Every week, I scan the news for must-know stories about the employee-centric, happier, distributed, and AI-driven future of work.
Can you hear the bells ringing?
It's that time of year again - my favorite for going all out with twinkly lights and fun decorations at home and work, cheering everyone up with my classic elf pranks and gingerbread latte runs!
And I’m not the only one.
Surveying 14,600 people across 18 countries in 2022, TGM Research found that about 81% of the participants stated Christmas is the most awaited time of the year.
Additionally, according to a 2022 study by Mitie, the holiday spirit positively influences workplace dynamics. 62% of people report a better mood at work as Christmas nears.
The Christmas holiday, originally to celebrate Jesus's joyous birth, has become a global symbol of reunion, joy, love, and grace.
Depending on the country, Christmas Eve (December 24th) and Christmas Day (December 25th) could be public holidays for all, while other Christian communities celebrate a more extended holiday throughout the Advent Season.
This spirit of joy and unity can be an excellent time to foster community and togetherness in the workplace.
And it is not confined to physical spaces.
Drawing from my experience designing and delivering employee engagement for various companies, I am constantly excited to discover new ideas for team bonding during this festive season, no matter where we are.
In this piece, I will share my favorite picks for Christmas celebrations.
These ideas are designed to strengthen team bonds and boost engagement, which is crucial for maintaining a cohesive and happy team following any hybrid work schedule.
Whether you're all about fun happy hours and warm, face-to-face gatherings, or you're more like us and love adding little festive moments into daily team routines, there's always something for you to have fun with the team on this occasion.
- 15-minute Christmas Games Ideas
- Christmas Fun Competition Party Ideas
- Exciting Christmas Happy Hour Ideas
- Christmas-related Workshop and Activities Ideas
15-minute Christmas Game Ideas for Remote Teams
Who says screens are a barrier to fun and connection?
I’ve curated a list of exciting games that work like a charm online and offline.
The best part is that each game is quick and effortless to set up.
So you don’t have to worry about your limit on time, but still spread the holiday cheer this Christmas.
1. Break the Christmas Ice
Icebreakers are always a great way to foster team bonds, but they become even more crucial during Christmas (and yes, the pun is intended 😉).
In the enchanting winter atmosphere, icebreakers “warm up” our interactions, draw team members closer, and engage remote employees in the festive spirit.
Imagine yourselves answering this question, “If you could be one of Santa's reindeer, which one would you be and why?” It is a unique way to explore each other’s personalities and fun facts.
And all the craziest ideas and inside jokes will come after the “What would it look like if you could design a new outfit for Santa?”
Try out our exclusive Christmas icebreaker questions:
You can further customize the AI-powered icebreaker questions generator by putting your team members’ names and letting the “virtual facilitator” call out everyone on their turns.
If you much into this kind of virtual icebreaker, check out similar ideas:
- Christmas Would You Rather Questions: “Embarrassing Christmas moment or heartwarming Christmas memory?”, “Hot chocolate or Tea?”, “New or Reusable Christmas tree?” Let’s find out your team’s preference and what it can say about them.
- Christmas Wish: Ask about people’s childhood wishes they sent to Santa Claus.
- Sing the word: Sing a Christmas song, and at whichever term you stop, the next person has to start a new song with that given word.
- Christmas around the world: Each member will share how they celebrate Christmas in their country and culture.
2. Christmas Bingo
Prepare to unleash laughter and lively interactions over a typical Zoom call with Christmas Bingo games.
- In this activity, each member will receive a slightly different bingo card, in which the order of the content is mixed up.
- When the host picks up a calling card that describes an image or an activity that you have, you mark it with a pen or put a candy on the square.
- Whoever fills in the vertical or horizontal line first is the winner.
If a bingo square says, "Has a pet cat on Christmas," it can lead to team members sharing pictures or stories about their pets.
This kind of personal sharing creates deeper connections and opens up lines of communication beyond just work-related topics.
