It’s the most wonderful time of the year — time to start planning the company holiday party! If you’ve ever had to plan your company’s holiday party you may be thinking “Isn’t October a little too late to just START thinking about the holidays?” and you’d be right. But since nothing in 2020 has seemed to work in our favor, at least we get to procrastinate our celebration planning a bit.

If you are debating even having a holiday celebration, remember that gatherings like these are important to your company’s culture for many reasons: it’s a chance for management to show their thanks and appreciation to employees for all of the hard work they have done throughout the year, and it’s an opportunity to recognize teams and individuals who went above and beyond. More than anything, it’s a great chance for employees to relax and get to know each other in a social setting.

Normally, we’d all be looking forward to an end of the year celebration, but since this year has been far from normal with the COVID pandemic, many of us are wondering if and how we can get together for a party. Even though we are seeing companies pushing off their celebrations until early 2021, there are still some ways you can get your employees or clients together by the end of the year. Check out the below ideas and tips for throwing your corporate holiday party in 2020.

If you’re gathering in person 

  • Keep it small: Usually, holiday parties are a chance to get everyone together — a big bash! Instead, opt for smaller celebrations across your company. Encourage each department or team to celebrate and do something on their own with just themselves (or include clients!) in a way that they feel comfortable. Keeping it small still gives you a chance to celebrate, but also lets your employees and guests feel safe.
  • Utilize outdoor venues: Cities with colder climates are working to extend the outdoor dining season and doing what they can to help restaurants and venues extend their seasons — think propane heaters, outdoor tents, and domes or igloos. Have your company’s holiday party outside and take advantage of these cool (no pun intended) outdoor options — you could even theme it as an “apres-ski” party and encourage everyone to dress up in their “ski or winter gear” — making it fun and functional!

If you’re gathering from a distance 

  • Host a virtual holiday party: Send out virtual invites to a Zoom holiday party! Make it fun by encouraging everyone to wear their best ugly sweater or get dressed up to the nines (after months of wearing sweatpants on Zoom calls, it’s nice to get dressed up for one!). Send everyone some wine and a meal delivery (like what Fabio At Home offers) or send out gift cards for everyone to get their own supplies locally. Once you all are settled in, get an activity going that can be done virtually, like trivia, and enjoy!
  • Host an experience: If food and a virtual game aren’t your company’s style, set up a few virtual experiences for people to pick from (like a wine tasting, pasta making class, mixology class, or a chef demonstration) and host smaller virtual gatherings! Guests will get to pick what interests them and then get to meet up virtually with each other and enjoy a fun activity together.

More resources for corporate events

Planning meetings, events, and celebrations is going to look different for a while because of COVID, so we’ve created some resources you can use as you organize future gatherings. Take a look at our post, What Corporate Event Planners Can Do to Host Safer Meetings in 2020 for tips on how to make your in-person events comfortable and safe for attendees and organizers. If you’re interested in virtual or hybrid events, check out 4 Tips for Successful Hybrid Meetings and Events.

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