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As we reach the end of the calendar year and our second year dealing with a pandemic, it’s once again time to think about an end-of-year party. But what exactly should that look like, given the circumstances?

In some ways, this year seems even more complicated than last year: Many teams are fully or partially back to the office, but potentially with restrictions in place on large in-person gatherings. And some companies didn’t see everyone come back in: a percentage of the workforce chose to remain remote or hybrid when offices opened back up.

Then there are variants and local health measures, which could still change plans in an instant.

So what does all this mean? It means that, if you’re going to plan an end-of-year holiday party, you need it to be highly flexible, able to adapt to whatever happens in the next few weeks.

We’ve rounded up some great end-of-year party ideas (credit to BizBash for inspiration on a couple of these) that are highly flexible: many will work no matter what your party needs to look like, from all virtual to hybrid to all in-person.

1. Charades

On the team level, charades is a go-to for good reason. It can get folks out of their shells, and it’s impressively flexible. The core experience of trying to guess what someone else is pantomiming might be even more ridiculous over Zoom.

Some holiday-themed prompts can help keep spirits bright:

  • Mistletoe
  • New year’s ball drop
  • Shoveling snow
  • Decorating a Christmas tree
  • Lighting a menorah

2. Immersive Outdoor Party

If you’ve largely returned to in-person operations but aren’t thrilled at the idea of getting 50 or 100 (or more) people in an enclosed space, why not take the holiday party outside?

We know, the idea of setting up something outdoors that’s actually interesting (not to mention immersive) probably sounds overwhelming. But don’t worry; we can help! At Bluewater, this is one of the things we excel in: creating immersive experiences for clients, whether on or off site.

Whatever your outdoor space looks like, we can turn it into a gorgeous winter escape.

For companies located in metro Detroit, consider booking the Glenlore Trails Aurora Winter Wonderland, an immersive experience we’ve built and that you can rent for your organization. (We can even take care of catering!)

3. The Escape Game Game Show

For virtual or hybrid teams (or even on-site personnel who don’t want to gather in large crowds), there are plenty of options if you know where to look. One of the best is The Escape Game Game Show, a one-hour experience that’s scalable from 10 to 150 players. Your teams will compete and collaborate across all sorts of minigames and puzzles, and you can expect plenty of laughs, too.

The great thing about The Escape Game Game Show is that it does all the work for you. There’s no complicated setup or configuration to worry about — just bonding and morale boosts.

Make sure you look for the holiday version of the game.

4. Budget Idea: Trivia in Kahoot!

For smaller teams or groups on a tight budget, a “trivia night” game in Kahoot! can be a great option. The hardest part here is coming up with interesting and relevant questions. We recommend a mix of company and industry trivia, holiday trivia, and fun facts about team members.

Staff can play as individuals or as small teams, and running the game is relatively simple. The host can show the game over a video call, while attendees answer trivia questions via app or a separate browser tab.

Setup is a little more resource-intensive, but the budget trade-off might be worth it for some teams.

5. Create an Immersive Virtual World with Parallel

If you’re looking for something even more in-depth for your virtual or hybrid holiday party, consider our immersive live events platform, Parallel. In Parallel, you can create customized, holiday-themed content with brand integration and more. Set up spaces for breakout rooms and larger virtual/hybrid meetings, and run games within those spaces.

There’s even gamification and a networking space where people can hang out by the virtual tree or fire.

We hope these ideas spur those creative juices and inspire you to pull off the best party you can, given the circumstances. And if you could use some professional immersive AV help with your event, let us show you what we can do!