When discussing each other’s vibes and fun stuff, does it feel much more like a tight-knit family gathering around the holidays?
You can do more to customize your Bingo sheets in three styles:
- Christmas Graphic: Create bingo cards with different icons on each square – a Santa Claus, ginger cookie, Christmas bauble, bell, and more. Each sheet will have a different combination of rows or columns. To play, simply call out the items or show images of these holiday symbols.
- Christmas Experience: Each square shows a cherished Christmas experience that people might have been through, like “building a snowman,” “drinking hot cocoa by the fireplace,” “having a Christmas movie marathon,” or “celebrating Christmas in a different country.” As each experience is called out, people can mark their card if they’ve done it. Playing this version will remind me of one’s good memories and traditions. Deep conversations will naturally flow then.
- Christmas Activity: This version is all about letting people actively participate and interact with each other. Plan your bingo cards with fun, holiday-related activities like “Sing a Christmas carol,” “Share a favorite holiday recipe,” “Describe your unique holiday cocktail,” or “Show off your ugliest Christmas sweater.” People must complete a row or column to win by acting out what each square says.
Bonus: You can consider festive awards like a giant Santa sock for presents or an e-grocery voucher to spread holiday cheer.
3. Tease Your Brain With Christmas Trivia
A trivia game is a fun way to bring up a lot of noise and lovely chaos in gatherings.
By having a list of good questions about any topic, you can let the team compete over what they know.
It's amazing to see the excitement around interesting facts, like the capital of Iceland or who invented the zipper.
This way, we also learn together and grow closer as a team.
To make it more lively than just an ask-and-answer format, you can play Trivia with the team through platforms such as Kahoot! (an interactive tool designed for engaging, competition-focused games), Mentimeter (a simple tool to create your own Trivia sets), or TriviaMaker (ready-to-play online Trivia collections).
I recommend the list of Christmas Trivia questions below:
4. Draw Telepathy Christmas Edition
The drawing game is very interactive and can challenge how well your team members understand each other.
The sky is the limit.
Accuracy is not a fundamental parameter of this game. Creativity is!
Our favorite game at FlexOS is Gartic Phone in the “Normal” mode. In the game:
- One person writes a sentence (about anything Christmas-related.)
- The following person visualizes the sentence.
- The next one writes a sentence about the visualization they see.
The final work for your sentence will be very different from what you imagine. And that’s precisely the fun of it!
- Try different modes for a fresh experience each time, such as Knock-off (drawing from memory), Ice Breaker (answering a question with drawings), Animation (building up on other's art to create a GIF), or Story (work together to weave a narrative).
- At the end of the game, share the screen and see how a sentence or image has been transformed through your team’s filters.
5. Christmas Scavenger Hunt
For people who spend most of their office time sitting in one place looking at the screen, a scavenger hunt is a great way to explore your office and talk to colleagues.
The game requires you to find as many items on the list as possible. Set a specific timeframe, like an hour, to add excitement.
How detailed and explicit the scavenger hunt list is totally up to you, but it might look something like this:
Such activities break the monotony and foster team bonding and creativity.
You can quickly adapt this for virtual teams. Share a list of items on-screen and challenge team members to find 7-10 items in their homes within 5 minutes.
There is no limit to how creative they can be.
Adjust the difficulty level of the scavenger hunt based on your team's enthusiasm and engagement:
- Easy: Give broad descriptions such as “Something red,” “Something smells good,” or “Something you can eat.”
- Medium: List specific items such as “A sock,” “A pink bauble,” or “A gingerbread.”
- Hard: Challenge the team with riddles or questions. For example, “The thing children usually put at the head of their bed for Santa.” or “A brown and round cake that is very popular at Christmas.”
6. Family Feud Christmas Edition
If you, like me, are an early Gen Z, you might recall the excitement of Family Feud from family nights.
For those unfamiliar, Family Feud is a popular game show where teams compete to name the most popular answers to survey questions.
It's more than just a game; it's about team brainstorming, strengthening bonds, and ensuring everyone feels included.
