12 Company Holiday Party Ideas Your Employees will Love

November 8, 2021

Discover the best holiday party ideas to celebrate your teams.

How Do You Plan a Company Holiday Party for Work?

The Holiday office party got its start in the 1950s. Office work was still new in the United States. Business owners, management, and the human resources department realized that staff held in a year’s worth of energy and frustration. It’s one reason why they looked forward to their holiday vacations.

Management came up with staff Christmas parties. They allowed their offices to let loose and enjoy adult beverages on-site as they entered the Holiday season.

When you plan a company Holiday party for work, keep in mind the company’s culture and the party’s purpose. Review the parties from the past, and set some party guidelines. You'll also want to consider your budget, timeline, catering, and decorating needs as you review possible company party ideas. 

How Do You Make a Holiday Party Fun?

All Holiday parties can be fun. Picking a theme, planning an outing, or adding some games are three ways to inject fun. Company Holiday party activities encourage participation from all employees. Activities bring them out of their comfort zone. If you offer amusing prizes, it adds a layer to the festive games.

Making a Holiday party fun means getting buy-in from employees. If they’re excited to participate, they’ll carry the momentum and mood with them into the event. The best company Holiday party ideas make fun effortless.

How Do You Celebrate Holidays Virtually with Employees?


Celebrating the Holidays virtually with employees is still new, and it’s evolving. The technology is available and it’s user-friendly. The same software used to attend virtual meetings and conferences is used to celebrate the Holidays virtually.

There are several virtual office party ideas available to party planners. For example, hold a Christmas pajama-themed virtual party. Schedule the time and date. Send out the company Holiday party invite virtually outlining the login information and party theme details. Zoom allows 100 participants per meeting; 1,000 for those who add on the large plan. A virtual party offers a few benefits. If anyone opts to enjoy a few adult beverages, they can from the comfort and safety of their home.

Other fun ideas include virtual dance parties, virtual trivia, etc but if you really want to have a good time, the best virtual party idea is a virtual murder mystery party. Sit back and watch your group be the stars of their own virtual show! Hosted by actual professional actors! No planning involved, just send out the invites and join via zoom. Everyone of your guests will get a part to play and the whole thing is super interactive and yes, it IS actually fun.  Its the perfect ice breaker for virtual company parties and even family reunions via zoom.

12 Company Holiday Party Ideas Your Employees will Love

1. Escape Room

Escape room parties remain a popular group activity. They made the list of best company party ideas in the 2010s. The activity allows employees to work as a team while they solve puzzles and find clues.

Escape rooms allow participants to create a shared experience. It transports the teams to a different world. Rooms vary in difficulty, puzzle type, and theme. 

For an evening, your team can become spies, investigators, or secret agents. Their job is to prevent a crime, solve a mystery, or escape from a bad situation. Escape rooms create adrenaline and every team member contributes by using their strongest skill. It’s a nice treat for those who haven’t visited an escape room, and fun for those who already have. 

Swag Ideas: Hand sanitizer, Rains rucksack, Power bank 

2. Scavenger Hunt

Good company Holiday party ideas encourage participation from every staff member. Scavenger hunts liven up an annual staff party. Team members use their critical thinking skills. They solve clues, explore, and interact with each other on a social level. 

The hunt on its own is fun. The incentive to win increases with an attractive prize. Gift cards, swag, and a nice lunch help stir up motivation and enthusiasm. 

Swag Ideas: Swell teakwood traveler, The New York notebook, rechargeable power bank

3. Dinner and Movie Under the Stars

When the weather allows, take the party outside. Dinner and a movie under the stars provides a comfortable environment for socializing among employees. To pick the movie, have an in-office vote. If time allows, have a double feature.

For the dinner, consider a catered picnic with all the amenities such as tables, benches, and heating lamps. 

Swag Ideas: Ashby Throw, The Popper, Gourmet popcorn

4. Themed Party

Picking a theme sets the tone for the party. It gives your employees time to find their perfect outfits and accessories. Some people enjoy the Holidays and dressing up. A theme gives them direction and sets their expectations. 

Popular themes include Winter Wonderland, Ugly Christmas Sweater, Christmas Tea Party, and the 12 Days of Christmas. The fun is seeing how everyone interprets the theme. Consider adding Holiday week ideas for work to amp up the fun. 

Swag Ideas: Swell sea prism bottle,  ASColour striped tee, Portable light speaker

5. Murder Mystery

When it comes to office Holiday parties, no one did it better than the fictitious characters from The Office. Even though it wasn’t held during a Holiday party, The Office showed us that you can play a game of Murder Mystery at work.

Those who require small company Holiday party ideas and company Holiday party ideas on a budget can opt for the Murder Mystery game.

Or, if you'd rather let someone else handle the mystery so you can relax and enjoy the event, another idea is to hire the best murder mystery company to host your event.  This turn key entertainment option is a great idea for any private or company party. Not only are the shows crazy fun and hosted by professional actors but also super interactive. Everyone will get a part to play and can participate as much or as little as they want while they laugh and try to figure out whodunit. This murderous party will be one they'll talk about for years to come!

Swag Ideas: Dark gourmet hot cocoa, Blood Moon soy wax candle, JBL headphones 

6. Game Night

Some offices need company Holiday party ideas during COVID. Whether health restrictions in your area prevent staff from getting together or most employees are working remotely, a game night theme is a solid rank among the best virtual Holiday party ideas.

