14 Ideas to Celebrate the Holidays With Your Remote Team

November 21, 2023
A remote team celebrating the holidays together over a video call

As the holiday season approaches, it's important to acknowledge and celebrate this special season for remote work environments. The essence of the holidays, often marked by joy, togetherness, and a festive spirit, doesn't diminish just because our work environments have shifted to a virtual setting. In fact, celebrating the holidays is often more crucial in a remote work setting, as it helps bridge the physical distance and brings a sense of unity and belonging among team members.

Celebrating the holidays with your remote team can significantly boost morale. These celebrations are not just about having fun, they play a pivotal role in fostering team spirit. Engaging in holiday activities, from virtual holiday parties to digital Secret Santa exchanges, encourages interaction, collaboration, and strengthens the bonds between team members. It reminds everyone on the team that they are part of a community who have more in common than just work objectives.

As you adapt to the nuances of remote work, it’s essential to adapt your holiday traditions to this new environment. In this article, "14 Ideas to Celebrate the Holidays With Your Remote Team," we offer creative and engaging activities designed to bring holiday cheer to your virtual office space. From online team building games to virtual holiday recipe shares, these ideas will spread festive joy and enhance the overall remote work experience during this special time of year.

Illustration of a fun virtual holiday party
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1. Virtual Holiday Party

The cornerstone of all holiday celebrations, the virtual holiday party, provides an exceptional opportunity to bring remote team members together for an evening of fun and camaraderie. Organizing a themed virtual party via video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams can transform normal run-of-the-mill meetings into a festive gathering.

Choosing a Theme:

Selecting a theme is the first step in planning your virtual holiday party. Themes can range from a classic 'Winter Wonderland' to more creative ideas like 'Ugly Sweater Contest,' 'Holiday Movie Characters,' or 'Around the World' where participants can showcase holiday traditions from different cultures. The theme sets the tone for the event and can make it more engaging and exciting.

Activities and Games:

To elevate the party atmosphere, you’ll want to incorporate various activities and games that are aligned with your theme. Here are some great ideas to consider:

  • Virtual Icebreakers: Start with holiday-themed icebreaker questions to get everyone talking and laughing.
  • Online Trivia: Host a holiday-themed trivia game with questions about different holiday traditions, movies, and songs.
  • Virtual Secret Santa: Organize a Secret Santa gift exchange where team members send gifts to each other's homes and open them together during the party.
  • Holiday Costume Contest: Encourage team members to dress up according to the theme and have a contest with categories like 'Most Creative' or 'Funniest Costume.'
  • Virtual Talent Show: Let team members showcase their talents, be it singing carols, playing an instrument, or sharing a holiday story.
  • Online Cooking or Mixology Class: Engage in a group activity like preparing a holiday cocktail or a simple festive dish, guided by an expert or a willing team member.

Creating the Right Atmosphere:

To make your virtual holiday party feel festive and fun, encourage team members to decorate their work spaces based on the theme. You can also have a holiday playlist playing as background music during the party to add to the festive mood.

Organizing a virtual holiday party is not just about having fun, it can be a great tool for remote team building. It can help foster a sense of belonging and togetherness, reminding everyone that they are part of a vibrant and supportive work team. This can significantly enhance the remote work experience, boost morale, and further strengthen team bonds.

Santa Claus about to come down a chimney

2. Online Secret Santa

The classic holiday tradition, Secret Santa, can easily be adapted to a virtual workplace for remote teams. An online Secret Santa gift exchange is not only a fun and engaging activity, but also a great way to enhance team bonding and spread holiday cheer among remote workers.

Organizing the Exchange:

To start, decide on a budget for the gifts to ensure that it's affordable for all team members. Once the budget is set, use an online Secret Santa generator to randomly assign gift recipients to each participant. Platforms like Elfster, DrawNames, or Secret Santa Organizer are excellent for not only facilitating the random allocation of names, but they also allow participants to create wish lists, which can be helpful in choosing the perfect gift.

Gift Exchange Guidelines:

  • Deadline for Sign-Up: Set a clear deadline for team members to sign up for the Secret Santa exchange.
  • Gift Preferences: Encourage team members to fill out a short list of their likes, dislikes, or wish lists, which can be shared anonymously with their Secret Santa.
  • Shipping Information: Ensure that participants provide their current mailing addresses to facilitate the sending of gifts.
  • Gift Opening Event: Schedule a virtual meeting for everyone to open their gifts together. This adds an element of excitement and allows for everyone to share in immediate reactions and appreciation.

