Christmas will certainly look a lot different this year, but that’s no reason to cancel the festivities. Whether you’re avoiding traveling this season or doing your part to social distance, virtual Christmas parties are the perfect way to stay connected while apart.
No more worrying about bad weather or who’s going to drive home. All you need to do is plan your Christmas look from the waist up. From family-friendly activities to Friendsmas, read ahead for our best virtual Christmas party ideas for any age and the Christmas invitations to match.
How do you throw a virtual Christmas party?
Virtual Christmas parties should require the same amount of planning as in-person holidays. Taking the time to incorporate special details and plan activities will go a long way to make your party one to remember. (Even if your guests would rather forget 2020.) For a primer on how to host an online party check out our guide.
Send invitations in time: Send Christmas invitations out at least three weeks before the party to make sure no one on your guest list gets double booked. Festive workshops are great for lazy Sundays, but plan boozy virtual parties for Friday or Saturday night to give guests time to recover.
Share your virtual link: Once you’ve picked out your invitations on Paperless Post, then you can easily add a Zoom link to any design. Select “virtual location” to share all the details.
Make it feel special: Just like virtual office holiday parties should feel more special than a typical meeting, you can (and should!) make your virtual Christmas party feel just as festive as an in-person bash.
“Share Your Screen” holiday party invitation by Paperless Post; “Sky Lights” holiday party invitation by Sugar Paper.
How to make a virtual Christmas party fun
By now, most people are no stranger to the online party. They might even be invited to several this holiday season. To avoid Zoom fatigue and make your invite stand out from the crowd, make sure your party has these virtual Christmas party essentials:
A strong theme: Any Christmas party feels more special and intentional with a name. Think “Snowballs and Highballs” for cocktail parties. “Quaran-team Dinner” for virtual potlucks. Or “Dreaming of a Wine Christmas” for a virtual wine and cheese tasting.
Backgrounds to match: Use your theme to set festive Zoom backgrounds. Think falling snow, scenes from your favorite Christmas movie, or the North Pole.
An activity: Let guests know what they’ll be doing and how they should prepare. Even if you’re hosting a virtual Christmas happy hour, find creative ways to get guests to participate. Have guests craft their own cocktail before the party or pick out Christmas-themed beers to sample.
A gift or party favor: Sending supplies to your virtual guests in advance is an easy way to get everyone excited for the party, and can help make you feel closer, even when apart. For virtual ugly Christmas sweater parties, send a tacky cup or wine glass. For cocktail parties, send seasonal mixers or bitters. If you’re hosting a class or workshop, send the basic supplies everyone will need.
A dress code: Costumes can help keep things fun and light. Give everyone a reason to dress up, whether it’s ugly Christmas sweaters or winter furs and dramatic velvet.
Virtual Christmas cocktail party ideas
Cheers to the holiday season with a virtual cocktail party. Consider this an excuse to flex those mixology skills you’ve been perfecting during quarantine, or hire a pro to lead your group and learn a new skill.
“Drinks Up” holiday party invitation by Paperless Post
Try your hand at holiday cocktails with a virtual class from Liquid Lab. Liquid Lab has adapted its popular mixology classes to a virtual platform that’s still fun, hands on, and interactive—perfect for date night, Friendsmas, or a kids-free family get-together. Within 24 hours of your class you’ll receive a simple list of ingredients to pick up along with bar equipment recommendations you can find around your home. Their upcoming schedule includes classes like Happy Holiday Cocktails and Holiday Champagne Cocktails. Visit their online schedule for the most up-to-date list of upcoming classes.
Or take a class with celebrated mixologist Alba Huerta who’s hosting “Beverage Academy” all season long in partnership with Williams Sonoma. Classes like “Better with Bubbles: Spritzes and Champagne Cocktails” are $20 and you can see the full schedule of events here.
If you’re going the DIY route, give your group a head start on their supplies with a gift box in the mail. Put them together yourself, or send a curated box from companies like Cheeky Cocktails. If members of your group are expecting or don’t drink, consider offering a mocktail option of whatever recipe you’re tackling over Zoom. We love these mocktail recipes from Seedlip or Ghia.
Virtual Christmas wine tasting ideas
Brush up on your wine tasting skills with a virtual party. Brands like Supper Share make it easy to host your own virtual tasting, connecting you with sommelier hosts from around the country. Think of them as your personal virtual party concierge. Supper Share will help you choose your wines and pair you with the perfect host for a fun, informative, and educational wine night.
