Updated: November 10, 2023

41 Office Christmas Party Ideas, Games & Activities for Work

You found our list of creative office Christmas party ideas for work.

Office Christmas party ideas are activities and games to do at annual holiday parties. For example, holiday-themed murder mysteries, card crafting, and story-time. The purpose of these exercises is to entertain guests and spread holiday cheer. These events are also called “Corporate holiday parties”, “Corporate Christmas parties”, and “office Xmas parties.”

These tips are similar to virtual holiday party ideas for work, hybrid Christmas activities, and office party ideas, and are an example of holiday team building. These events often include holiday party themes and corporate party entertainment.


This post contains:

  • small office Christmas party ideas
  • corporate Christmas party ideas
  • Christmas games for work parties
  • work Christmas party activities
  • work Christmas party games
  • Christmas office games
  • themes for office Christmas parties

Here we go!

List of office Christmas party ideas

From Christmas Minute to Win It and Stocking Stuffing Stations to Hidden Santas and Pet Parties, here is a list of unique ideas for work Christmas parties that will make holiday gatherings extra memorable.

1. Ultimate Holiday Game Show

Ultimate Holiday Game Show is a fully facilitated holiday quiz show for large groups. A host and cohost will travel to your space, fire up the scoreboard and game visuals on your AV equipment, and kick off the festivities.

More details:

  • 90 minutes
  • Accommodates groups of 60 – 1,000+
  • Teams face off in classic game show showdowns with holiday twists
  • High-energy and fast-paced, competitive yet merry
  • Not specific to any one holiday

Learn more about Ultimate Holiday Game Show.

2. Tree Decorating Competition

Tree decorating competitions are festive games that encourage creativity and team building.

For this activity:

  1. Get mini Christmas trees
  2. Split groups into teams
  3. Give teams 20 to 30 minutes to trim the trees
  4. Have each team explain their design
  5. Pick a winner

It is a good idea to give guests a heads up so that they bring ornaments with them. You can either announce teams ahead of time, or wait to divide the group during the party and challenge the teams to make a cohesive theme from random ornaments. With either approach, the point of the exercise is to think up and pull off an amusing theme that catches the judges’ and coworkers’ attention.

Pro tip: Save the trees for future parties.

Here is a list of ideas for Christmas decorating competitions at work.

3. Fully Hosted Virtual Holiday Party

If you are a remote or hybrid office, then you can book a fully hosted Christmas party with us. Our expert hosts will guide you and your coworkers through a series of fun holiday themed games and activities. The event takes place on Zoom, and we also have event types for Webex, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and other platforms.

We run thousands of office Christmas parties every year, for clients like Apple, Amazon and Google. Our events have tens of thousands of five star reviews, and your team will have a great time too!

Lean more about our hosted online office Christmas parties.

4. Gingerbread Games (Holiday Favorite)

Gingerbread Games is a fun event for office Christmas parties. The experience is 90 minutes, and includes fun, holiday-themed games and activities led by a professional host. Plus, we include gingerbread decorating kits for the competition!

For in-person Gingerbread Games, our host can come to your office or event venue, and bring gingerbread house kits. For virtual events, we ship gingerbread people kits to your participants in advance. Either way, your team is going to have a merry good time!

Learn more about Gingerbread Games.

5. Secret Hall Deckers

Secret Hall Deckers is a cross between a desk decorating contest and Secret Santa. For this activity, employees get paired up. Instead of exchanging presents, participants decorate their assigned colleagues’ desks. To avoid ruining the surprise and make the game less chaotic, you can schedule time slots where the assigned employee must be away from the desk, and swear surrounding coworkers to secrecy. Upon seeing the decorations, participants must guess which teammate decorated the space.

If you have many participants and doing it all in one day seems too crazy, then you can stretch the exercise out over a week or a month.

Pro tip: Remind participants that decorations should not damage any parts of the workspace. Also, be sure to take photos of the finished products!

