virtual winter-themed Pictionary that you can plug right into for this holiday party option.

12. Solve a Murder Mystery With Your Co-Workers

A classic game of whodunit can really bring your team together. While you could take everyone to a murder mystery event, you can also bring the idea to your office. These games focus on teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills, and that makes them ideal for team-building.

This holiday party idea does take a bit of preparation, so you might want to hire it out or purchase a premade game. Still, it can be a very memorable holiday party event. To make it even more fun, encourage your team members to arrive in costume to match the theme. 

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

Murder mystery parties can be in-person or virtual, depending on your needs.

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

Playing with Murder sells corporate murder mystery party kits that have everything you need to set the stage for a fun holiday event. They are simple to download and print and can accommodate over 100 players per game. 

13. Experience a Holiday-Themed Escape Room Together

Escape rooms are fun mystery activities that require team members to discover clues to find a way out. While you can visit an escape room in your local community with your team, you can also build an escape-room-style game in your office. If you build your own room, add some decorations to embrace the festivities of the season.

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

This is another holiday party idea that can work for both virtual and in-person parties.

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

Check to see if there are escape room experiences in your area. Also, Remote Adventures from The Escape Game is just one company that allows you to set up a virtual challenge. They have escape room options for both large and small groups, perfect for online holiday parties.

14. Host a Holiday Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt helps your team members to get to know the surrounding community or your office space as they look for hard-to-find items. To set this up, decide on your scavenger hunt items and then go around town or around your building to hide them. This can also be done virtually. You can have your team find items around the house or play an online hunt with virtual locations. 

Then, send out your team members armed with the item list and their smartphone cameras to capture images of these items. The first one to return to the office or log in to the online database with a complete list of pictures wins.

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

An in-office scavenger hunt could be the easier choice here, but you can also try out a virtual scavenger hunt that’s set at home or online.

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

You can easily create a scavenger hunt on your own, but you also can turn to Let’s Roam for fresh ideas. They offer scavenger hunts along with other team-building activities. Customize them to your location and your team's needs for a fun, festive holiday.

15. Sing Your Heart Out at Holiday Karaoke Night

Bust out your favorite holiday songs with a karaoke night hosted at your office. Create a playlist of holiday songs from many different holidays, including those celebrated in your office, and pick up a karaoke machine. Watch as your team members loosen up as they croon out their favorite tunes. 

Don’t be afraid to mix it up with non-holiday songs — the idea is just to get people singing, dancing, and clapping. 

Is It Virtual or In-Person Friendly (or Both)?

While in-person is definitely preferred for karaoke, you can try this out with a virtual team if you want.

Companies That Can Help You Get Ready

Check out Singing Machine for bluetooth karaoke machines, mics, music apps, and playlist ideas to finalize everything for your holiday party

Make Painting To Gogh a Part of Your Team-Building Activities This Holiday Season

If you’re looking for a holiday team-building activity that is ready to go and tons of fun, Painting To Gogh is the right choice. Our virtual and in-person paint parties take the planning and preparation off your shoulders. Simply select a painting (or multiple paintings) and we’ll send everything your participants need to their doorstep. Use your favorite video conferencing tool (Zoom, Webex, Teams, etc) to follow the included tutorial and paint together virtually. 

For more on how it works, check out our virtual team-building paint party guide.