Virtual Christmas Party

Is it really possible to stray from tradition and host a virtual party event while making it fun, interesting, well-attended, and a good time for everyone?  Well the short answer, backed by feedback from attendees, is a resounding YES!

In the middle of a pandemic, United’s Christmas Party Committee was faced with the difficult task of figuring out what to do about the much anticipated in-person event that improves with each passing year.  The venue for the 2020 Christmas Party had been booked in 2019 and was ready and waiting to accommodate United’s needs as dictated by the CDC guidelines which in a nutshell meant limited capacity, masks, and social distancing. It really didn’t seem like it would prove to be an event to write home about.  The committee pondered the best options for moving forward — canceling the event was never an option! 

Ultimately, the committee decided to postpone the previously scheduled venue, rescheduling it as the 2021 event venue and taking the 2020 Christmas Party into the digital age through hosting a virtual event via Zoom. Risky?  Maybe. Questions remained involving how to get people to entertain the idea of participating virtually and once accepted, how would the committee keep them engaged?  The committee began flushing out the details with the intent of making the party fun for the whole family which meant planning for an audience ranging from toddlers to retirees and everyone in between.

Committee members devised a “party-in-a-box” plan in an effort to accommodate all facets of the typical in-person experience; providing prizes, interactions, and even a little friendly competition. Highlights of the evening included a scavenger hunt where participants were split into teams via Zoom breakout rooms to divide and conquer a designated list of items within a limited time frame. Winning scavenger hunt team members each received a $50 Amazon card.  Another crowd-pleaser included two raffles (one for adults and one for kids) with cool prizes ranging from gift cards to the hottest tech gadgets. One lucky winner even won a 60-inch 4K TV!

The only thing missing during this year’s event were the insanely delightful culinary treats enjoyed every year by guests; however, not to be forgotten — only delayed; the party-in-a-box provided every employee with a $100 gift card redeemable at a few select restaurants. Also, new employees were recognized, years-of-service awards acknowledged, and the Ugly Christmas Sweater/Costume/Decorations Contest  were all made possible through the magic of technology.

The 2020 United Virtual Christmas Party is definitely one that will be remembered favorably for many years to come!