6. Christmas Candy Bar or Cookie Bar

Christmastime is peak sweets season. Setting up a candy or cookie bar at your annual office party ensures that your staff will have visions of sugarplums dancing through their heads.

Setting up a sweets table is simple and can be done on a budget. You can source fancy glass containers at the dollar store or bring in favorite pieces from home. Next, buy Christmas-colored candy in bulk, and order large quantities of cookies and cakes. Local bakeries may be willing to offer discounts on corporate bulk orders. Otherwise, you can crowdsource coworkers to bake cookies and seasonal desserts potluck-style.

One bonus of this approach is that knowing that planning a sweet swap for the party can keep the break room from getting too cluttered with candy or cookies in the early weeks of December.

Pre-party, portion the sweets into the festive plates and jars and place holiday decorations such as wreaths and garlands in between. Guests can help themselves to sweets throughout the evening, and can even take home leftovers.

Pro tip: Do not forget to include tongs or scoops, and bags or boxes!

7. Pet Party

Many offices welcome employees’ families to the holiday celebration, yet few employers extend that invitation to team members’ furry friends. The majority of employees are delighted to have animals in the office.

You can throw a pet-friendly party that puts kitty and canine companions front and center. We recommend throwing a separate party for cats and dogs, or choosing the pet option that most folks have. Be sure that all pets are properly vaccinated and play well with others. To avoid possible scuffles, you can also schedule appointments for the pets to come and enjoy the festivities.

Here are ideas:

  • Christmas-themed treats and toys
  • Pet costume contest
  • Pictures on Santa’s lap

Pro tips: Check with employees for allergies first.

For more fun with animals, check out this list of the best office pets.

8. Merry Murder Mystery

Murder mysteries are one of the best small office christmas party ideas. Although these activities may seem more suited for Halloween parties, the mischievous fun of sleuthing games can help teammates alleviate holiday-related stress and can be a welcome alternative to endless holiday cheer.

First, choose a festive mystery, such as a New Year’s Eve party murder, who killed Santa Claus, or murder at an ugly sweater party. Next, encourage participants to dress accordingly, or bring props to the party. Finally, hand out roles to each player, then read through the script. Players will listen and hunt for clues and try to be the first to unravel the mystery.

Check out this guide to virtual murder mystery parties.

9. Poinsettia Potluck

Potlucks are one of the best low budget office party ideas. Since employees share the responsibility and costs of dishes equally, you can have a feast without spending a fortune.

To ensure the best spread possible, post a sign-up sheet and have participants jot down the dishes they plan to bring. It is a good idea to divide the list into appetizers, sides, main dishes, desserts, and drinks. Also, do not forget to make disposable goods like cups, plates, silverware and napkins into a separate category if the company does not plan on providing these essentials.

It is also a good idea to note which dishes need a crock pot so that you can make sure you have enough outlet space and provide power-strips and extension cords if needed.

Giving the meal a loose holiday theme is recommendable. Keep in mind that different participants have different definitions of holiday food, and this activity can help teammates learn more about each other.

10. Christmas Around the World

Christmas Around the World is one of the best themes for office Christmas parties. This party theme highlights the ways different cultures celebrate the holiday and expands employees perspectives in the process.

To host an international-themed Christmas party, first research celebrations in different nations. Keep in mind that all homages should be culturally sensitive and authentic and not stereotypical or offensive.

Next, gather appropriate foods and drinks. Examples include German Stollen bread, tamales for Costa Rica, and KFC fried chicken for Japan. Decorations and entertainment should also honor the ways that different countries honor the holidays. Music can fit the theme too. For instance, play foreign language Christmas carols such as O Tannenbaum and Feliz Navidad, or translated versions of other popular carols.

11. Ugly Sweater Station

Setting up an ugly sweater station is one of the most fun office Christmas party ideas. On the holiday party invitations, encourage employees to come dressed in a plain sweater or T-shirt. Then, provide embellishments such as felt shapes, string lights, bows, and ornaments. If you have an extra crafty crew that does not mind permanently altering their duds, then you can even lay out fabric or paint markets.

