5 corporate team-building activities for the holidays


The holidays are here, but instead of planning the same old lackluster potluck, cheer up your troops with fun, engaging, and unique corporate team-building activities. The holidays can be a stressful time for many of your employees. The mornings are frosty cold, and the sun often sets before the business day is over. Thinking up a great team activity can bring more holiday cheer into the office while also helping to re-engage your employees. If you have remote team members, check out these 7 holiday-inspired ways to engage remote employees.

Why corporate team building matters

Team building activities have gotten a bit of a negative rep over the years, (trust falls are so last year), but there’s a reason they’ve stuck around. As Brian Scudamore, founder of O2E Brands explains in an article for Forbes, a great team activity “builds trust, mitigates conflict, encourages communication, and increases collaboration.”

This can lead to a more cohesive and happier team. Stronger teams are more productive, give you better results, and, ultimately, increase the bottom line. The right activity can help dash away holiday blues and boost morale. Now that’s something to wassail about! (Take a look at five corporate team-building activities  you can do any time of the year.)

A quick note on holiday sensitivity

Your employees come from all kinds of backgrounds and traditions, so it’s important to devise inclusive holiday games and activities. Be sensitive to the fact that not everyone may celebrate Christmas or even know some of the more common American Christmas traditions.

As you begin planning your activities, look at other holiday traditions you can include in the fold, and don’t be afraid to invite your team to offer suggestions and feedback. Offering an anonymous survey can be a good way of receiving honest feedback from your staff.

With those thoughts in mind, here are five excellent holiday activities to consider for your office:

1.      Create your own ugly holiday sweater

This is a wonderful activity for any type of office, but especially for creative agencies. Give each of your employees or teams a blank sweater or a normal holiday sweater and then offer a selection of tools and “modifications” so that they can each create their own ugly sweater. Tools and supplies can include things like glue guns, iron-on holiday patches, tensile, Christmas lights, fabric paint, and more. Check out this great article from Morning Chores that includes 74 ugly Christmas sweater ideas.

Bonus: To give your teams some incentive for extra creativity, make the CEO wear the worst (best?) sweater for the rest of the day or to the company holiday party.

2.      Holiday-themed scavenger hunt

Divide your staff into teams and give them a sheet of holiday-themed objects to find around the office. Each object should include a clue to the location of the next object. This is a good opportunity to include objects from different holiday traditions and even add in some pop-culture references. Consider hiding things like an Elf on the Shelf doll, a Menorah, Santa’s boots, Frosty’s top hat, and more. If you want even more ideas for holiday scavenger hunt clues, here’s everything Pinterest has to offer.

Bonus: Arrange the scavenger hunt in a location outside your office, such as at a big cultural center or even outdoors if the weather cooperates.

3.      Charity event or volunteer

The holidays are a great time to remember that not everyone is as fortunate as you and your employees. If you want to encourage your team to open their hearts over the holidays, a charity event or volunteer activity is a good choice. Many organizations offer charity-related activities, like working with your team to build bikes for kids. You can also find volunteer activities in your community. There are always soup kitchens or food banks that need hands. Donorbox, a nonprofit blog, offers 20 creative Christmas fundraising ideas.

Bonus: Give your team even more pride of ownership by creating your own charity event. Maybe a sled-a-thon for a local cause or build food baskets and deliver them to seniors. Ask your team for ideas and send out a survey to vote for the winner.

4.      Winter Olympics

It’s time to get silly. Sit down and think of fun, zany events that will encourage joy, laughter, and some epic pics for the company Facebook page. Get creative in devising “events” for your Winter Olympics. How about a popcorn string speed contest or a 10-minute box wrapping event, with the prettiest box taking home the gold? There could be a Christmas tree ornament toss or longest dreidel spin. Your Winter Olympics doesn’t necessarily need to include holiday-themed events. WeWork  put out a great article all about putting on your office Olympics, including game ideas.

Bonus: Host your Winter Olympics offsite. Perhaps at a snazzy conference center where no one will trip over desks during the festivities.

5.      Holiday quiz bowl

Put your teams’ holiday know-how to the test by creating a holiday quiz. Make sure to include questions from a wide range of traditions and don’t be afraid to throw in pop culture references (what gift did Ralphie Parker want in A Christmas Story?) and historical facts (what culture originally burned the yule log for the winter solstice?). Struggling to think of holiday questions? Don’t worry, Useful Trivia  has you covered.

Bonus: Poll Everywhere can help you pull off a fun and effective holiday quiz bowl. The Poll Everywhere Competitions feature lets you create multiple-choice questions your workers can answer from their phone, tablet, or laptop. The scoreboard keeps track of how everyone is doing, so you don’t have to play referee.

Make the holidays count

A great corporate team-building activity can help you make the holidays special for your team while also encouraging them relax, bond, and test their creativity. We hope these suggestions will allow you to pull off a great event. If you need even more ideas, why not ask your team? Poll Everywhere makes it easy to get feedback from your team now and throughout the year.