8 Ideas for Virtual and In-Person Corporate Holiday Parties


It’s the most wonderful time of the year — the holiday party season! Whether you are planning a big soiree for your company or something more intimate, we’ve put together some ideas for this year’s celebrations.

Trying to decide to go virtual or in-person this year? A recent survey by Tripleseat found 66 percent of respondents say their employers will be holding a holiday celebration and 84 percent of those events are in person, so it’s safe to say that people are ready to get back together. But for those who are more cautious — or are celebrating with colleagues, friends, or family far away — we have included some virtual ideas as well. 

If you’re celebrating in person: 

1. Host a holiday celebration in a private dining room

If you are planning on getting back together in person, consider hosting a holiday cocktail hour or sit-down dinner in a private dining room. This is perfect for smaller groups and it is a nice way to celebrate being together. You can create a casual networking event with drinks and passed apps or have a more formal meal with courses and signature drinks. Whatever you decide, hosting your holiday event in a private dining room is a nice way to celebrate.

2. Rent a unique venue for your holiday party

If you have a larger group or are looking to host more of a traditional party, look into renting a venue. What we love about this is that there are so many unique venues to choose from — it doesn’t need to be your traditional banquet hall. Think outside the box and look into hosting private events at a museum, sports stadium or arena, aquarium, or concert venue. There is truly something out there for everyone. 

3. Order catering off-site to your home or office

If you would rather keep it low-key, and you’re more comfortable hosting something at your own home or in your office, consider ordering catering to make the party feel more elevated — and save you the hassle of cooking! Look at your local favorite restaurants and see what they offer for off-site catering — many will be running holiday specials and can provide food that will complement your festive atmosphere.

4. Book a hotel ballroom to celebrate

If you are hosting a party and have people traveling in, or if you are hosting a staycation and offering hotel stays to your guests, don’t rule out hosting something at the hotel. Hotels have great space and can offer a blank canvas so you can create your own winter wonderland. Also, who doesn’t love the idea of being able to stay out a little later because your bed is just a few floors away?

If you’re celebrating virtually: 

5. Virtual chef-lead cooking class

Create a classic holiday dish or bake delicious desserts with each other virtually. Virtual cooking classes were popular last year and that will be no different this year. It’s a great bonding experience and a lot of restaurants and catering companies have perfected the logistics. You can ship ingredients to everyone’s houses and schedule a time to cook together – have a chef or host lead the class and you’ll all get to enjoy a delicious meal together once it’s over!

6. Virtual cocktail class

Ever wonder what is needed to make your favorite holiday cocktails? Host a virtual cocktail party where everyone makes their favorite holiday cocktail, or hire a professional bartender to lead you through making your favorite drinks. You can send guests all the ingredients beforehand, and even include food pairings to go with your beverages. 

7. Virtual wine or beer tasting

If cocktails aren’t your style, try hosting a virtual wine or beer tasting instead. Reach out to a local (or your favorite) winery and brewery and have the beverages shipped to your guests. Then you’ll all get to taste and learn more about what you are drinking! This is a fun way to get questions you have about beer or wine answered by a professional and get the wine or beer tasting experience in the comfort of your own homes. Afterward, you and your guests can talk about what you liked most about what you’ve tried! 

8. Virtual group games 

Host a virtual game night. Better yet, let someone else host it! Look into a company that specializes in group games, like Kingmakers. If your guests are competitive, or you are looking for something that will keep everyone’s attention span and lead to lots of laughs and good time, a virtual game night is the way to go. Everyone is sure to have a good time and having a professional facilitate and keep the energy level up is a pro move that you’ll be glad you made.

Learn more about holiday hospitality trends

A recent survey by Tripleseat found that events are picking up for the 2021 holiday season and venues should do their best to be prepared for an increase in reservations, events, and catering orders. The survey asked 500 consumers about their 2021 holiday plans involving restaurants for celebrations and hotels for seasonal travel. The results are listed in an infographic.

Highlights of the survey data include:

  • Consumers are ready to celebrate in person. 75 percent of respondents said they will be hosting or planning holiday events.
  • Catering has become a regular part of celebrations. 54 percent have used or will use catering for gatherings they have hosted or will host in 2021. That’s up from our 2020 holiday survey, where 30 percent said they used catering.
  • Workplace holiday parties are back. 66 percent say their employers will be holding a holiday celebration and 84 percent of those events are in person. This is a huge increase from our 2020 survey, where 45 percent said their workplace would be holding a holiday party either in person or virtually.

View the infographic and more data in our blog post, Consumers Ready to Plan Holiday Events, Travel in 2021.