To incentivize participation, you can host an ugly sweater competition and award a prize to the most creative ensemble. To vote, you can give guests stickers and have attendees place a sticker on their favorite sweater, or go the old-fashioned route and use ballots.

Pro tip: For extra fun, throw a few wildcard objects into the mix such as stuffed squirrels, stick-on mustaches, or rubber chickens.

Here are more tips about ugly sweater parties for work.

12. Gift Wrapping Table

Setting up a gift wrapping table is one of the more unique corporate Christmas party ideas. Your employees are busy, and handling present-wrapping crosses off one item on a seemingly endless holiday to-do list. By providing gift wrapping services, you can save your staff time and stress.

You can book a professional wrapper, or recruit an acquaintance that packages presents nicely. However, do not assign or ask employees to volunteer for the gift wrap table, as staff should be free to enjoy their own party.

To set up the table, lay out fancy paper, bows, bags, and gift tags, and stock plenty of scissors and tape.

Attendees can RSVP for this service and sign up for slots to make the process more organized. After getting the presents wrapped, participants can either check the presents in a coat-check style room or take the boxes out to their cars, if the lot has security.

Or, if this system seems like too much of a hassle, then you could simply pay for gift wrapping services to be done at their leisure as an employee perk.

13. Holiday Photo Booth

Photo booths are special touches that make parties more fun. Holiday themed photo booths are especially amusing because of the potential for Christmas props.

For example:

  • Santa hats
  • Elf ears
  • Reindeer antlers
  • Scarves, mittens, and hats
  • Jingle bells
  • Garland
  • Christmas lights

These items tend to be inexpensive, and you can buy the bulk of your props from the dollar store. You can also rig up a wintery background by stringing lights or garland or hanging a few snowflakes or ornaments.

Photo Booths are easy to DIY.  You can set up a camera, smartphone, or tablet with a timer or trigger, or have an event staff member man the camera. There are apps that can add frames and effects, and you can send the photos in your thank you emails or have a mini photo printer handy to print instant copies.

If you would rather not go through the effort, then you can go the professional route and hire a photo booth company as a party vendor. Chances are, these entertainers have holiday props on hand.

Photo Booths give employees memories of the event.

14. Christmas Cocktail Mixology

Corporate Christmas parties are known for their bars. You can help staff get in the holiday spirit by mixing up holiday spirits. First, decide on a few seasonal cocktails such as peppermint martinis, spiked gingerbread eggnog, and gin poinsettia punch. Then, book a bartender to demonstrate how to make the drinks. Mixology lessons are more hands-on than just having a seasonal-themed bar. As an added plus, employees learn how to recreate the drinks so that they can wow their friends and relatives at other Christmas cocktail parties. Plus, the activity is a shared experience that can help team members bond.

15. Christmas Carnival

Christmas Carnivals are one of the most interactive office Christmas party ideas, and are especially fun if kids are in attendance at the event. First, set up Christmas-themed game booths. For example, throwing snowballs to knock over milk jugs, wreath ring toss, and tossing darts at balloon Christmas ornaments. Be sure to offer festive prizes such as giant candy canes, stuffed reindeer, and bedazzled Santa hats.

You can also rent a moon bounce and rig up simple rides such as a Christmas train or Santa sleigh ride on a tractor. Petting zoos make a fine addition, especially if you stock them with seasonal animals like donkeys and reindeer. You can also build a North-pole-style funhouse and a Christmas village out of plywood or cardboard. Another fun touch is to create photo-stand-in boards where guests can become snowmen, elves, or Santa.

16. Silent (Night) Disco

Silent (Night) Discos are one of the most unexpected alternative office Christmas party ideas. To do this activity, provide employees with headphones. Traditionally, silent discos use wireless headphones and DJ’s broadcast music directly to listeners. However, if you do not have access to this kind of equipment or have limited funds, then you can also ask attendees to provide their own music to listen to via smartphone or iPod.