Virtual Gift Exchange:

In cases where a physical exchange of gifts is not feasible, consider sending digital gifts instead. These can include online gift cards, subscriptions to streaming services, or donations to a charity in the person's name. Digital gifts are a convenient and thoughtful way to still show appreciation while celebrating the holidays.

Celebration Gathering:

Online Secret Santa is a fantastic tradition that brings remote teams together to create memorable holiday experiences. Because it requires the active participation in generous acts of giving by everyone, it fosters a strong sense of community and belonging. This is crucial in a remote work environment and is a fun way to celebrate the season's spirit of giving.

Table with a holiday food spread

3. Holiday Recipe Share

The holiday season is synonymous with delicious food and cherished family recipes. Sharing holiday recipes is a delightful way for remote teams to connect over their diverse culinary traditions and favorite dishes, making it a perfect activity for team building and exchange of cultural ideas.

Sharing Favorite Recipes:

The goal is to encourage team members to share their favorite holiday recipes with the entire team. This can be done through a shared online document or a dedicated channel on the team's preferred communication platform, like Slack or Microsoft Teams. Team members can include stories behind their recipes, why they are meaningful to them, and any unique traditions associated with them. This activity will spark lots of conversation and allow team members to learn more about each other, their cultures and holiday customs.

Virtual Cook-Along:

To take the holiday recipe share a step further, organize a virtual cookalong where team members can choose one recipe to prepare together in real-time over a video conference call. This should ideally be a recipe submitted by one of the team members, that everybody is interested in, and is led by the submitter. A cookalong will create an engaging social atmosphere, where team members get to learn a new cooking recipe and technique, and share lots of laughs and tips along the way.

Recipe Exchange:

Alternatively, you can arrange a holiday recipe exchange. Each team member is randomly assigned another team member to whom they provide a detailed recipe. This can be done via email or instant message, accompanied by photos or even a short cooking demonstration video. The recipe recipients can then attempt to make the dish in their own time and share their results with the team, which can create great feedback moments to the entire experience.

Holiday Cookbook:

As a lasting memento of this activity, compile all the shared recipes into a digital holiday cookbook. This should be beautifully designed and shared with the team, serving as a unique memento holiday gift item that each team member can use for years to come.

A holiday recipe share is more than just an exchange of dishes. It's a celebration of the diverse backgrounds and traditions that make up your remote team. It’s a great way to bring warmth and personal connection to the virtual workplace.

Family putting up holiday decorations around the house

4. Virtual Holiday Decoration Contest

The festive season often brings out the creative best in people, and there are few better ways to channel this creativity in a remote work environment than a virtual holiday decoration contest. This activity is all about decking out personal home offices in the most creative ways possible. Virtual decoration contests are fun and engaging ways to encourage team members to express their holiday spirit while adding lots of festive touches to their physical environments.

Setting Up the Contest:

  • Announce the Contest: Send out an email or a message on your team communication platform (like Slack or Microsoft Teams) announcing the decoration contest. Include details like the contest deadline, any themes (if applicable), and how to submit entries.
  • Decoration Guidelines: While encouraging creativity, set some basic guidelines. For instance, the decoration should be visible during video calls, or it should incorporate certain elements like lights, holiday motifs, or DIY crafts.
  • Submission Process: Ask team members to submit photos of their decorated spaces. These could be shared on a digital photo album or on your team’s preferred messaging platform.

Judging and Prizes:

  • Voting System: Decide on a voting system. You could have an anonymous poll where team members vote for their favorite decoration, or appoint a panel of judges to possibly include external guests.
  • Prizes: Announce prizes for different categories such as 'Most Creative,' 'Best DIY Decoration,' 'Most Festive,' etc. Prizes could range from online gift cards to extra vacation days, or even donations to a charity of the winner’s choice.

Sharing and Celebrating:

  • Virtual Showcase: Organize a video call where everyone can showcase their decorations live. This can be a casual meet-up or part of a larger holiday event.
  • Holiday Atmosphere: During this virtual gathering, encourage team members to share stories about how their decorations came about, any special traditions they pulled from, or the inspiration behind their designs.
  • Photo Album: Compile all the photos into a digital photo album and share with the team as a keepsake.

