Looking for some quick and easy Christmas-themed team building activities to do with your coworkers this holiday season? Read our list here for some ideas to bring some holiday cheer to your workplace or remote team.
Christmas is coming to town! The lights have been put up and the illuminations are a-glow. Meanwhile, the malls and shops are bursting with Christmas decorations and Mariah Carey. ” ‘Tis the season to be jolly,” as they say. And what better way to be jolly than by sharing the joy of the Christmas season with your team?
Going back a couple years now, around Christmas we have made a list of holiday-themed team building activities that are easy-to-plan and can be done with any team. In the past the focus was mostly on online activities, given the fact that the pandemic was in full-swing and many companies were wary about planning in-person events.
This year, our list is a bit more expansive. Yes, the pandemic is still on-going, and there are still reasons to be cautious about holding in-person Christmas activities. But the situation is also way different than it was even a year ago.
We have detected a renewed sense of optimism in Japan and around the world. People are going out more, borders have been opened, and many more companies are seeking in-person team building.
So we want to reflect this sense of optimism and openness in our list this year. We want teams to have the opportunity to truly enjoy themselves, as well as the blessings of being together. As a result, while many of these activities can be done both in-person or online, their overall aim is to bring team members closer by sharing the warmth of personal interaction.
With that in mind, here is our list of Christmas-themed team building activities for 2022…
1. Something (or someone) you’re grateful for
This is an easy and quick Christmas team building activity to set the mood right. It actually functions as a good ice breaker, or as a nice discussion to have at an end-of-the-year dinner party.
All you need to do is go around and have each team member say one thing that they have been grateful for this year. This can be something specific that happened to your team, or something in your personal life that you’re grateful for.
It’s a nice way to bring the year to a close, have a moment of positive reflection, and remain true to the spirit of the holiday season. Plus, it allows team members to learn more about each other.
If you want, you can also make this game more personal by giving each team member the name of another team member. They then have to say one thing about that person that they are grateful for (something they did, something about their personality, etc.). This alternative should only be used if you feel comfortable enough as a team.
Gratitude is something that makes everyone feel better and happier in general. When done as a team, it has the power to bring everyone closer together, and make everyone more appreciative for what they have accomplished.
2. Christmas-themed ice breaker questions
Going off this theme of icebreaker activities, there are also a lot of other great icebreaker questions related to Christmas. The point here is to ask light-hearted and fun questions that can spark some interesting discussion about what people like about Christmas or the culture surrounding it.
As a result, team members get to learn about each other in a natural way. These questions can be slipped into other events or activities, or they can even be used before meetings to add a little holiday spirit and before delving in..
Here are some examples:
•What is your earliest memory of Christmas?
•If you could have any present in the world, what would you want?
•What is your favorite holiday song (or what is your least favorite)?
•What is your favorite holiday movie?
•If you could travel anywhere in the world for Christmas, where would you go?
•Would you rather have a white christmas (lots of snow) or a summer christmas (like in Australia or the southern hemisphere)?
3. Homemade Christmas/holiday card exchange
This activity might require a bit of preparation in advance, but it can allow team members to show their creativity and arts-and-crafts skills.
Give each team member the name of another team member (make sure everyone keeps the names they received secret). Then give everyone at least a week to make a holiday card for the person they got. They can write whatever message they want, and decorate the card however they choose.
Have a small card-exchange party where everyone can give each other their cards and see what others came up with.
A Christmas card exchange is similar to doing a gift exchange, like Secret Santa. But a card exchange can be a bit more equitable, since no one will feel bad about receiving a worse gift. It’s also less expensive as well.
Making the cards itself can be fun, and it can be interesting to see what your fellow members come up with.
4. Ugly sweater contest
The ugly sweater contest is an activity that’s especially popular in America. The idea is to wear the ugliest Christmas, holiday, or winter sweater that you can find to work on a specified day (usually this coincides with a small office party too, but it doesn’t have to).
When everyone is gathered, vote on who is wearing the ugliest sweater and give that person a prize. This is meant to be lighthearted and fun, and not to make anyone feel bad, so make sure to make it clear to everyone that the point is to wear something ugly intentionally.
Since all this activity requires is putting on a sweater, it’s a great activity to slip into a holiday event or plan quickly. It adds a burst of joy and laughter, and reminds everyone to not always take themselves so seriously.
5. The Gift-Giving Game
The gift-giving game isn’t specifically related to Christmas, but it involves pretending to give and receive presents, so hey–it works. This activity is an improv game that teaches team members to be creative, as well as how to accept and reject ideas.
To play, split your team into pairs. Team members take turns presenting their partner with different gifts, the more extravagant and out-of-this-world the better (e.g. the Empire State Building, the moon, a humpback whale, etc.).
The partner receiving the gift can accept the gift, in which case they need to pretend to interact with whatever it is their partner gave them. Or they can reject the gift by tossing it over their shoulders and yelling “Whoo!”
As the game goes along, team members really start getting wild with their ideas. It might even inspire some ideas for Christmas presents…
6. Holiday karaoke
With Covid restrictions loosening up a bit, this might be the year to return to the karaoke box to sing some Christmas tunes with your team. It’s a great way to sing and share your favorite songs, learning about each other in the process.
You can also turn this into an activity that you can do in the office. Simply split your team into groups, and then have them take turns singing as many songs as they can together that include a keyword (like “snow” or “gift”). This is an easy way to include karaoke fun without actually going anywhere.
7. Holiday cocktail contest
Ok, we admit it, we’ve used this one before. There are lots of fun holiday cocktails, including ones that feature other holiday drink favorites like eggnog, hot cocoa and mulled wine. Give team members a week or so to come up with and prepare their holiday cocktails.
If you’re up for it this year, you can make the contest in-person, and let team members try each other’s concoctions. But of course, this activity can also be done online as well. Enjoy toasting to each other’s health and success in the coming year!
8. Invite Japan team building activities
Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention some of Invite Japan’s own team building activities which are popular during the holiday season. Two in particular are highly recommended for any type of team or holiday event.
• Online Team Building
For remote teams and teams that prefer not to meet in-person, Invite Japan has two online activities, both of which mix puzzles and collaborative challenges with fun designs and engaging storylines.
Okinawa Adventure takes teams on an exciting and magical journey through Okinawa, giving them the chance to explore the sights and culture of this unique island as well.
Secret Agent, on the other hand, is an international heist adventure that puts players in the role of spy-detectives on the hunt for a stolen work of art.
Both games are perfect ways to get your teams energized and working together over the holiday season.
• Suitcase Mystery
Our Suitcase Mystery series is highly popular around the Christmas and holiday seasons. This probably has to do with the fact that these games are so fun, and provide the same sense of surprise and mystery as an escape game, but within an easy transportable form.
In the Suitcase Mystery games (Suitcase Mystery: Classic and Suitcase Mystery: Flight Plan), teams of 4~5 players are each given a suitcase, filled with puzzles, locks and strange items. Teams have to get through all the challenges in the suitcase before the time limit is up.
Sounds fun, right?