When this segment of the event begins, participants don the headphones and dance to different songs. To outside observers, the room is completely silent, however participants groove to their favorite holiday tunes. This approach means that no guest has to endure a Christmas carol they simply cannot stand to hear one more time this year. Plus, this exercise works well as a midday dance party to relieve stress.

Pro tip: To make the event extra festive, make the headphones look like earmuffs by adding fake fur.

17. Pajama Party

Christmas parties tend to be cocktail attire/black tie dress code. However, many folks’ favorite part of Christmas is snuggling into the couch and opening presents in pajamas. If your company’s vibe is more comfortable than classy, then consider throwing a pajama party for your holiday gathering.

Simply encourage attendees to wear seasonal-themed pajamas, or the most fuzzy set they own. You can award a prize for the best dressed. Also, serve Christmas-breakfast foods like gingerbread French Toast and omelettes with red and green peppers. Be sure there is plenty of seasonally-flavored coffee and hot cocoa available as well.

18. Never Ho-ho-have I Ever

Never Have I Ever is an icebreaker game that encourages players to fess up to past deeds. Never ho-ho-have I Ever is a Christmas-themed version of the game.

The game starts with players holding up ten fingers, or “reindeer antlers.” Participants take turns making statements that start with “never have I ever….” Players who are guilty of committing the act must lower one finger.

The game continues until only one player remains, or, if playing with a larger group, after a certain number of rounds.

Here are some Christmas Never Have I Ever prompts to start you off:

  • Regifted a present
  • Ruined a Christmas surprise because I snooped
  • Kissed someone under mistletoe
  • Broken up with someone on Christmas Day
  • Been to the hospital on Christmas
  • Accidentally drank alcoholic eggnog
  • Enjoyed fruit cake
  • Dressed up like an Elf
  • Forgotten to buy a loved one a Christmas present
  • Bought someone I disliked a petty present
  • Got stuck in an airport at Christmastime
  • Watched “Home Alone” more than 5 times in one month
  • Threatened my children that Santa was not coming

Check out this list of Never Have I Ever questions for work and more fun question games.

19. Dessert Decorating Demonstrations

Corporate holiday parties tend to have awesome dessert options. To take your Christmas party to the next level, instead of merely putting out a great spread of sweets, show guests how to create delightful desserts.

To arrange this activity, book a professional baker or chef to give decorating demonstrations. For instance, frosting an ice cream cone to look like a Christmas tree, truffle towers or cake pops, or making candy snowflakes. Be sure to provide ingredients so that guests can practice, and have bags or boxes handy so participants can bring the treats home.

20. Appetizer Making Lessons

Entertaining lessons make great entertainment for holiday parties. Christmastime requires tons of preparation. Cooking lessons and appetizer demonstrations can teach attendees how to quickly and expertly prepare Hors d’oeuvres, and can help to cut down on holiday stress.

To arrange this entertainment, book a chef to lead a quick demonstration. These lessons should include hands-on cooking practice as well as tastings.

You can also DIY this event by having each of your employees submit a favorite recipe, then compiling the instructions into a team holiday cookbook to distribute as a party favor.

For more hands-on culinary activities, check out this list of online group cooking courses.

21. Christmas Icebreakers

To kick off the merry mingling at your holiday party, you can provide guests with icebreaker questions. You can also use these prompts to start meetings throughout the holiday season.


  • What is the best present you ever received?
  • What is the worst present you ever received?
  • What is your favorite Christmas carol?
  • What is your craziest Christmas story?
  • What age were you when you stopped believing in Santa?
  • What is your favorite Christmas movie?
  • What is your favorite holiday tradition?
  • If you were on the naughty list, what do you think would be the main reason?
  • What is your favorite holiday food?

Check out our list of the best icebreaker questions for work and this list of Christmas icebreaker questions.

22. Indoor Snowball Fight

Snowball fights are one of the most fun seasonal activities. Hosting an indoor snowball fight can bring out your employees’ mischievous and competitive sides.