Game night is among the easiest to take virtual. Video conferencing software is user-friendly. Plus, most employees have experienced it. Game nights are already fun among friends. They’re even more fun among colleagues. The year 2020 made working remotely, video conferencing, and technology mainstream. Among the changes Americans experienced were working, learning, and meeting with others online. Companies who plan to hold a Zoom holiday party benefit from virtual Holiday party ideas. Pick a date and time. Send the invitation virtually with a link to the Zoom room or platform your company adopts.

Zoom Holiday party ideas include incorporating games and music. Trivia, virtual murder mystery, Pictionary, or charades are fun Holiday party games for a company party to play with others, even virtually.

Swag Ideas: Gummy volcanoes, Strawberry Basil Haus, Bar games coasters

7. Casino Night

Transport your employees to Monte Carlo for the evening. A casino night is a favorite on the annual staff party ideas list. It’s an opportunity for them to dress up, have conversations with colleagues, and try their luck at Blackjack, Roulette, and poker.

Some companies add a charity tie-in to their casino nights. The overall winner receives a prize and the rest of the money goes to charity.

Swag Ideas: Moon magic craft cocktail + Black Gold playing cards + Cocktail Glass Set 

8. Ultimate Office Retreat

For team building purposes, take a retreat with your employees. The ultimate office retreat consists of a welcome reception, outdoor activities, and collaborative workshops. A retreat makes it easy to combine Holiday week ideas for work and team building activities.

A Holiday party takes place in one evening. Retreats are often day-long or weekend events. Instead of holding an office Holiday party, take your employees to a short retreat.

Swag Ideas: Sweet Tangerine Candle, Wake Up Light, Morihata Home Room Shoes

9. Office Brewery Tour

In an office, some will consume adult beverages. An office brewery tour offers beer tasting opportunities for those who want to partake. It also offers a delicious lunch or dinner for the entire party.

A brewery tour is something different for an office Holiday party. But it has all the necessary elements - drinks, food, and an environment conducive to fun company holiday party activities.

Swag Ideas: Full-zip hoodie, Stanley Adventure cooler, stainless steel pint mug 

10. Ropes Course

One way to make the office Holiday party fun is to think outside the box. A ropes course places a focus on the individual. Each member goes through the ropes and tests their endurance and agility. 

The course also turns into a team building activity; everyone can cheer each other on.

Swag Ideas: Cotton crew socks, Nike tee, ASColour cap

11. Obstacle Course Party

The start-up scene changed company culture including corporate. Those interested in pairing team building activities with their Holiday office party can opt for an obstacle course party. Employees will love it because it puts them in a physically active position. Even those who aren’t weekend warriors or gym buffs can test what they’re made of at an obstacle course.

Obstacle course parties are among favorites for unique company holiday ideas. Since it’s a team effort, it’s a great way for employees across departments to work with each other. If you make a day out of it, provide lunch, a snack, and dinner. 

Swag Ideas: Nike fleece crew, Instax camera with film, sport bottle

12. Hotel Party

Many parties take place at a hotel. Prom, weddings, and birthdays are some. Corporate and Holiday parties are others. It’s fun for employees to go off-campus and dress up. Hotels cater to corporate clients. They give access to their catering, ballroom, and decorations. Hire a DJ or band for entertainment, and bring a few Holiday-themed party favors.  

A nice dinner and beautiful decor go a long way for employees. Coupled with entertainment and a skyline view of your city, it’s not why hotels remain high on people’s annual staff party ideas.

Swag Ideas: Paddywax essential oil diffuser, Coyuchi organic modern robe, Hawkins New York Space Towel Set

As you can see, the annual office Holiday party has evolved. Party planning committees draw inspiration from virtual office party ideas and unique company Holiday party ideas. 

How To Plan a Company Holiday Party?

Organization is key when planning a company holiday party. If you use electronic devices, download organizational software or apps to help you keep track of dates, purchases, reservations, and inventory.

Those who opt to hold their office Holiday party off-campus can rely on the location’s planning department. Several places, like hotels, cater to corporate clients. Their representatives work with you to plan and organize the party. They listen to your good company Holiday party ideas and make them great.

What Can I Do Instead of an Office Holiday Party?

Instead of an office Holiday party, consider some unique Holiday party ideas. Head to an Escape Room, obstacle course, or ropes course for something different. 

The Holiday office party caught on as a tradition for several reasons. Mostly, it allows employees from all departments to mingle with each other. It’s convenient to start the party after lunch on-site. Staff relaxes and gets paid. Plus, they still get home in time for dinner. 

However, it’s not written in stone that it must take place on-site or focus on the Holidays. Remember, you can opt for a day or weekend outing that focuses on team building. 

How Do Offices Celebrate Holidays?

Offices celebrate the Holidays in many ways. Some hold Secret Santa gift exchanges. Others hold company Holiday party activities leading up to the event. 

Surveys show that the Holiday party indicates the fiscal year companies have. When hiring and profits increase, companies spend more on the party. While offices hold pot lucks, ugly sweater contests, and door decorating contests, others may go off-campus and treat staff to a fancy meal and entertainment. It runs the gamut.  

Whether you hold yours on-site or off-site, remember that it’s an opportunity to improve morale among staff. Allow them to bond with each other and show your appreciation for them as another year comes to a close. 

Sifting through company party ideas should be fun! Talk to your Gemnote rep for more ideas and swag pairings. 

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