“Wine From Home” holiday party invitation by Cheree Berry
If your group is looking to learn about a specific type of varietal or wine region, take a Corkbuzz class with your group, named the Best Virtual Wine Tasting by Food & Wine Magazine. Owned and operated by master sommelier, Laura Fiorvanti, Corkbuzz’s online classes are approachable for beginners and experienced wine drinkers alike. Corkbuzz is hosting several virtual classes throughout the month of December from “Italy’s Winter Reds” and “Tour of France” to “Wine 101”. For corporate events or larger groups of 10-500 guests, they also offer private virtual tastings.
Virtual family Christmas ideas
While virtual Christmas cocktail parties are great for your friends, there are more family-friendly options you can choose for celebrating with little ones and extended family.
“Against Sweater Judgement” holiday party invitation by Hello!Lucky
Blast from the past: Ask everyone to bring photos from past Christmases. Take turns sharing your screens and the memories. Help older guests in advance if they need help converting their printed images to digital copies.
Christmas crafting: Little ones getting stir-crazy? Hop on Zoom together and teach them how to make paper snowflakes or DIY Christmas ornaments. A quick Pinterest search of “Christmas crafts 2020” will give you tons of ideas to get started.
Christmas movie night: Use Netflix Party or another streaming service to watch a holiday classic together.
Game night: Choose a family-friendly game you can play online together, like charades.
Family Christmas pajamas 2020: Just because you aren’t celebrating IRL doesn’t mean you can’t match! Send everyone the same pair of PJs to take a photo or screenshot of the group on Zoom.
Christmas story hour: Ask a relative to read Christmas-themed books to the youngest family members
Virtual Christmas cookie party ideas
There’s nothing better than fresh baked cookies around the holiday season. (And the aroma they leave hanging around in your kitchen). Instead of a cookie swap this year, that might possibly swap germs along with it, host a virtual cookie decorating party.
Luna Ellis of Arlos Cookies is offering a virtual holiday cookie workshop to get your group in the holiday spirit. The best part? Her decorating videos are pre-recorded so you can plan your virtual party whenever it’s best for the group. The class is aimed at intermediate to advanced decorators, but since the videos are pre-recorded you can work at your own pace. All levels are welcome!
In Luna’s workshop, you’ll learn how to create dimension and different techniques for fine line work. Plus, tips for baking, icing making, mixing colors, and much more. Your group will also get access to a private Facebook group where Luna will be hosting exclusive holiday giveaways starting in December. For live instruction, you can also book a private virtual cookie party. For groups of 6-16 guests, these private parties are perfect for your next mom’s-night-in or holiday get-together with friends.
Prefer to go the DIY route? A week or so before your Zoom party, send a care package with cookies-in-a-jar along with festive cookie cutters to get the party started. Or mail your guests a gingerbread decorating kit if your group has already done enough cookie baking this season (if that’s possible).
Virtual Christmas party ideas for your friends
For small groups, go all out with an extravagant workshop or over-the-top meals.
Christmas carry-out: Consider getting food delivered from a fancier place than what you’d typically order on a weeknight. Have everyone order from the same restaurant if you’re in the same delivery zone. Or pick your own favorite spots to give the group an honest review.
Virtual wreath-making party: Tune into a virtual class with a pro, or lead your own with the help of YouTube. Before the party, send guests a list of materials they’ll need, or mail them a DIY wreath kit from online.
For a mix of DIY and professional led instruction, we love this holiday wreath making kit from celebrated author and floral designer, Willow Crossley, available through The Floral Pantry. The kit comes complete with everything you need to create your own holiday wreath at home. You’ll receive tools, fresh flowers and foliage, and access to Willow’s online video design tutorials. The kits are shipped weekly on Wednesdays throughout the holiday season until December 16—available to US residents only.
For even more of Willow Crossley, take her virtual guide to floristry at Create Academy—a magical way to spend the day online with a few close friends. In the course you’ll learn how Willow arranges, grows, and sources flowers and plants, professionally and for herself. Plus, simple ways to bring nature into your home throughout the year.
Virtual Christmas party ideas for large groups
Some holiday party ideas work best with small groups, but what about larger families and groups of friends? It’s truly “the more, the merrier” with these virtual Christmas party ideas:
“Merry Florals” holiday party invitation by Mr. Boddington’s Studio.
Virtual Christmas concerts: Come together to attend a virtual concert or Christmas caroling put on by a local organization.
Group trivia: Designate one or two people to moderate, and split into teams to play Christmas-themed trivia. Create breakout rooms within the master Zoom to discuss each question. Send digital gift cards to the members of the winning team.
Ugly sweater party open house: Consider making your ugly Christmas sweater party an open house for a big group. Just have guests drop by whenever they can in their finest tacky sweater or Christmas costume.
Ready to send out your own virtual Christmas party invitations? Start browsing. Looking for more virtual party ideas? Check out our guide to virtual holiday party ideas for toasting your team, virtual baby shower ideas, virtual kids’ birthday ideas, and virtual happy hour ideas.