First, buy indoor snowball fight kits that consist of plush cloth balls to pelt at other players. Then, split the group into teams. Next, give each player a set amount of snowballs. Finally, blow the whistle and let the games begin.

The game resembles dodgeball. Players who get hit by a snowball are out. When participants run out of ammo, you can call a timeout and reset. The game continues until only one snow pitcher remains.

Pro tip: Make sure you have a wide, open space to play in and that there are no breakables nearby.

23. Holiday Miracles

Christmas is a season not only for getting, but also for giving. Holiday parties are a time to give back to employees for a year of hard work, as well as a time for staff to practice gratitude and give back to the wider community.

There are many ways to include philanthropy in a company Christmas party. For instance, you can hold a silent auction or 50/50 during the event, with the proceeds going to an organization of the employees’ choice. You could also hold a toy or winter clothing drive, or encourage teams to adopt families to purchase presents for through a program like Toys for Tots.

You can also plan a volunteering event for half of a workday in December. For instance, visiting seniors in retirement homes, writing cards for soldiers overseas, or organizing donations at a food pantry.

For more, philanthropy tips, check out this list of online volunteering ideas and this guide to virtual fundraising.

24. Hidden Snowmen

Inspired by the Mickey Mouse symbols hidden around Disney World, Hidden Snowmen is a fun game that tests employees’ powers of observation. When decorating for your party, hide snowmen shapes in various spots. Make some easy to spot, and others more hidden.

Examples of hiding spots include platters on the buffet table, balloons near the entrance, floral center-pieces, and presents under the tree. Since the symbol consists of three circles, hiding the shapes is simple.

At the party, give attendees a piece of paper and let them know how many snow folk exist in total. We recommend hiding at least one dozen. Participants can jot down the locations of the snowmen as they spot them. Upon finding all hidden shapes, players can exchange the paper for a prize.

If nobody finds all the hidden Frostys, then towards the end of the party collect the slips and award prizes to the folks who found the most snowmen.

25. Museum Hack Holiday Scavenger Hunt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

met scavenger hunt

If you are looking to take your holiday party out of the office and need a venue for your holiday team building, then a scavenger hunt at The Met is a great idea.

This experience:

  • 90 minutes
  • Good for groups of 30+
  • Includes cost of admission to the museum, where applicable
  • Starts with holiday stories about select artifacts
  • Tasks teams with festive photo and trivia challenges that get them interacting with exhibits and each other

Learn more about Museum Hack Holiday Scavenger Hunt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

26. Elf on the Shelf-off

Elf on the Shelf quickly became a modern Christmas tradition. Based on a book about an elf who reports kids’ behavior to Santa, parents pose the elf figure in different positions to give children the impression that the elf is alive.

Other folks have co-opted this exercise and posted pictures of the elf in hilarious positions. In this same vein, you and your teammates can do this game as an office activity. At the party, split the group into teams, and give each team an elf. Then, send the teams off into the building to stage a work-themed photo shoot with the elf. Participants may snap photos of the elf photocopying its face, intimidating the work mascot plush with a stapler, or stealing lunches from the office fridge, for example. It is a good idea to show a few examples to help spark creative juices.

After twenty minutes or so, reconvene and share the photos. Then, name a winning team.

If you do not want to devote so much party time to this game, then you can have entrants take and submit the photos before the event and show the results in a slideshow during the party.

27. White Elephant Exchange

White Elephant Exchanges are one of the most fun Christmas activities for work. Unlike the more traditional Secret Santa gift swaps, at White Elephant exchanges, participants give each other funny and gag gifts. Participants also have the option of stealing gifts from other players.

The basic rules involve players picking an order to exchange presents in. Participants either receive a present from an assigned partner, or pick a random present from the pile. The next player in line can either pick a new present, or steal the present from the previous player. The last participant to unwrap a gift can steal an object from any player.

Check out more tips for white elephant exchanges online.

28. This or That

This or That is a game that asks players to choose between two related, but typically opposite options. When doing this activity in person, you can ask participants to move to one side of the room or the other to communicate the choice.

