43 Holiday Team Building Activities for Christmas Fun in 2021

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You found our list of the best holiday team building activities.

Holiday team building activities are Christmas-themed activities, games, and events for teams to enjoy during the month of December. For example, ice skating, gingerbread house building, and volunteering. The purpose of these activities is to spread holiday cheer and team spirit.

These exercises are a subset of team building activities and can be part of company holiday parties or virtual Christmas parties.

This list includes:

  • team building activities for holiday parties
  • holiday themed team building activities
  • team Christmas games
  • holiday team outing ideas

Here is the list!

List of holiday team building activities

From Christmas light tours to holiday origami to white elephant exchanges, here is a list of activities for teams to do together at Christmas time to get into the seasonal spirit.

1. Gingerbread House Building

Group of four coworkers with gingerbread house

Gingerbread House Building is one of the best holiday themed team building activities. You can turn the exercise into a contest by splitting the group into teams and competing to build the funniest, most creative, or most attractive cookie condo. You can assign a theme for the contest, such as famous movies, fairy tales, or alien attack, or allow teams to pick their own themes.

For best results, provide participants with pre-made house kits and plenty of frosting, along with candy decorations. You can also give groups a heads up about the activity so that participants can bring their own edible embellishments.

2. Card Crafting

December ’tis the season for sending cards, meaning that group card-crafting sessions are both fun and practical. There are many ways to structure this activity. For example, you can set up a DIY photo booth with holiday props and stage a photo shoot for the card cover. Or, set up a table with fancy paper, markers, glitter, and other decorations. You can also bring in a calligraphy expert to show the group how to do fancy lettering. Or, have the group design cards in Canva during the session, and pick up the printing fees.

Here are holiday messaging suggestions to use within the Christmas cards.

3. Office Decorating

Decking the halls for the holidays is no small endeavor. However if the whole team pitches in then the office will become a winter wonderland in no time, and the group will have a blast in the process. Simply play Christmas music, have candy on hand for snacking, and drag out the decorations. You can turn the exercise into a competition and have each department come up with a different design, or keep the hangout more casual and have the whole team work together to transform the space into Christmas central.

4. Carol Karaoke

Carol karaoke is a more upbeat version of caroling, and a more low-key version of karaoke. Many folks tend to be less self-conscious about singing Christmas carols than regular pop songs, and almost everyone knows the words to these holiday anthems.

To set up carol karaoke, first grab a karaoke machine or a microphone and a television, projector screen, or laptop. Next, queue up a Christmas karaoke playlist, and start belting out the tunes.

Pro tip: For extra fun, have singers write and perform parody lyrics to the tune of carols instead of singing the real words.

5. Holiday Origami

Origami is a fun and elegant holiday activity that teammates can enjoy together. Crafters can make many Christmas shapes such as trees, stars, snowflakes, Santas, and present boxes. These projects can be ornaments, stocking stuffers, or decorations.

Be sure to gather plenty of thick paper, preferably in Christmas colors in designs. Then, play a Christmas origami tutorial on a laptop or TV, and follow the instructions fold by fold.

For more team crafts, check out this list of online group art classes.

6. Ornament Making

Ornament making is a fun and festive group holiday activity that helps teams unleash their creative sides. To complete the craft, first gather supplies such as empty clear plastic ornaments, sequins, clay, paper, and glue. You can either choose specific types of ornaments to make, or allow participants to create their own masterpieces.

For inspiration, check out this board of ornament ideas on Pinterest.

Pro tip: At the end of the activity, hang the ornaments on a team tree.

7. Merry Murder Mystery

Murder mysteries might seem like a more appropriate activity for Halloween, however solving a Christmas-themed caper can be great fun.

First, choose a Christmas-themed murder mystery, like Who Slayed Santa or Ho Ho Homocide. Then, print out the scripts and materials, and gather props and decorations. Wearing costumes may help players get into character, so encourage your teammates to dress up, or provide outfits and accessories.

Finally, gather together, hand out roles, and play the game.

Check out more online murder mystery games.

8. Escape Rooms

Escape Rooms are one of the most interactive team building activities for holiday parties. Sometimes, companies will take teams to solve an escape room in lieu of throwing a corporate holiday party, or these challenges may be one part of the company’s holiday programming.