A virtual holiday decoration contest is a wonderful way to bring visual joy and festivity into the remote workplace. It allows team members to bond while showcasing their creativity, sharing a bit of their personal holiday spirit, and enjoying some light-hearted competition.

Virtual team laughing and having fun online

5. Online Game Night

Online game night is an event where your team virtually gets together to play games. The games played can vary widely, from simple party games to more complex board games, many of which are available in online versions. The interactive and engaging nature of games makes them a fantastic way to bring remote teams together for some lighthearted fun. Holiday-themed games add a festive twist, making it an ideal activity for team building and celebrating the season's spirit.

Selecting Holiday-Themed Games:

Choose games that are easy to play virtually and have a holiday twist. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Holiday Trivia: Create a trivia game based on holiday movies, songs, and traditions from around the world.
  • Pictionary or Charades - Holiday Version: Use a digital whiteboard for Pictionary or play charades with holiday-related phrases.
  • Holiday Bingo: Customize bingo cards with holiday-themed items and have a virtual bingo night.
  • Online Board Games: Platforms like Tabletopia or Board Game Arena offer a variety of games that can be given a festive spin.

Organizing the Game Night:

  • Select a Date and Time: Choose a date and time that works for the majority of the team, while taking into account the different time zones.
  • Send Invitations: Use email or your team’s messaging platform to send out digital invites. Include the schedule, the list of games, and any necessary instructions or links.
  • Set Up Platforms: Make sure all the technical aspects are taken care of. Choose a video conferencing platform for the team to gather, and set up any necessary accounts or software for the chosen games.
  • Game Moderators: Assign moderators for each game to keep things running smoothly. They can explain the rules, keep track of scores, and manage the flow of the game night.
  • Prizes and Incentives: Consider having small prizes or incentives for game winners. Digital gift cards or extra time off can be great motivators.

During the Event:

  • Ice Breaker: Start with a quick ice breaker to get everyone relaxed and in a festive mood.
  • Game Rotation: If you have multiple games planned, rotate them to keep the energy high and give everyone a chance to participate in different activities.
  • Casual Atmosphere: Encourage a casual and fun atmosphere. Allow for breaks and casual chit-chat between games to mimic the feel of an in-person game night.

An online game night, especially with a holiday theme, is about more than winning or losing. It’s about building connections, enjoying shared laughter, and creating a sense of belonging among remote team members. It's a creative and engaging way to celebrate the holidays and add some festive joy to the virtual workplace.

Holiday music recital

6. Holiday Playlist Collaboration

Music has a unique way of bringing people together, and a collaborative holiday playlist is a perfect way to capture the diverse musical tastes and holiday traditions of your remote team. Creating a shared holiday music playlist where every team member can add their favorite tunes is a fun way to create a sense of community and shared joy.

Setting Up the Playlist:

  • Choose a Platform: Use a popular music streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music to create the playlist. These platforms are user-friendly and accessible to most team members.
  • Create and Share the Playlist: Name the playlist something festive and fun, then share the link with your team. Ensure the settings allow others to add songs.
  • Guidelines for Adding Songs: While encouraging diversity in music choices, set some basic guidelines to ensure the playlist remains inclusive and enjoyable for everyone. For instance, you might ask team members to limit their selections to a certain number of songs each.

Encouraging Participation:

  • Kick-off the Playlist: Start by adding a few songs yourself to set the tone and encourage others to participate.
  • Diverse Selections: Remind team members to consider adding songs from different genres and cultures to reflect the diversity of the team.
  • Sharing Stories: Encourage team members to share stories or reasons behind their song choices in a team chat or during virtual meetings. This can be a great conversation starter and a way to learn more about each other.

Enjoying the Playlist:

  • Background Music for Meetings: Play the playlist softly in the background during informal virtual meetings or while waiting for a meeting to start.
  • Holiday Party Soundtrack: Use the playlist as the official soundtrack for your virtual holiday party or any other festive team events.
  • Accessibility: Keep the playlist accessible throughout the holiday season so team members can enjoy it even outside of work hours.

Creating a holiday playlist collaboratively is a simple yet effective way to build unity within a remote team. It allows team members to express themselves through music and share a piece of their holiday spirit, enhancing the overall holiday experience in the remote workplace.

