6 ways remote workers can celebrate the holidays

Being part of a remote team doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the holidays, it just requires a little more creativity. Fortunately, in the same way that technology makes remote work a viable way to work, so it goes for celebrations within remote offices.

So, how can you bring a little holiday cheer to all your remote colleagues this season? Try these tips for celebrating the holidays while working remotely.

1. Holiday gift exchange

A holiday gift exchange is always a great way to celebrate with your remote colleagues. Participating employees can share a few suggestions on gift ideas and set a dollar limit, and then each person gets matched with someone to buy a gift for. You can keep the gift exchange public, so each person knows who is shopping for whom, or you can turn it into a “secret” gift exchange to up the surprise factor.

Bonus? Getting a gift in the mail this time of year is sure to bring holiday cheer to all!

2. Cookie swap

If you’re craving sweet treats over the holidays, a cookie swap can take the place of a holiday gift exchange. Instead of mailing gifts, you can have interested co-workers sign up to receive and mail cookies to each other — recipes included!

Not only will you get a dozen (or more) delicious cookies to enjoy over the holidays, but it may even inspire you to learn a new recipe and expand your baking repertoire.

3. E-card exchange

If people are hesitant to add additional baking or gift buying responsibilities to their holiday plans, what about an e-card exchange? With so many e-card companies to choose from, remote workers can pair up to send fun online holiday-themed cards to co-workers.

Those who are so inclined can even design their own cards to show off their artistic skills!

4. Holiday contests

There are countless holiday contests you can organize to bring the holiday spirit into your remote workplace.

  • Office decorations photo contest — Have co-workers decorate their home offices for the holidays and send in a picture of themselves in their newly blinged-out spaces. Best decorations win!
  • Gingerbread house (or office!) contest — Few activities bring on seasonal cheer like decorating gingerbread houses for the holidays. See who can get the most creative with their designs and show them off in a video meeting.
  • Holiday sweater contest — Choose a day to ask co-workers to wear their most “creative” holiday sweater and then host a video call for everyone to show them off. The most, ahem, obnoxious one shall win!

5. Seasonal singalong

Caroling over the holidays is a wonderful way to bond with remote colleagues and, if you love to sing, few things will make you feel more spirited. Send out an invite for anyone who wants to join in, email a list of songs to participants so they can prepare if they want to, set up a video call, and you’re ready to go!

Co-workers who don’t sing but play an instrument instead might even join along to give the carolers some holiday accompaniment.

6. Virtual holiday party

What many remote workers miss from their in-office days are the celebratory holiday office parties (and all the antics that went along with them). While you won’t be able to meet up with your co-workers to dine on complimentary apps and drinks, you can turn Zoom into your very own holiday office party.

Zoom Breakout Rooms can mimic different sections of the party, with participants moving freely between rooms to chat with different people. You can even designate one entire room as a “photo booth” and ask a co-worker to be the resident photographer taking screenshots of the gallery view.

’Tis the season to celebrate

When you’re working from home, it’s important to establish connections with your colleagues. It helps to stave off feelings of isolation and loneliness and can bring an element of positivity to your everyday work life.

And what better time to connect with others than over the holidays? You don’t have to wait for your employer to establish virtual holiday celebrations, either. You can come up with your own ideas and bring them to your manager or HR department for approval.

Rachel Jay is a content specialist for FlexJobs.

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