What You'll Need:
- Prepare a list of Christmas-themed questions
- Conduct a brief survey within your team to find answers and assign points based on the answers.
I recommend these topics for the holiday to delve into your team's holiday preferences and traditions:
- What's the most popular Christmas movie?
- Name a staple food at every Christmas dinner.
- Where's the top Christmas travel destination?
- What's this year's most popular Christmas gift?
- What is your team's favorite Christmas song?
Here's how to play Family Feud:
- Divide your team into two groups and introduce the game using our Random Team Generator.
- Each round focuses on different topics.
- Teams take turns guessing the most popular answers.
- Award points based on how popular each answer is. The team with the highest score at the end of each round wins.
Try our Random Team Generator:
Unique Christmas Party Competitions to Boost Camaraderie
I still remember my colleague once showed up to work wearing a sweater with our worst team selfies on it to compete in the Ugliest Sweater Contest.
Such fun competitions are fantastic for nurturing team spirit and getting everyone to work together.
Here are some festive competition ideas to help your team get into the holiday spirit:
7. Christmas Desk Decoration Contest
The most effective way to feel the Christmas spirit is to bring it to where you work - the desk. No matter where that desk is.
John Coleman, the author of “HBR Guide to Crafting Your Purpose,” spent a whole HBR article on how “a beautiful workplace can make your life more joyful and meaningful.”
A fun desk decorating contest can encourage people to make their (home) working space more customized and enjoyable, especially during this festive season.
From classic to playful, people can pick their favorite theme for an impressive working desk transformation, such as Gingerbread House, Elsa Castle, cozy Santa Claus House, or Minion Paradise.
How to organize the Christmas Cubicles Contest:
- Pick a day and time that works well for most people to attend, like an afternoon a few weeks before Christmas. The decorating period should start at least a week before the contest date to give everyone ample time to plan and execute their designs.
- Set a budget cap, such as $20 or $30, to ensure fairness and encourage creative use of limited resources. This way, everyone is on the same playing field, and it's all about creativity, not just spending.
- Prepare simple guidelines detailing the contest rules and announce the contest to your team.
- For voting, ask participants to upload before-and-after photos of their desks to a dedicated Slack channel. The photo with the most likes and comments will win. Alternatively, you can have a live vote during the contest day, in person, or on a Zoom call.
- Prepare fun awards like "Most Festive," "Most Creative," and "Best Budget Decoration" so that everyone has something to cheer on.
If your team is worldwide and not tied to a physical workplace, the "Home Office" Decoration Contest might fit you better.
In this version, team members will decorate their work-from-home corner. Then, you can hold a virtual tour on a designated day for voting on the best decor.
Otherwise, if you don't have much time for decorating but still want to have some kind of this Christmas makeover, consider the simple "Christmas Frame" Contest, where everyone has to show up with the most impressive Zoom background and effects.
Let's see who has the best Holly Jolly virtual look!
8. Christmas Team-up Office Decoration
After individual cubicles are decked out in festive glory, why not extend this spirit of creativity to our shared spaces? That's where Christmas Team-up Office Decoration comes in.
Live, laugh, love, Christmas. It has to be Christmas everywhere we go.
And you don't need to spend much money to make your office look nice! Instead, reusing items from last year's decoration or using recyclable materials found in the office could be a creative push.
To organize this activity, you need to:
- Pick a time for everyone to decorate their assigned areas together. It could be a light Friday night or span over the first week of December.
- Divide the office into teams, each responsible for a specific area like the pantry or meeting room.
- Encourage teams to brainstorm and plan their decoration ideas together.
Who else could be a judge for your decorating competition if it’s not your boss?
Try inviting the office’s janitors and tea ladies.
They know every nook and cranny of the office to be fair judges for which team has best captured the Christmas spirit.
9. Christmas Tree Decorating Contest
A Christmas tree is the heart of the Christmas spirit in every household.
In countries that celebrate Christmas, people can spend days working on their trees. So why not show off your effort to “flex” and gain recognition?
