It’s that time of year again. When workplaces all over the country stick up their Christmas decorations and get ready for the annual Christmas party. It’s a great way to wind down after a busy year and get to know your colleagues better over a glass of mulled wine and a slice of Christmas cake.

But with the global pandemic still in full swing, it’s unlikely that any offices will be able to enjoy their festive get-togethers. Social distancing is very much in full force and there are limitations on large public gatherings. Employees will be celebrating their Christmases at home with their families instead.

For managers and office staff who usually plan the Christmas party, this is disappointing news. You want to reward your team for their hard work, particularly in light of the difficult year everyone’s had, and a big celebration is the best way to do that.

Fortunately, the global restrictions don’t necessarily mean you have to throw your festive plans out the window. Through a little ingenuity, it will be perfectly possible for you to throw an entertaining, and Covid-friendly, Christmas bash that your staff will never forget. Online communication tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have been a lifeline throughout a year of restrictions, keeping people together, and ensuring business carries on as usual. And a virtual office party held online can be just as much fun as the real thing.

Here are a few tips for planning your own virtual office Christmas party.

Get festive

It’s easy to make a real office party feel Christmassy. Simply plaster the room with decorations, stick a Christmas tree in the corner, and have some cheesy seasonal music playing. But when you’re talking to a bunch of disembodied heads on your computer screen, it takes a bit more to get in that festive vibe. Boost the party vibe by imposing a dress code. It could be Christmas jumpers and Santa hats, or if you prefer a touch of class, opt for black tie. It’s up to you. Get some Christmas music playing through the speakers and do what you can to make everyone forget the news for a few hours.

Plan entertainment

It will take a little more work to keep the fun going with a virtual event, but planning some entertainment is the best way to keep the spirit up. Create a Christmas quiz as an icebreaker, or think up some festive games to get everyone involved. A virtual photo booth will get everyone laughing, or you could even watch some live music or comedy.

Get smart with catering

Catering your party is difficult, as every guest will be in their own homes. Asking people to provide their own drinks of choice is easy enough, but asking people to bring their own food is a little bit of a downer. One option is to opt for a catering service that will deliver Christmas party food to people’s homes. This way, you can all eat and enjoy the same food together in a unique experience.