Here are some holiday This or That prompts:

  • Store-bought presents or homemade presents
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Snow or no snow
  • Gingerbread or sugar cookies
  • Snoop for presents or wait to be surprised
  • Open presents Xmas eve or open presents Xmas morning
  • Put tree up in December or put tree up in November
  • Naughty list or nice list
  • Real tree or fake tree
  • Travel or home for the holidays
  • Finish Xmas shopping months in advance or wait until Xmas eve to finish shopping
  • Die Hard is a Christmas movie or Die Hard is not a Christmas movie

Check out this master list of This or That questions.

29. Holiday Trivia

Holiday Trivia is one of the easiest Christmas games for work parties. Simply split attendees into teams, and challenge those teams to answer holiday-based questions.

Categories can include:

  • Music
  • Movies
  • Traditions
  • Food
  • Mythology
  • Winter weather
  • Pop Culture Holidays
  • Non-Christmas Christmas News

We also recommend featuring other wintertime holidays besides Christmas. You can also come up with more creative categories that fit the holiday theme.

To play the game, teams can write down and submit answers, or be the first team to buzz in and reveal the answers. For a more festive touch, players can use jingle bells instead of buzzers. You can also facilitate the game via Kahoot. Simply make a multiple choice quiz, and then players will enter the room code and answer on their phones. The app automatically keeps track of scores based on the quickness and correctness of answers.

Using multimedia elements is a fun touch. For instance, play audio clips as a “name that tune,” feature, or show ultra-zoomed-in-photos and challenge players to guess the holiday object. You can also show video clips from holiday films, or even ask players to re-enact famous scenes.

Here is a list of Christmas trivia questions, and here is a guide to virtual trivia.

30. Gourmet Hot Cocoa Bar

Gourmet Hot Cocoa Bars are one of the most delicious ideas for a holiday work party. These stations need minimal equipment– the basic setup calls for a hot water kettle or a canteen of warm milk, however, beyond that you may also want to provide non-dairy milk alternatives. Then, lay out jars of cocoa powder or chocolate syrup alongside mix-ins like flavor shots, crushed candy canes, gourmet marshmallows, and whipped cream. You can also provide more unexpected toppings like chili powder, peanut butter powder, rainbow marshmallows, and cereal.

Pro tip: Gift attendees custom mugs to enjoy the cocoa in.

31. Christmas Minute to Win It

Minute to win it games are challenges that must be completed in sixty seconds or less. These games are often physical. You can add Christmas-themed elements to make challenges more festive.

Here are some examples of Christmas Minute to Win It games:

Cookie Face: place a gingerbread cookie, preferably a miniature, on your forehead. Without using your hands, move the cookie into your mouth.

Snowball Shake: Tape a tissue box to your lower back and fill it with ping pong balls. On the mark, try to shake all of the balls out of the box. The player who shakes out the most balls wins.

Wrap It Up: Players must wrap and place a bow on each teammate and snap a picture before moving to the next player in line.

Coal in the Hole: Players must dunk a black-painted ping pong ball in a mug as many times as possible in sixty seconds.

Candy Cane Magnet: Try to hang as many candy canes as possible on one teammates’ body.

Tree Toppler: Teams get a few sticks of green spaghetti and must build a tree that supports a star-shaped marshmallow.

Holly Berries: Place dozens of red balloons on the floor. On the mark, players must pop as many balloons as possible by sitting on them. To better keep track, place a picture inside the balloons that players can retrieve after popping.

Check out more virtual minute to win it games.

32. Reindeer Games

Reindeer Games are an holiday-themed office Olympics-style competition.

The first step in the competition is to split the group into teams and choose holiday-themed team names. Next, ask teams to create a uniform by using holiday accessories like colored garland, elf hats, or reindeer antler headbands.

Then, compete in a series of festive challenges.

For example:

Present pass off: A relay race where runners hand off a wrapped present in place of a baton.

Santa’s sack race: A potato sack race with Santa’s bag

Down the chimney: Place a play tunnel on the floor and have players shimmy through.

