12/14/2020 Steve Lovell

Last-minute ideas for a pandemic-proof holiday party

Adding to the ever growing list of 2020’s COVID cancellations, the company holiday party is the latest event on the chopping block. With public health officials still strongly cautioning against in-person get-togethers, the pandemic has put many events on permanent hold.

According to a Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey taken in October, only 23% of companies are hosting holiday gatherings this year. That’s down from 76% in 2019. Of those companies going forward with holiday party plans, roughly 3 out of 4 of them have made the shift to a virtual fete. 

Companies going forward with in-person holiday parties say they will take safety measures like limiting the number of attendees, moving events outside, temperature checks prior to entry and requiring masks and social distancing. Of all Challenger, Gray & Christmas survey respondents, just 1.3% said they will hold an in-person event without any COVID-safety precautions. 

Even with those less-than-festive stats, there is still reason to celebrate. 2020 has been an intensely long and difficult year for workers. In the face of all we’ve endured, it becomes even more important to pause for a moment of merriment. If yours was one of the many companies to put parties on pause this year, it’s not too late to add a last-minute celebration to your schedule.  

Many companies have come up with creative ways to flex their festive muscles, even with  karaoke and canapés off the menu. From trivia to murder mysteries, 2020 has taken virtual parties to the next level. There’s a lot of festive fun to be had via teleconferencing, if you just think outside the box. Ugly sweater contests translate well to the virtual space, or you could even hold a contest to see who can do the best job decorating their home office space. A quick Google yields a host of sources for party games or virtual holiday light tours. And however you structure your virtual event, take the celebration up a notch with a cocktail or mocktail recipe that participants can craft at home for a group toast. 

If your office typically does Secret Santa or White Elephant gift exchange, websites like Elfster or DrawNames help you organize the exchange online. Gifts can be dropped off or shipped, and the opening can be done during a virtual event, or employees can take pictures of their gifts and share via email, Slack or your company’s preferred communication channel.  

Volunteerism is another option that feels particularly appropriate for 2020. Many more families and individuals are finding themselves in need this holiday season, and there are many ways for companies to help. Organizing toy drives and coordinating volunteer shifts at local food banks are fantastic ways to keep employees engaged, help your community and demonstrate company values. Here at LinkUp, we were proud to make a holiday donation of more than 100 pairs of LinkUp socks to local charity The Drawer who “provides warmth and dignity to those in need through gifts of new socks and underwear.” We were also able to donate 200 additional pairs from the Minnesota-based, family-owned business Little Feet Children’s Shoes

However your company chooses to celebrate this year, make sure to stay safe. And from all your friends here at LinkUp – we hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season!