How to organize a Tree Decorating Contest:
- Announce a time frame and a portal where people can post a photo of their Christmas tree.
- All the team members have one day to vote for their favorite tree. Each person can vote for two trees.
- The picture with the highest number of likes wins the game.
You can even post the tree photo on social media, hashtag your company competition name, and tag your friends and family members for likes and comments!
10. Ugliest Christmas Sweater Competition
Christmas is the time to bring out the best layering and sweater outfits in your closet.
But let's make it more playful, and show us your ugliest sweater. It is a way to embrace fun and laughter - the season's spirit.
A sprinkle of creativity can help you leverage an existing sweater in your wardrobe into a winning one.
How to own the ugliest Christmas sweater in the room:
- Screw the design standard: Mix the brightest color with the most random images possible. You can also print yourself or your team on the sweater.
- Turn yourself into a Christmas tree: Wrap yourself in a tinsel garland.
- Accessories: Don’t forget to match your sweater with a giant pearl necklace, mismatched socks, and a pair of Crocs.
If you’re about to organize this competition in the office, create a runway for every participant to showcase themselves fully.
The host can also ask interactive questions with candidates to know their inspiration.
A perfect award for this competition would be the missing piece to enhance the look. How about a funny Christmas tree hat to match with the ugliest sweater?
11. Christmas Team Photo Contest
Photos are beautiful memories that you can revisit every time you want.
A Christmas photo contest at work is an efficient way for people to keep the best memories with their workmates.
If you’ve already lived up your office with a festive Christmas look, a few extra steps below will 10x engage your teams:
- Announce the activity that each person will take a picture in the office (with the most creative or funniest pose!)
- Copy our Photo Collage template, and share the link with your team. This is where the team can upload their photos and call for votes.
- Those who have the most votes will win. I suggest these surprise awards for more cheerfulness:
- Santa’s Funniest Elves: for whose most entertaining photo.
- Best Themed Dress: for those who wear well-thought-out Christmas-themed attire in their photo.
- Best Christmas Pet Cameo: for those who have a pet in their Christmas photo in a fun or cute way.
- Best Storytelling Photo: for whose photo tells the greatest story or message,
Cheers To Exciting Christmas Happy Hour Ideas
Happy Hour is the best!
It's the perfect time for our team to kick back and chill out.
We always have a good time over drinks, catching up, and making great memories.
Are you, too?
And we’re all searching for great ideas to turn an upcoming Christmas Happy Hour a blast, aren’t we?
Here are some not-so-obvious happy hour ideas from my side for your remote, multi-cultural teams:
12. Share Holiday Potluck
Christmas is about sitting with your loved ones and sharing a meal.
Our food can tell a lot about us. A potluck meal can be a chance for a diverse team to learn about each other’s culture and favorite food memories.
Each team member can bring one Christmas-themed food to the office for a holiday potluck and have a mini lunch feast together.
How to have a cozy full course:
- Design your team’s menu to include appetizers, main courses, or desserts.
- Let people sign up for what they will bring.
- Don’t forget your vegetarian colleagues and team members who don’t eat onions.
For virtual teams, although you cannot share the food, you can:
- Organize a virtual meal where people can introduce the traditional Christmas food in their country.
- Have a meal online while watching music videos or a movie together.
13. Reach Out To Special Catering Ideas
I've always found that great food is the heart of any Christmas celebration.
Holiday catering creates an excellent space for people to get together and talk about their work, life, and whatever they want to.
Catering vendors can also relieve the burden and let you fully enjoy the party.
For small teams of 5-7 people, you can sit, dine, and engage in deeper conversations with a full course menu.
For bigger teams, consider having a finger food or cake menu. This way, it’s easier for people to grab their food and move around, talking to each other or getting involved in other activities.
Some possible catering ideas are:
- 3-Course Plated Dinner - Garden salad, roasted turkey breast with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie for dessert.