Escape rooms are timed games where players must work together to solve a series of puzzles to unlock the room’s barricaded door. Your local escape room may run a seasonal room for the month of December, or you can build your own holiday challenge by making festive puzzles, for instance, a musical lock with a Christmas carol key.

Check out this list of DIY escape room puzzles and these escape room tips.

9. Sledding

Sledding is a beloved winter pastime and a great activity to do as a group. You can rent or buy sleds and take your team down a hill when it snows, or take a trip to a ski resort and go tubing down the mountain. Or, if you live in a warm climate or would rather not brave the cold, then you can do indoor sledding. Teams can compete soapbox-derby style to build and race dogsleds, or you can clear a long hallway and take turns pulling teammates down the stretch on the sled. This activity brings out folks’ inner kids and can be a ton of fun, plus, it helps folks to take a break from their desks and get moving.

10. Cookie Swaps

Cookie swaps are all-dessert versions of a potluck. Each participant bakes at least one kind of cookie. The team brings the cookies into a meeting on a designated day and arranges the treats buffet-style. Then, each team member makes up a plate or box of assorted goodies and samples the different cookies. Partakers can enjoy the desserts in-office, at home, or in both places. Wherever participants chose to chow down, team members should be sure to compliment each other on the cookies, and maybe even ask for the recipe!

11. Video Christmas Card

Making a video Christmas card is a fun take on the traditional holiday greeting. First, gather your group together and decide on a theme. Then, create a script, and practice if necessary. Next, shoot the greeting. Finally, edit the footage together. Holiday music is a must, and you can also add special effects. Send the finished product to your team and other coworkers, or post onto a company page. Feel free to turn the video card creation into an office competition if teams are up to the challenge. Distributed teams can get in on the fun too by recording clips separately and compiling those files together into one cohesive video, or by recording a greeting during a Zoom meeting.

12. Volunteering

The Christmas spirit is about showing kindness and goodwill to fellow humans. During December, teams can come together to complete service projects that help the broader community. For example, by adopting a family to buy Christmas presents for or by writing Christmas cards to soldiers overseas.

Leaders can organize a day or half day for the team to spend volunteering offsite. The charity activity can be Christmas-related, for instance caroling in a nursing home or sorting toys at a donation-drive, or can be a general act of service to the community such as cleaning a local strip of highway.

Here are some ways to do volunteering online.

13. Ugly Sweater Party

Ugly Sweater Parties are one of the most fun modern Christmas traditions. At these events, attendees wear hideous holiday sweaters and compete in “best dressed” contests. Participants can either buy hideous holiday sweaters or make party costumes by sewing or gluing bows, lights, and other decorations onto thrift store sweaters.

To make the activity more collaborative, you can judge sweaters in pairs or small groups and challenge teams to dress up based on a theme. Or, participants can simply bond and enjoy each other’s company during the party by talking and playing games together.

If you and the team are feeling bold, then dress up in ugly sweaters before hitting an offsite team outing such as a dinner at a restaurant or an escape room.

Pro tip: Take plenty of pictures!

14. Secret Santa

Secret Santa gift swaps are one of the most popular holiday team building activities. To do this beloved holiday office tradition, first ask employees to opt-in and sign up for the exchange. Next, either put a list of names in a hat and have each participant draw a name, or match names using a pair generator.

Participants shop for their assigned recipient, and the group gathers to open gifts together on the day of the exchange. The identity of the gift-giver is kept secret until the day of the event. Gift-givers can either reveal themselves by delivering the present when the recipient’s name is called, or recipients can find the present with their name under the tree and guess who the present is from after opening the box.

Office Secret Santas tend to work best when there is a significant-yet-modest price limit, such as $10 or $25. It is also helpful if organizers ask participants to list a few desired present categories, since coworkers may not know what to get each other.

Here is a guide to doing Secret Santa virtually.

15. White Elephant Exchange

White Elephant Exchanges are similar to Secret Santa swaps, only the packages are silly gag gifts instead of practical presents. Also, there is often a gift-stealing component to white elephant swaps. Participants can choose to either open their own present, or trade unwrapped presents with another player.

White elephant gift exchanges can be less pressure than traditional secret Santa swaps since there is no expectation of picking out the perfect present.

Here is a guide to doing virtual white elephant activities.

