Inclusive Virtual Holiday Party Tips


December 11, 2020  |  Hassina Obaidy


Virtual work events, we either love them, or we’re tired of them. Screen fatigue has been a real symptom of work from home this year, so it’s normal if your workforce isn’t super excited about the idea of another virtual company event. But there are some ways to make it more interactive and inclusive, so it’s not just everyone drinking on a video call. Some of these ideas have worked for Emtrain to create a more inclusive, interactive experience.

Celebrate All Holidays, Not Just Christmas

If you’re trying to create a more inclusive workplace culture, here’s an opportunity. Year after year, the media, entertainment, and retail lock in on Christmas as the main holiday. But let’s not forget about the other important holidays that we should highlight: Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Winter Solstice, Ōmisoka, and Los Posados (learn more about these holidays here).

By merely acknowledging these holidays, you bring your workforce together, including possible out-groups, and maybe even educate everyone about a holiday they’ve never heard of. Regardless of how many employees are celebrating each respective holiday, the winter season is an important time to demonstrate inclusion and welcome diversity.

Virtual Gift-Giving

White elephant or Secret Santa might be challenging to do in the virtual world, but not impossible. Consider a gift exchange app such as DrawNames for a virtual gift exchange. At Emtrain, we do a Secret Snowflake gift exchange using the app. We’ve also created a group channel on our chat app for those who want to participate, then share the gifts they’ve received. Then, at the virtual holiday celebration, everyone is given a chance to share who their Secret Snowflake is.

Remember, gift-giving should be voluntary, with a realistic budget that everyone can agree to. If an employee doesn’t want to participate in gift-giving, they can still participate in the activity and celebration. 

Plan an Actual Activity

Depending on budget and time, prepare an activity that will make the party more interactive. Perhaps a virtual cooking, mixology class (cocktails and mocktails), karaoke, a trivia game, or a scavenger hunt – an Emtrain favorite.

Forbes suggests that “Companies can send their employees a party-themed gift basket or physical gift that can be included in the virtual holiday party. For example, a fun mug to toast with or fun party hat or prop to have fun with on camera are some ways to make a party fun and interactive.”

Holiday Sweaters

We’ve seen far too many ugly Christmas sweaters. While they’re meant to be fun and lighthearted, it’s still only inclusive to those who celebrate Christmas, and some employees don’t feel comfortable wearing them. So, mix it up a bit! Instead of asking your employees to wear an ugly Christmas sweater, invite them to wear their favorite holiday attire, a piece of clothing that is important to them during this holiday season, or show off their favorite mask. Anything that will make them feel included in the activity and without being limited to one type of clothing. 

Some of these ideas may seem small, but they go a long way in spreading inclusion and holiday spirit. Emtrain wishes everyone a happy and inclusive Holiday celebration, whether you celebrate now or at the very end of the year. We hope you have a safe, healthy, and Happy Holidays.


Hassina Obaidy
Product Marketing Manager | Emtrain

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