People watching a holiday movie together

7. Movie Watch Party

A virtual movie watch party is a cozy and entertaining way to bring your remote team together for some holiday cheer. This event brings everyone together to watch a movie online, synchronizing their viewing experience through streaming services or specialized apps. Your team will be able to stream the same movie simultaneously while interacting via chat or video calls. Organizing a holiday-themed movie night using a streaming service is a fantastic team building activity that combines relaxation with a shared viewing experience.

Selecting the Movie:

  • Poll for Movie Choices: Create a list of popular holiday movies, considering a mix of classics and new releases. Use your team’s messaging platform like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or even an online poll tool to let team members vote on the movie they'd like to watch. This democratic approach not only increases engagement but also ensures the selected movie resonates with the majority.
  • Diverse Options: Include a range of genres in your list – from heartwarming tales to comedies and animated films – catering to the diverse tastes of your team.

Setting Up the Watch Party:

  • Choose a Streaming Service: Pick a streaming service that offers the selected movie. Many services now have built-in watch party features, or you can use third-party apps like Teleparty (formerly Netflix Party) to sync the viewing experience.
  • Schedule the Event: Decide on a date and time that works for most team members, keeping in mind different time zones. Send out calendar invites with all the details.
  • Technical Check: Before the event, ensure that all team members have access to the chosen streaming service and understand how to join the watch party. It might be helpful to send out instructions or even do a quick test run.

During the Movie Watch Party:

  • Interactive Chat: Utilize the chat feature (if available) for live reactions and comments during the movie. This can make the experience more interactive and enjoyable.
  • Comfort and Snacks: Encourage team members to get comfortable – think blankets, pajamas, and their favorite snacks – to create a cozy, movie-theater-like experience in their own homes.
  • Post-Movie Discussion: After the movie, spend some time discussing it as a group. You can share favorite moments, discuss themes, or simply chat about the experience.

A movie watch party is not just about watching a film, it's about sharing an experience and creating a sense of togetherness among remote team members. It's a simple yet effective way to build connections and add a bit of holiday nostalgia to the remote working experience.

Beautifully designed holiday card

8. Virtual Holiday Card Exchange

A virtual holiday card exchange is a digital adaptation of the traditional practice of exchanging holiday cards, tailored for remote teams. In this exchange, participants create and send holiday greetings to each other electronically, using email, social media, or specialized e-card platforms. This modern take on the holiday card exchange will allow your team to express their festive wishes and thoughts in a creative and convenient way, while still being able to maintain the spirit of the season.

Organizing the Card Exchange:

  • Set Up a Digital Exchange System: Utilize an online platform where team members can sign up to participate in the card exchange. Tools like Elfster or simple email chains can facilitate this process.
  • Create Guidelines: Provide guidelines on the card exchange. For instance, you might suggest a theme for the cards or encourage participants to include a personal note or a brief year-in-review.
  • Embrace Creativity: Encourage team members to get creative with their digital cards. They can use graphic design tools like Canva, Adobe Spark, or even simple PowerPoint templates to create unique and heartfelt cards.

Sharing the Cards:

  • Dedicated Sharing Time: Allocate a time during a team meeting or a separate virtual gathering for everyone to share their cards. This can be a show-and-tell style session where each person presents their card and shares their holiday messages.
  • Digital Display: Create a digital gallery of all the cards. This could be a shared folder, a web page, or a slideshow that team members can access and view at their leisure.

Fostering Connections:

  • Personal Touch: Encourage team members to personalize their cards with individual messages, photos, or even a brief video message. This personal touch can make the card more meaningful and memorable.
  • Inclusivity: Remind everyone to be inclusive and respectful of different cultural backgrounds and holiday traditions.

A virtual holiday card exchange is more than just swapping digital greetings; it's an opportunity for team members to express their creativity, share a piece of their lives, and convey their appreciation and holiday wishes to their colleagues. It's a heartfelt way to build stronger connections within your remote team and spread holiday joy in a uniquely digital format.

Serving people at a food bank

9. Charity or Volunteering Activity

The holiday season is often associated with giving back and helping those in need. For remote teams, participating in a group charity activity or virtual volunteering can be a meaningful and fulfilling way to celebrate this aspect of the holidays. It not only contributes positively to the community but also strengthens the team's bond through shared values and altruism.