16. Christmas Light Tours

Elaborate light displays are a staple of the Christmas season. Taking Christmas light tours makes for an easy and inexpensive holiday team outing. Some cities host professional displays that charge admission by the carload. However, you could also load up a bus or caravan of cars and drive to a neighborhood known for setting up bright yardscapes, or stroll the sidewalks. Capping the activity off with a round of cocoa makes for a perfect end to the evening.

17. Merry Meme-making

Memes are pictures and jokes that internet users share frequently. You and your team can come up with your own Christmas-themed memes by using a meme generator to add text to pictures. You can either follow a popular existing meme format, or come up with a new meme style by captioning holiday photos.

We recommend sharing the results in team emails or Slack threads, or printing out the best creations and hanging them around the office.

18. Holiday Happy Hours

Holiday happy hours make great Christmas social events for teams. These shindigs are informal meetups where teammates can sip and schmooze, with a holiday twist. To host a holiday happy hour, first come up with a menu of Christmas cocktails, such as poinsettia gin punches and peppermint martinis. To make the activity more interactive, you can have attendees mix up their own holiday drinks. You can structure the happy hour with holiday games and activities such as trivia, Bingo, and Christmas-themed icebreaker questions to get the group interacting.

19. Christmas Office Bingo

Christmas Office Bingo is an observational game. Players receive cards with common December occurrences. Upon spotting one of these happenings, players can mark off a square on the bingo card. The objective of the game is to mark five squares in a row, column, or diagonal.

Teammates can also work together and pool cards in order to get Bingo faster.

For more Bingo boards, check out online team building Bingo.

20. Seasonal Scavenger Hunt

Seasonal scavenger hunts are high-energy team games that involve players racing to retrieve objects and complete tasks. You can create a set of Christmas clues to make the exercise more festive.

Seasonal Scavenger Hunt Template

Check out more virtual scavenger hunt ideas.

21. Ice Skating

Ice skating is one of the most fun holiday team outing ideas. First, find a rink, preferably an outdoor rink. Next, check whether or not the rink requires reservations, and book a time for your group to skate if yes. Even if the rink does not take bookings, you may want to research busy times to ensure that your whole group can make it on the ice at once. Choose a date and time to visit, rent skates or ask your teammates to bring their own pairs, and then glide across the ice together.

22. Team Recipe Book

Folks tend to have strong sentimental feelings about holiday meals. Swapping beloved Christmas recipes can be a way for teammates to bond. To create a team recipe book, ask each teammate to submit at least one favorite holiday recipe. For extra insight, ask participants to include a few lines explaining what the recipe means to them. Then, organize the recipes into book form using a program like Canva, In Design, or Google Drive, and send the anthology to your officemates.

Pro tip: Encourage teammates to try the different recipes and reach out to the contributing chef.

23. Festive Fitness

Christmas can be a time of increased stress and excessive sweets, and your team could benefit from a group workout. You can plan a fun and festive fitness class to help your group get into the holiday spirit. Simply build a playlist of upbeat holiday songs, choose an exercise, then start sweating like Santa on Christmas Eve.

Check out this list of team workouts for more ideas.

24. Stocking Stuffers

Instead of waiting to exchange gifts during Secret Santa, your team can spread the generosity throughout the season by sneaking surprises into each other’s stockings. Each teammate hangs a stocking on their desk, cubicle, or office door on December 1st. Throughout the month, coworkers slip kind notes and small gifts into each other’s stockings.

To encourage more teammates to participate, you can provide participants with a stipend of $10 to$15 to use to buy goodies.

Pro tip: For extra team bonding you can hold a stocking decorating session to kick off the event.

Here is a list of corporate holiday party favors that make great stocking stuffers.

25. Seasonal Stations

One fun way to structure an office Christmas party or spirit week is to designate each department as the home base for a different holiday activity. For example, accounting may set up a cookie decorating station while sales stages photos with Santa. Guests can wander between the different stations and enjoy seasonal entertainment together. To encourage participants to visit every station, you can hand out holiday passports and give a reward to individuals who turn in books with stamps from every station.

26. Advent Calendar Activities

Instead of choosing only one holiday outing for the team, you can create a surprise schedule of seasonal events. Advent calendars are Christmas decorations that countdown the days until Christmas and contain a surprise behind each date’s door. Instead of filling a calendar with toys or chocolates, you can designate different team happenings. Each day, teams will check the calendar to find out the activity for the day. These exercises should be short and simple, for example, “take a team hot cocoa break” or “tell the group about the best Christmas present you ever received.” However, you can also mix in a few larger events, such as team lunches or escape rooms.