Frostbite: Players reach into a bucket of ice to retrieve a white rubber snowball.

Tree toss: Toss (non glass!) ornaments towards a tree, and try to get as many balls as possible to stick.

Tug of Gar: A traditional tug of war, with garland wrapped around the rope.

Check out more ideas for team building games, and this guide to virtual office Olympics.

33. Holiday Storytime

Storytime is a good kids’ party activity, however this idea also appeals to employees’ inner children. To host storytime at your annual party, first pick out a Christmas book or story such as The Night Before Christmas or The Polar express. Then, invite the CEO, president, or the office Santa to read the story out loud during the party.

Be sure to pass out cookies and milk, and allow listeners to circle up chairs, pillows, or blankets to better set the atmosphere.

34. Seasonal Scavenger Hunt

Seasonal Scavenger Hunts are interactive holiday party games. Attendees split into teams and race to complete tasks and retrieve objects from a list of clues. You can also include puzzles and riddles for participants to solve. These games work best on a time limit, typically between twenty-minutes to an hour, depending on the length and difficulty of the hunt.

Here are examples of starter prompts:

  • Sit on Santa’s lap
  • Snap a pic of your best present face
  • Score a coworker’s holiday cookie recipe
  • A paper calendar with Christmas circled
  • A child’s Christmas drawing
  • A photo Christmas card
  • A Christmas gift receipt
  • A Christmas pen
  • Snowflake
  • Bag big enough to be Santa’s sack
  • Angel
  • Wreath
  • Santa look-alike
  • Snowman
  • Shopping bag
  • Tape and scissors
  • Holiday socks

Here are lists of scavenger hunt apps and scavenger game clues to help build your hunt.

35. Stocking Stuffer Station

Holiday party favors can be hit or miss. While one person might be thrilled to receive a bottle opener, another may toss it in their junk drawer and never think about it again. A better alternative is to offer employees a choice between festive freebies. You can set up a stocking stuffer station where each guest can select three to five small items to take home within a stocking. You can make the options a mix between corporate swag and general holiday gifts/stocking stuffers.

For ideas of items to stock, check out this list of corporate holiday party favor ideas.

36. Christmas Charades

Charades is one of the most popular party games, and works well as an activity for Christmas parties. Simply split the group into teams, and give each team member a turn to act out a holiday prompt.

Example Christmas charade categories might include:

  • Christmas carols
  • Movies
  • Traditions
  • Legends
  • Christmas characters

Teams should have between two to five minutes to guess the merry mime act. Remember that talking is not allowed.

37. Holiday Themed Escape Room

Escape rooms make engaging activities for any occasion. These problem-solving games require players to solve puzzles and riddles and hunt for clues in order to break out of a locked room, typically in less than one hour.

Your holiday party can involve a Christmas-themed escape room. For instance, perhaps the premise is that Santa gets locked in a living room and the team needs to help him find a way out. Other options include escape the mall after midnight, escape the airport on Christmas eve, runaway winter train, or break out of Santa’s workshop.

Room decorations should keep in the Christmas spirit, and you can hide clues within holiday objects. For example, the key to a number lock might lie in the lyrics of the Twelve Days of Christmas, a key can be a hidden Christmas ornament, or the colored lights could blink in morse code.

You could either build your own escape room or find an Xmas themed room nearby and take the team out to dinner afterwards.

Check out this guide to DIY escape rooms and more problem solving games for work.

38. Not-Quite-New-Years

Instead of throwing a Christmas party, you can throw a New Years themed bash. This type of party is more inclusive of employees who do not celebrate Christmas, and is also a way to symbolically end the current work year and start a new one.

Not-Quite-New-Years parties run similarly to NYE parties. Be sure to supply champagne in flutes and make toasts, have noisemakers on hand, make resolutions, and launch a faux midnight countdown.

Check out more virtual New Years party tips.