Choosing a Charity Activity:

  • Team Discussion: Begin with a team discussion to choose a cause or charity. It's important to select an organization or activity that resonates with the team's values and interests. This could be anything from supporting a food bank, contributing to environmental causes, or aiding a children's charity.
  • Options for Participation: Depending on the team's preference and the nature of the charity, you can choose a direct donation drive, where team members contribute financially, or engage in virtual volunteering activities like online tutoring, virtual fundraising events, or digital advocacy campaigns.

Organizing the Activity:

  • Coordinate Efforts: Appoint a coordinator or a small committee to manage the logistics. This includes liaising with the charity, setting up donation channels, or organizing the virtual volunteering schedule.
  • Set Goals: Establish clear goals for the charity activity. This could be a monetary target for donations or a certain number of volunteer hours the team aims to collectively achieve.
  • Share Progress: Keep the team updated on progress made towards the goals. This could be through regular emails, a tracker on the team's communication platform, or updates in team meetings.

Engaging and Reflecting:

  • Team Reflection: After completing the activity, have a team reflection session. This is a great time for team members to share their experiences, what they learned, or how the activity impacted them.
  • Recognition: Acknowledge the team's effort and the difference made through the activity. This could be in the form of a thank-you note from the charity, a recognition post on the company’s internal platforms, or a feature in the company newsletter.

Participating in a charity or volunteering activity is an enriching experience for remote teams. It provides a way for team members to come together for a noble cause, reinforcing the spirit of compassion and generosity that characterizes the holiday season. Moreover, it enhances team morale and demonstrates the company's commitment to social responsibility, making it a profoundly impactful holiday celebration activity.

Kid contestants in talent show

10. Online Talent Show

An online talent show with a holiday theme presents an extraordinary opportunity for remote teams to showcase their diverse talents and creativity, adding a fun and engaging twist to holiday celebrations. This virtual event has become particularly popular in remote work environments allowing team members to connect and entertain each other from different locations. Participants can exhibit a wide range of talents, such as singing, playing musical instruments, dancing, magic tricks, or even unique skills like digital art creation. An online talent show will not only provide entertainment, but will also allow team members to get to know each other on a more personal level, boosting morale and team spirit.

Planning the Talent Show:

  • Announce the Event: Use your team communication platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams to announce the talent show. Provide details about the date, time, and how to sign up.
  • Theme and Guidelines: Set a holiday theme for the talent show. Encourage participants to incorporate elements of the festive season into their performances, whether it's through a song, dance, magic trick, or any other talent they wish to showcase.
  • Registration Process: Create a simple sign-up process for performers. Ensure there's a clear deadline for registration to allow ample time for planning and preparation.

Setting Up the Talent Show:

  • Choose a Host: Appoint a host or emcee for the event to introduce performers, transition between acts, and keep the event lively and organized.
  • Technical Setup: Ensure a reliable video conferencing platform is used for the event. Conduct a technical run-through with participants beforehand to troubleshoot any potential issues.
  • Program Schedule: Create a schedule or lineup of performances. Share this with the team beforehand so everyone knows what to expect.

During the Talent Show:

  • Audience Engagement: Encourage the audience (team members) to show their support through virtual applause, chat comments, or reactions.
  • Diverse Acts: Ensure a variety of acts are presented, reflecting the diverse talents and interests of your team.
  • Recording: Consider recording the talent show (with participants' consent) so it can be shared or revisited later, especially for those who couldn't attend live.

Post-Event Celebration:

  • Acknowledgements: Thank all participants and attendees for their involvement and for making the event successful.
  • Highlight Reel: Create a highlight reel or a compilation of the performances to share with the team. This serves as a fun reminder of the event and can be a part of your team’s holiday memories.

An online talent show is a great way to display your remote team’s diverse talents and celebrate their individuality. It provides a platform for team members to express themselves, connect with colleagues, and create lasting memories, all while celebrating the holiday season.

People at costume party

11. Themed Dress-up Days

Inject a bit of festive fun into the workday with themed dress-up days. Designate certain work days for holiday-themed attire during video calls, which allow teams to enjoy a playful and visually engaging element in their daily interactions. Themed dress-up day is a simple yet effective way to create a holiday atmosphere in a remote work setting that creates a festive environment and enhances team spirit.