27. Fantasy Christmas List

Fantasy Christmas List is a fun exercise in imagination. In this activity, teammates come together to build extravagant Christmas wish lists full of expensive and over-the-top items. Participants can hunt for high-end extraordinary items online, or can invent expensive gift requests. Once lists are complete, participants should read the requests out loud to the group.

You can do variations on the game, for instance, by giving participants a budget or by playing The Price Is Right and guessing the costs of the lush gifts.

28. Hot Cocoa Breaks

Come Christmas time, hot chocolate reigns supreme as the boss of beverages. Cocoa can take the place of coffee in your team’s break schedule. Simply set up a table full of hot cocoa and mix-ins like whipped cream, marshmallows, and peppermint dust, and invite your team to indulge in the drinks and interact with each other. You can also encourage employees to take one on one hot chocolate breaks to get to know coworkers better.

29. Holiday Movie Night

Christmas is its own genre of film. There is no shortage of seasonal movies, and many folks have fond feelings about Christmas classics. Setting up a holiday movie night is one of the easiest holiday team building activities. First, choose a movie, or give guests a couple of options to vote on. To play the film, get a large television or a screen or blank wall and projector. Then, gather your group and play the flick. A pajama dress code, fuzzy blankets, hot drinks, and Christmas-themed snacks like cookies or reindeer chow add special touches to seasonal movie nights.

If your team is remote, then you can use an app like Teleparty to sync video while you watch together on a Zoom call.

Here are more movies to watch with teams.

30. Christmas Tradition

Starting a tradition is a way to give the team a unifying identity and the sense of being part of a larger community. Simply choose an activity to do annually to commemorate the holiday season, and commit to doing that exercise every year around the same time. This action does not have to be directly Christmas-related. For instance, perhaps the group buys cannolis from the local Italian bakery, or plays laser tag on the last day before holiday break. Teammates can look forward to the tradition throughout the season, and the repetition of the event becomes a part of the team culture.

31. Seasonal Team Playlist

Building a seasonal team playlist is one of the simplest team building activities for Christmas. You can ask your teammates to name their favorite Christmas carols, and then add the suggestions to a song list. Then, play the team soundtrack in the office. Or, if working on a dispersed team, then send the link to the list to employees to listen to while working from home.

Pro tip: To maximize the team building factor, ask teammates to guess which coworker contributed each song.

Here are more good team building songs.

32. Ice Bar

Ice bars make for a more fun and memorable happy hour. These bar spaces are outfitted entirely in ice, from the tables to the drink glasses. Visiting these establishments makes for a new experience, not to mention a great photo op. You can use Yelp or Google to find nearby ice bars. Sometimes, venues set up pop-ups just for the winter-time. Or, if you live in a colder climate, then you can DIY your own makeshift ice bar by finding a suitable outdoor space, purchasing a few large blocks of ice or ice sculptures, and using silicone molds to make frozen glasses.

33. Early New Years Eve Party

New Years Eve is a holiday in most workplaces, and chances are, you will not be hanging out with your coworkers on December 31. However, you and your team can celebrate the holiday by throwing an Early New Years Eve Party. Simply stage a party complete with champagne flutes, noisemakers, and novelty year-shaped glasses. You and your guests can make and share resolutions and countdown to imaginary midnight.

This event can serve as a reset for teams to close out the current year and build excitement for the future.

34. Holiday Trivia

Holiday Trivia is one of the best team Christmas games. In this competition, players pool their knowledge and work together to answer festive questions and beat out other teams. To play the game, first come up with a series of holiday-themed questions. You can use the Kahoot! app to facilitate the game, or you can have groups answer the old-fashioned way by buzzing in before other teams or writing down the answers. You could also give groups a worksheet to complete for each round.

At the start of the game, split the players into teams and ask each group to choose a fun holiday team name. Then, read off the questions and keep score. At the end of the game, name winners and award prizes.

Check out this list of Christmas Trivia questions for game material.

Pro tip: Using multimedia tools like video clips and audio files in questions makes the game more exciting.