39. Christmas Card Crafting

Setting up a card crafting station adds a nice touch to a holiday party. You can bring in a professional artist or calligrapher to customize cards for attendees, or to show guests how to create merry masterpieces. Another option is to enlist a photographer and graphic designer to rig up branded candids that guests can turn into holiday greetings and send to colleagues or clients. If you invite family members to the party, then you can take family portraits. Card crafting adds a hands-on element to the party and gives attendees a souvenir to take home and frame or send to family and friends.

40. Holiday Bingo

Holiday Bingo is a game that encourages party guests to mingle. To play the game, first give each attendee a Bingo card. Then, encourage players to talk to other guests. Participants mark the squares with other players’ names that fit the description. The first player to mark five squares in a row and yell Bingo wins.

Holiday Bingo Board

For more versions of the game, check out this guide to online team building Bingo.

41. Merry Movie Night

Holiday movies are a standalone film genre. Screening movies at the party is a low-key activity that is social but not too high-pressure, which makes an ideal environment for more introverted staff. Not to mention, holiday films can bring about a sense of nostalgia and aid in team bonding.

To watch holiday movies, set up a projector and a large screen, then broadcast the festive film of choice.

Here are some holiday film suggestions:

  • National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
  • Home Alone
  • A Christmas Story
  • Klaus
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • It’s a Wonderful Life
  • Jingle Jangle
  • The Grinch Who Stole Christmas
  • The Year Without a Santa Claus
  • Christmas in Connecticut
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas

Snacks like reindeer chow, popcorn with red and green sprinkles, and cookies help to complete the holiday atmosphere.

If interest for these events seems high, then you could even host a series of movie nights throughout the month of December. Each week, you can screen a different holiday film, and encourage staff to attend with families in tow.

If you live in a warmer climate and have access to speakers, then you can even do outdoor movies and project on the side of the building or a sheet.

For more film-related fun, check out this list of team building movies.

Final Thoughts

Staff go to dozens of holiday parties throughout the season, and have attended several corporate Christmas parties throughout their careers. To make your annual party more engaging and memorable, add unexpected twists and out-of-the ordinary activities that will keep guests buzzing with cheer long after the event ends.

Going above and beyond in the planning signals that the company cares about the employee experience and makes an effort to exceed expectations, which in turn can make team members feel more appreciated and grateful. Not to mention, the holiday party is a great time to use use the end of year budget, so you might as well go all out.

For more festive fun, check out this collection of holiday messages for employees and these virtual party games.

We also have a list of etiquette tips for office Christmas parties, the best office mixer ideas, and online games for Christmas parties.

FAQ: Office Christmas parties

Here are answers to common questions about office Christmas parties.

What are work Christmas parties?

Work Christmas parties are holiday gatherings held by an employer. These parties typically take place at the office, or at a rented venue such as a restaurant. While the main point of the party is to observe Christmas, these occasions also often honor other seasonal holidays such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and winter in general. These gatherings are also an opportunity for employers to recognize the hard work of the past year and for employees to relax and reset before a new year begins. These events are also known as “corporate Christmas parties” or as an “office Xmas party.”

How do you plan an office Christmas party?

To plan an office Christmas party, first choose a date and secure a venue. Next, pick food and drinks, and think up activities and games. If the party has many elements, then you may want to recruit a committee to help plan.

Next, you should make an agenda or run of show, delegate duties if necessary. Then, announce the event to employees, preferably by sending invitations as well as making announcements during company meetings. Be sure to specify whether family and friends or welcome, or if the party is employees only. Best practice is to ask guests to RSVP so that you can get a rough estimate of how many employees will attend and order refreshments accordingly.

When the day arrives, give yourself a couple of hours to set up and decorate. Then, invite guests in, and have fun! Remember to take plenty of pictures!

What are some good office Christmas party ideas?

Some good office Christmas party ideas include gingerbread house build-offs, gourmet hot cocoa bars, white elephant exchanges, reindeer games, and an ugly sweater station. There are many other special touches and activities that can make your holiday gathering fun and memorable.

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Marketing Coordinator at teambuilding.com.
Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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