Zoom Holiday Parties Cocktails Image

Flashback to 2018, where the corporate holiday party was the limelight of the office during the winter months. On that night, the open bar was flowing with bubbly, themed drinks and the somewhat-warm-somewhat-cold hors d’oeuvres came parading out from the kitchen. Almost customarily, there’s something that happens that everyone will obsess over. Each year when a new holiday party is booked, folks will say, “I hope this party is as good as the year they booked a band that never showed up and we were stuck with a phone as our DJ.”

Even though things are bound to be interesting, people know and love the holiday party. There are heartwarming rewards in the form of bonuses, gifts, and certificates given to employees who have worked hard all year long. Everyone from the guests, to the bartender pouring drinks, all the way to the event planner keeping track of everything and everyone, they all love attending the holiday party.

PEOPLE LOVE HOLIDAY PARTIES FOR MANY REASONS, LIKE PRAISED RECOGNITION AND THE INFAMOUS OPEN BAR

I’m here to tell you how to throw a perfectly splendid Zoom holiday party because, this year, everything has changed. Thanks, COVID-19. We aren’t able to see smiling faces behind masks. We’ll have to plan our own appetizers for guests and figure out how to make our employees feel just as special as if they were receiving our praise in front of a room full of people. 

Businesses everywhere have shifted to holding Zoom meetings as a new way to achieve cohesion while everyone works at home, socially distant and miles apart from one another. But Zoom isn’t strictly for business, people! Zoom is actually a fantastic way of engaging with your employees or prospective clients. You can hold educational webinars or even more casual happy hours to increase employee engagement in a whole new way.

Holiday Cocktail Party

THIS YEAR, ZOOM IS THE PERFECT VENUE FOR YOUR CORPORATE HOLIDAY PARTY

Zoom is an ideal place to host a holiday party, especially in 2020. Everyone can stay safely at home while they meet with their coworkers in a way they’ve never quite done before.

To get us started, we’ll begin with the basics. Like with any good party, you’ll need to decide on a topic or theme to keep your guests engaged in the activity. This can be baking, chocolate making, spirits or wine tasting, or even cocktail-making – which is my personal favorite! I’ll focus on cocktail making for the rest of the post. After all, it is because of the drinks that the fun stuff really starts to happen.

DECIDE ON A TOPIC FOR YOUR ZOOM PARTY, LIKE WINE TASTING OR COCKTAIL-MAKING

Now that you’ve got your topic secured and you’ll be making cocktails, a party and event planner may find a host exceptionally useful for this specific Zoom gathering. But finding a host that is entertaining and engaging while being the face of your party can be a significant challenge. Let’s go over some of your options to find a quality, holiday party host to keep your guests signed-in and having a jolly time.

  • Find specialists in cocktail-making, like A Bar Above, to host your party.
  • Hire an Instagram influencer or YouTube host who has plenty of knowledge on the topic you decided on.
  • Search Google for virtual hosts in your area of interest.
  • Work with a service that will help you find a host, like Wavy.

With your host hand-selected, you can now work with them to plan the rest of your party to see what you will be offering to your guests. The logistics of the holiday party might look a bit different (just like this whole year), but we’ll figure this one out, much like we have since March.

Holiday Cocktail

WORK WITH YOUR PARTY HOST TO SEE WHAT TO OFFER YOUR GUESTS AND THE LOGISTICS OF DELIVERIES

For a cocktail-making Zoom holiday party, there are a few challenges that you’ll come across. The ingredients (and any gifts to be sent) will need to be shipped to people, which can be a struggle. Packages can be broken, lost, or delayed so they don’t arrive in time for the party. Work all these details out with your host and anyone else helping you plan the event. Here’s a tip: Create and send out a list of ingredients and items that the attendees will need to buy  themselves (and be prepared to reimburse them!) to have a dazzling time during the Zoom party.

SENDING COCKTAILS INGREDIENTS CAN BE CHALLENGING, SO USE THESE TIPS FOR AN EASIER TIME

Cocktail ingredients themselves might be tricky with liquor laws varying in each state, so I recommend that you rely on and look for help from people who already have this figured out. Work smarter not harder, right? So, look at cocktail subscription services! With their help, you’ll be able to figure out which states allow alcohol to be shipped and those who do not. Plus, they’ll ship directly for you. Here are a few subscription services to check out:

SIMPLIFY THINGS BY SENDING YOUR GUESTS GIFT CARDS TO BUY THE THINGS THEY’LL NEED FOR YOUR ZOOM HOLIDAY PARTY 

Make things easy for your guests by sending them the specific equipment they’ll need, like a bar set or must-have bar spoon from A Bar Above. Then you can send them a Visa gift certificate in a signed holiday card so they can buy the alcohol at their local shop. Don’t forget to include the list of all the ingredients they’ll need for a good time, like cherries or rosemary sprigs. Make the list holiday-decorated by printing in themed colors, or create a cute list on Canva that will shine brighter than Rudolph’s nose.

As many of you know, communicating details of an event can be detrimental to the success of a party. I’ve seen event planners fail to tell guests where the parking garages are located. A handful of guests were locked in the wrong garage after hours as a result of this small miscommunication. To avoid those types of stories, you should always let the attendees know what they should be expecting leading up to the event. 

So, what do you need to let people know? You’ll need to inform them when to expect any deliveries of items.

  •  Be sure to send the list of ingredients they’ll need to have to make their cocktail (sugar, lemons, ice, etc.). 
  • Give out the host’s information with headshots, bios, and contact information; this should be included in any emails and calendar invites.
  • Provide your guests with the Zoom link and any credentials they’ll need to join in the virtual fun.
Zoom Holiday Parties

COMMUNICATE TO YOUR GUESTS WHAT TO EXPECT LEADING UP TO THE EVENT 

When the day of the holiday party finally arrives, you might feel a bit relaxed with the majority of the work behind you. But before you start to relax fully into your couch, make sure you keep these things in mind during the event. 

Remember to have a great time! The goal here is to relax and have fun but still concentrate on the topic of the event. If you’re making cocktails, make sure everyone stays focused on that. Otherwise, your guests will fall out of engagement and might even leave early to drink all of the free booze you sent them. Keep everyone engaged by having your guests show off their creations on Zoom and give praise to any unique ideas. 

Before the guests do sign off (or get to enjoying their cocktails a little too much), leave some time to communicate your holiday message from the company. This is where you can thank everyone for a hard, weird year and acknowledge any efforts worth mentioning. But keep it brief! Don’t turn this into one of the hundreds of meetings you held throughout the year. Your guests should be having fun, not working.

DURING THE EVENT, HAVE FUN WHILE STAYING FOCUSED ON THE TOPIC

Just because this year’s holiday party looks a tad different (okay, way different) than the years before, people haven’t changed that much in the fact that they still want to have fun and participate in familiar events. Holiday parties are an exceedingly great way to reconnect with everyone in your company, and this year will be no different. The story of this holiday party will be the fact that everyone who joined still had a memorable time, despite being at home. And if you need help making this party a hit, contact A Bar Above and we can help! Cheers, and happy holiday party-planning.

Carrie Jean Lipe

Carrie Jean Lipe

Carrie Jean is a Midwesterner-turned-Californian FOH veteran with over 12 years in the restaurant industry. Now, she writes about life (at work, and at home with your dog) with a focus on serving the hospitality workforce. In addition to writing, she offers freelance voice talent and virtual assistance. Fun Fact: She loves Abraham Lincoln.