Setting Up Themed Dress-Up Days:

  • Select Themes: Choose themes for the dress-up days. Ideas could range from 'Festive Sweaters' to 'Winter Wonderland', 'Holiday Characters', or even 'Pajama Day' for a more relaxed vibe. Be creative and consider having a mix of both traditional and unique themes.
  • Communicate the Schedule: Announce the dress-up days well in advance. Use your team's communication platforms to share the schedule and details of each theme, giving team members time to prepare.
  • Inclusivity: Ensure that the themes are inclusive and respectful of all cultures and traditions within your team. Encourage participation but also make it clear that it’s optional, respecting individual comfort levels.

During Themed Dress-Up Days:

  • Showcase on Calls: Encourage team members to showcase their themed attire during video calls. This can be a great conversation starter and a way to break the ice in meetings.
  • Photo Sharing: Create a shared digital space, like an album or a Slack channel, where team members can post photos of their outfits if they wish. This allows everyone to see and appreciate the creative efforts, even if they miss the live video calls.
  • Contests and Prizes: To add an element of excitement, consider organizing a contest for the 'Best Dressed' or 'Most Creative' attire, with small prizes or recognitions.

Benefits of Themed Dress-Up Days:

  • Engagement and Fun: These themed days are an excellent way to engage remote employees and create a fun, festive work environment.
  • Team Bonding: Dress-up days can lead to shared laughter and stories, helping to strengthen bonds between team members.
  • Visual Festivity: They add a visual element of festivity and joy to the routine virtual interactions, making the holiday season feel more present and tangible in the remote work setting.

Themed dress-up days are a delightful and easy-to-implement idea for remote teams during the holidays. It allows team members to express their holiday spirit and creativity while bringing a sense of togetherness and festivity to the virtual workplace.

People at a book club

12. Holiday Book Club

A holiday book club is a seasonal spin on the traditional book club concept, where participants read and discuss a book that has a theme related to the holidays. This is a novel and intellectually stimulating way to engage remote teams during the festive season. Selected books can range from classic Christmas tales and winter romances to more contemporary holiday stories, offering a chance to explore various genres and authors. Participants typically read the book independently over a set period and then come together, either in person or virtually, to discuss their thoughts, insights, and reflections on the book. Team members will connect over shared literary experiences, sparking insightful conversations and building a sense of camaraderie.

Setting Up the Book Club:

  • Choose a Book: Select a holiday-themed book that is accessible and appealing to a broad audience. Consider various genres like festive-themed novels, winter mysteries, or inspirational stories that embody the spirit of the season. It's important to pick a book that is relatively short and engaging to accommodate different reading speeds and work schedules.
  • Announce and Schedule: Use your team communication channels to announce the book club and provide details about the chosen book. Set a timeline for reading and schedule a discussion date, allowing enough time for team members to read the book at their own pace.

Organizing the Discussion:

  • Discussion Leader: Appoint a discussion leader or rotate this role for each meeting. The leader can prepare a few questions or discussion points to guide the conversation.
  • Virtual Meeting: Host the discussion on a video conferencing platform. Encourage an open and inclusive discussion environment where all team members feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and interpretations.
  • Interactive Elements: Consider incorporating interactive elements like polls or quizzes based on the book to make the discussion more engaging.

Enhancing the Experience:

  • Share Insights: Encourage team members to share any personal insights, experiences, or perspectives that the book may have evoked. This can deepen the understanding and connection between team members.
  • Diverse Perspectives: As your team might be culturally diverse, use this as an opportunity to appreciate different viewpoints and interpretations influenced by various backgrounds and experiences.
  • Follow-Up: After the discussion, you can send out a summary of the key points discussed or a list of recommended books for further reading.

A holiday book club not only provides a welcome break from the everyday work routine but also offers a platform for intellectual engagement and personal growth. It's an effective way to build a sense of community within remote teams, encouraging members to connect on a deeper level beyond day-to-day work-related interactions.

Digital artwork depicting a virtual escape room

13. Virtual Escape Room Challenge

Participating in a holiday-themed virtual escape room is an exhilarating and interactive way for remote teams to engage in some festive team building. This activity challenges team members to work together to solve puzzles and complete tasks, fostering collaboration, problem-solving skills, and a sense of achievement, all within the fun context of a holiday-themed adventure.

