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COVID-Friendly Holiday Office Party

Monday, 1 November 2021

The holiday season is quickly approaching, and your holiday office party is coming up quickly! It should always be a priority to keep attendees safe, but it is especially important as we continue to face the challenges COVID-19 presents. There is so much to celebrate this year! Your team has worked exceptionally hard, adapting to changes, so they deserve a little holiday party fun, even if it looks different. In this blog, we’ve combined some COVID-friendly holiday office party ideas for both in-person and virtual gatherings.

Deciding in-house or virtual holiday office party

As you weigh the options, make sure you are complying with the COVID-19 health and safety guidelines provided by the regional, provincial, and federal governments to protect your staff. If not, you are not only putting your guests in an awkward position by asking them to attend, but you are also putting their health in danger. Failure to comply with regulations may also result in a hefty fine.

Much of it boils down to the size of your team and venue. If you have a large setting where you can safely meet and host your whole company while following safety protocols, it’s worth the extra effort to make it happen. If your team is too large for gathering limits or for your venue, consider breaking up into departments, teams, or branches instead. You could always arrange for the groups to connect virtually during the party.

Reopening Ontario
COVID-19 Info for Albertans
Reopening Plan Nova Scotia
New Brunswick Living with COVID-19

Holiday Office Party Ideas at the Office

Even if it’s in limited numbers, it can be fun to hold a holiday office party! Here is some inspiration:

A Holiday Mask Competition is perfect for following safety protocols and having fun in the process. Have each staff create (or decorate) their own holiday-themed face mask and give out awards for the best ones.

The “Angel Tree” gift-wrapping option is a great opportunity to give back to the community. Leading up to the event, partner with a local charity or organization to purchase gifts for a family or marginalized group in need. Once each employee has purchased the gift they committed to purchasing, spend your holiday party wrapping the gifts together. Bring your own wrapping supplies to keep it COVID-friendly.

Many other games and options listed in the virtual section can also be used at in-person parties.

Food & Beverage at your In-Person Holiday Office Party

Follow safe handling guidelines when serving food and beverages. You might want to hire a caterer or host your event at a venue that already has those kinks worked out. Think strategically about how you would serve drinks and apps to minimize the need for guests to touch high-traffic areas.

Don’t over serve alcohol. People lose their inhibitions and forget to follow COVID-19 guidelines, and even worse, you could end up with a liquor liability on your hands. You may want to start the party right after the workday so that there isn’t time for a pre-drink, or limit the presence of alcohol by providing other beverage options (hot apple cider, hot chocolate, etc.). This is also respectful to those who may not consume alcohol and can shift the focus to the other exciting activities you have planned. Either way, ensure your employees have a safe ride home.

Remote Holiday Office Party Ideas

If this year’s restrictions force you to consider an alternative, you can still make the most of it with our remote holiday office party ideas.

  • Set up a virtual Secret Santa. Use Draw Names to get started. You can either have a deadline for employees to mail the parcel to their Secret Santa, or another option is to create an email-only rule to send vouchers, gift cards and experiences.
  • Do a virtual Holiday Carol Sing-along. You can also include other music genres and treat it like a karaoke night.
  • Host a virtual talent show. Ask workers to film themselves sharing a particular talent and then edit them into segments showcasing the talent of your employees.
  • Send your team swag bags for a DIY cookie decoration activity, or a charcuterie platter, etc. This way they can enjoy the tasty treats even while they’re at home.
  • Plan a holiday-themed virtual scavenger hunt, murder mystery game or escape room, or find a company that offers this type of virtual service.
  • Other games like trivia, holiday bingo, Pictionary or charades can also lend well to virtual holiday office parties.

Recommended Platforms for Virtual Meetings:
Microsoft Teams
Google Hangouts

Other Holiday Office Party Ideas

In the case that your home can accommodate the size of your team, consider these tips on how to host a party in your home that's fun and safe for your guests. 

If you are not able to gather at all, it still speaks volumes if your business finds a way to show its employees appreciation for their hard work. Here are a few bonus ideas:

  • Purchase an experience for your employees – a virtual cooking or baking class, a wine tasting, wellness classes, arts and crafts supplies for a creative project and so much more!
  • Consider compensating your employees with vacation time or money if it’s in your power to do so.

One other tip for your holiday office party

We live in a culturally diverse country, and your workers likely represent that diversity. While planning your holiday office party, be considerate of other religions and cultures that celebrate differently. You should lean towards calling your party a holiday celebration rather than a “Office Christmas Party” to be inclusive of all walks of life.


As a business owner or party planner for your holiday office party, make sure that you have the proper coverage for your business insurance. Even though you do the best you can to follow the guidelines and keep your employees safe, accidents still happen. Speak to a commercial broker on our BIG team to learn more about the coverages you need to protect your business for events like these. We hope you find new creative ways to enjoy the season and celebrate your top-notch team. Happy Holidays!