- Family-Style Dinner - Mixed greens salad to share, lasagne baked in a pan with garlic breadsticks, and Christmas cookies and brownies for dessert.
- Fondue Party - Cheese fondue appetizer, salad, and chocolate fondue for dipping fruit, cakes, and marshmallows.
- Holiday Sliders - Mini burgers, pulled pork, and fried chicken sliders with Christmas cookie milkshakes.
- Tapas Style - Bacon-wrapped dates, spiced meatballs, olive tapenade, manchego stuffed peppers, and flatbread.
- Antipasto Skewers - Mozzarella, salami, artichoke hearts, olives, and cherry tomatoes on skewers.
- Loaded Potato Skins - Crispy skins with cheddar, bacon, green onion, and sour cream with chili on the side.
- Cupcake Tree - Christmas tree display of frosted holiday cupcakes.
- Yule Log Cake with Berries - Chocolate swiss roll cake with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.
- Assorted Christmas Cookies - Display of decorated sugar cookies, gingerbread people, and finger sandwich cookies.
No matter the team size, it’s all about engagement and connection on such a special occasion. But a little nudge makes it go easier!
P/S: Don’t forget a vegetarian or someone with alliumphobia in your team!
14. Guess Your Christmas Secret Santa
The best feeling at Christmas is exchanging gifts with your loved ones.
However, the value does not lie in the materialistic price of the present but in showing attentiveness to each other.
We play this every year and still have our first-time excitement up to this day.
How to host a Secret Santa:
- Each member is randomly assigned a Santa baby, to whom you will give a present.
- In 1-2 weeks before the gift exchange day, Secret Santa has to secretly and subtly take care of and support their Santa baby without being too obvious.
- The host can set the maximum budget for the presents.
- On the gift exchange day, each person has to guess who their Secret Santa is based on their previous conversations and actions during the last week.
For virtual teams, Secret Santa can send the recipient:
- A Christmas letter.
- A recommended list of favorite music and movies.
- Host a virtual date to bond with each other.
15. Host A Christmas Movie Night
Whether it is an online or offline team, a movie night is an effortless way to relax and bond with the team.
What you’ll need:
- A conference room or open space with comfy seating. Make sure there is a wall/screen to project the movie on.
- Preparing logistics, including projector and speakers. Test everything beforehand to ensure the best experience on your team's Christmas date.
- Some movie snacks like popcorn, hot chocolate (it’s Christmas!), and cookies.
Here is the curated list of Christmas movies that your team can choose:
- Home Alone (1990) - A classic series that constantly ranks #1 every Christmas. People will always enjoy watching the little boy Kevin using his witty tricks to trap the silly thieves who want to rob the house.
- A Christmas Carol (2009) - A beautifully written story by Charles Dickens. The film follows Ebenezer Scrooge's transformation on a fateful Christmas Eve, filled with a stellar cast and stunning cinematography.
Besides the above classic movies, bond with your Gen Z team over:
- Mean Girls (2004): Just like Mariah Carey's music, the film is the Christmas anthem for youngsters.
- Frozen (2013 and 2019): Join Anna and Elsa in the kingdom of Arendelle as they navigate their way through love, self-acceptance, and the bonds of sisterhood.
- A Christmas Intern (2023): The movie is about a retired mother who becomes an intern for her daughter’s business - Cyber Santa. The film will be released on December 16.
Best Activities To Celebrate Christmas
Handmade gifts are the most expressive way to show your genuine care and love for the recipients.
Besides its practical purpose of making a gift, organizing a crafting space or handmade workshop can also boost people’s well-being at work.
Here are some activity ideas that get your team excited every holiday season:
16. Set Up A Christmas Card Corner
No matter what present you select for this year, a Christmas card is a must-have, right?
A simple handmade card can sometimes say even more than its actual content.
It can also be a simple way to show your care and appreciation to your teammates.
Any office can foster the spread of love by setting up a dedicated corner for card crafting.
Here’s how to Set up a Christmas Card Corner:
- Choose a place that is easily accessible but not too crowded. You want people to have space to sit and craft their cards.