Choosing a Virtual Escape Room:

  • Research Options: Look for companies that offer virtual escape room experiences with a holiday theme. These can range from winter wonderland adventures to holiday heist scenarios.
  • Consider Difficulty and Duration: Choose an escape room that matches your team’s skill level and available time. Ensure it's neither too easy nor too complex and can be completed in a reasonable time frame.

Organizing the Event:

  • Form Teams: Depending on the size of your remote team, you can form multiple smaller teams or work as one group. Smaller teams can encourage more participation and interaction among team members.
  • Schedule the Challenge: Set a date and time that works for all participants, considering different time zones. Ensure everyone is clear about the logistics and how to access the virtual escape room.
  • Briefing Session: Before starting the challenge, have a briefing session to explain the rules, set the context, and answer any questions. This helps in setting the right expectations and preparing the team for the challenge.

During the Challenge:

  • Communication is Key: Encourage teams to communicate effectively. Since this is a virtual activity, clear and concise communication becomes even more crucial.
  • Leadership and Collaboration: Virtual escape rooms provide an opportunity for different team members to take the lead on various puzzles, showcasing leadership and collaborative skills.

Post-Challenge Debrief:

  • Discuss the Experience: After completing the challenge, hold a debrief session where teams can discuss their strategies, what worked well, and what they could have done differently. This is also a great time to share moments of fun and frustration.
  • Celebrate the Success: Acknowledge the effort and success of all participants. Celebrating the completion of the challenge, regardless of whether the team 'escaped' or not, is important for team morale.

A virtual escape room challenge is an excellent team building exercise for remote teams. It provides an engaging platform for teamwork and problem-solving, wrapped in the festive joy of the holiday season, creating a more fun and stimulating remote work experience.

Group of happy employees on zoom conference call

14. Year-End Reflection Session

As the holiday season also marks the end of the year, it provides a perfect opportunity for remote teams to come together in a year-end reflection session. This activity is not just about reviewing professional achievements but also about sharing holiday wishes and acknowledging the personal and collective growth experienced throughout the year. It’s a moment to pause, reflect, and celebrate, fostering a sense of accomplishment and community within the team.

Planning the Reflection Session:

  • Schedule the Session: Choose a date close to the end of the year, ensuring most team members can attend. Send out calendar invites and a brief agenda of the session.
  • Structure the Session: Plan a structured yet flexible agenda. Include segments for professional achievements, personal milestones, team accomplishments, and a segment for holiday wishes and forward-looking statements for the new year.

Conducting the Session:

  • Opening Remarks: Begin with opening remarks from a team leader or manager, highlighting the importance of reflection and acknowledging the team's hard work throughout the year.
  • Sharing Achievements: Encourage team members to share their professional highlights and milestones. This could include successful projects, new skills learned, or any challenges overcome.
  • Personal Reflections: Create a space for personal reflections. Team members can share meaningful personal experiences or growth moments from the year.
  • Gratitude and Acknowledgments: Foster a culture of gratitude by encouraging team members to acknowledge each other's support and contributions.

Holiday Wishes and Looking Forward:

  • Holiday Messages: Allow time for team members to share their holiday wishes with each other, adding a warm and personal touch to the session.
  • Vision for the New Year: Conclude the session by looking forward. Team members can share their aspirations or goals for the new year, both professionally and personally.

Enhancing the Experience:

  • Visual Elements: Consider incorporating visual elements like a slideshow of the year's highlights or a video montage.
  • Follow-Up: After the session, share a summary or a compilation of the key reflections and holiday messages as a keepsake for the team.

A year-end reflection session is a powerful way to close the year on a positive note. It provides a moment for remote teams to connect on a deeper level, celebrating the year's journey, acknowledging each other's contributions, and sharing hopes and wishes for the future, thereby strengthening the team bond as they step into the new year.

New Year celebrations


The holiday season, with its spirit of joy and togetherness, presents a unique opportunity to strengthen the bonds within remote teams. The 14 ideas outlined in this article are more than just festive activities, they are tools to build a strong, connected team, essential in a remote work environment. From virtual holiday parties and online game nights to themed dress-up days and year-end reflection sessions, each activity is designed to foster collaboration, enhance communication, and promote a sense of belonging among team members.

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