- Prepare materials, including papers, markers, colored pencils, watercolor paints, tinsel garlands, stickers, scissors, envelopes, and more.
- If you want it to be a lively activity, set up a self-service snack bar (with cookies, tea, and chocolate) and a cozy photo booth for people to take pictures with their unique cards.
To encourage your team to join the crafting, consider:
- Place samples of decorated cards for inspiration.
- Ask a dexterous person in your team to help people craft their cards.
- Print out simple origami instructions on how to do a deer or a Santa Claus.
17. Make Your Own Christmas Wreath
Hanging a wreath is like hearing the doorbell of Christmas.
That’s why I believe a Christmas wreath workshop is one of the great ideas to ring the festive bell in the office.
Many vendors have the expertise in organizing wreath-making workshops for companies.
For the group of 20 people, the price is around 45-85 USD per person.
They can help you prepare the logistics and guide your team through the process.
However, if you are a small team and prefer to figure things out together, you can prepare the materials, turn on online tutorials, and experiment with the idea yourselves.
What you’ll need for the materials:
- Wreath rings
- Pine cones
- Florist wires
- Evergreen Oak
- Dried florist products
18. Mold Your Christmas Pottery
Are you ready to get your hands dirty to make beautiful decorations?
It’s time to get your fingers off the keyboard and touch some clays.
The easiest way to organize a pottery class in the office is to collaborate with an external vendor.
The price is generally around 60-100 USD per person, depending on the level of customization and if you want to have a polished bring-home product.
Some interesting Christmas pottery stuff you can make:
- Christmas tree-shaped plate
- Spoon holder
- Candle holder
19. Light Up The Christmas Scented Candle
We do not only see Christmas, we feel it.
The cold, the snow, the excitement, the smell - those are signifiers of Christmas.
A scented candle class can hit all the boxes. It is quick and easy to do, budget-friendly, and loved by every recipient.
The price is around 20-50 USD per person, which gives you flexibility to tailor it to your preferences.
Smells that yell Christmas:
- Roasted Chestnut
- Fresh pine
20. Bake The Christmas Cake
In the article from The University of Alabama of Birmingham, Gavin Jenkins, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, shared:
“In our literature, there is a recognition that breadmaking can make people happier, support creativity and give people a sense of achievement.” - Dr. Gaven Jenkins
A Christmas cake workshop can be a therapy session in and of itself.
Most vendors make their workshops beginner-friendly; thus, there is no pressure to have prior baking experience.
Some vendors bill on the number of cakes. Otherwise, the price for each person is around 100-200 USD.
You can integrate the workshop with a decoration contest to double the fun.
21. Mix Your Drink
As someone who loves experimenting with cocktails, I think mixology is such a fun skill to learn - it's like edible art!
You can plan a mixology workshop after the Happy Hour party or before your movie time. Perfect date, right?
The price is around 60-80 USD per person for all ingredients provided. Virtual classes on mixology cost around 30-40 USD.
While professional mixology workshops have their place, I'd love to save some money and keep things casual by mixing cocktails as a team over Zoom.
It's an excellent way for us to unwind and get creative with the ingredients we have at home.
- Let everyone pick their favorite recipe.
- During the scheduled gathering, we can each make the drinks step-by-step and share mixing tips or modifications based on what we have on hand.
The best part is enjoying the fruits of our labor together (even if virtual) before signing off for a holiday break. Let's toast to our mixology skills!
Christmas Is Around The Corner
Before you know it, the most magical time of the year will be right at your office doorstep.
For physical and virtual teams alike, with a wide range of ideas, activities, and some thoughtful consideration, the Christmas blessings can blur all borders and bring us all together.
Let's make this festive season extra special by creating lasting memories in the workplace and embracing the spirit of togetherness.
We wish your work family a joyful holiday season!
Every week, I scan the news for must-know stories about the employee-centric, happier, distributed, and AI-driven future of work.