35. Acts of Kindness

Christmas is a time of goodwill and service, and performing random acts of kindness is one of the most thoughtful team gestures. For this exercise, challenge participants to perform a minimum number of good deeds throughout the duration of the game. You can give players a list of suggestions such as “hold the door,” or “buy a teammate a sweet,” and can also issue daily challenges such as “give out five genuine compliments to coworkers” today. There is no need to keep score, although players are welcome to keep track of the tasks for an extra warm-fuzzy factor.

This exercise serves as a team morale booster and can foster a culture of kindness and gratitude among the team that outlasts the activity.

36. Human Snowball Fight

Human snowball fights are a fun winter team building game where instead of tossing cold, wet snowballs, players launch themselves at other players. To do this activity, first rent bubble soccer equipment. Then, split the group into two teams and suit up. Note that wearing colored jerseys under the bubble will help players keep track of the separate side. When the whistle blows, players start bumping into each other. Players who get knocked to the ground must stay down until the end of the round. The round continues until only one side has players remaining. You can play as many rounds as you would like, and can add variations on the game as well.

37. Holiday Dinner

Holiday dinners are one of the most common team building activities for Christmas. During these gatherings, coworkers come together, share a meal, enjoy each other’s company, and reflect on the past year. Typically, employers pick up the cost for dinner, either by making a reservation at a restaurant or ordering catering. However, a boss may also choose to host a team dinner at his or her house to thank the team. Or, the team may cook for each other potluck-style or by taking a holiday group cooking class together.

38. Winter Office Olympics

Winter Office Olympics is a seasonal team competition consisting of a series of physical challenges.

Here are some game ideas:

Reindeer relays: in this relay race, runners hand off a red foam nose instead of passing a baton.

Ice fishing: A timed game where players submerge their hands into buckets of ice water to collect rubber balls.

Speed skating: contestants place empty tissue boxes over their shoes and race down the hallway.

Igloo Building: Using empty cardboard boxes, teams erect igloos. Judges award points based on construction speed, structural integrity, and architectural style.

Santa’s Sack Race: Entrants step into black garbage bags and race to cross the finish line.

To hold Winter Office Olympics, first find a spacious place to play the games, then split the group into teams. Be sure to keep score and award medals to winners.

39. Holiday Fun Run

Holiday Fun Runs are races where entrants dress up in Christmas attire. You and your team can find a nearby race and enter as a group, or encourage a few of your more athletic teammates to sign up and show up on race day to cheer them on. These activities can also double as fund-raising methods, meaning that your team can be altruistic while bonding with peers and getting a good workout.

40. Family Photo Album

Family Photo Albums are easy ways for teams to share the holidays together without being together all the time. First, create a shared album, for instance, on the iCloud, a social media group, or Google Drive. Then, encourage teammates to upload pictures of the holidays both past and present. For instance, coworkers may share pictures of their pugs on Santa’s lap or themselves unwrapping their Barbie dreamhouse at five years old. You can give participants prompts such as, “my favorite Christmas memory,” or “what I look forward to every December,” or keep the activity freeform and let your team photographers share at will.

41. Seasonal Superlatives

Seasonal Superlatives are a fun holiday get-to-know-you game. To do this exercise, first come up with a list of Christmas-themed superlative categories.

For Example:

  • Most likely to snoop for presents
  • Laughs like Santa
  • Most likely to dress pets like elves
  • Most likely to finish Xmas shopping before Halloween
  • Most likely to misplace a gift
  • Most likely to listen to “All I Want for Christmas is You” on repeat all month
  • Best holiday baker
  • Best gift-giver

Next, ask employees to vote for the coworkers that best fit each description. Once all votes are in and tallied, announce the winners via team message or award ceremony.

Pro tip: Give respondents the option of a “write-in” category so participants can come up with their own creative honors.

42. Christmas Truth or Dare

Christmas Truth or Dare is a holiday version of the beloved question game. To play the game, gather your group together and take turns issuing holiday-themed challenges.

For example:

  • I dare you to give someone a creepy doll for Christmas.
  • I dare you to dial a random number and serenade the caller with “All I Want for Christmas is You.”
  • I dare you to eat a piece of fruitcake.
  • Have you ever pretended to like a present you secretly hated?
  • What deed from the past year is most likely to land you on the naughty list?
  • How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa?

Here is a truth or dare generator to help you think up more challenges.

43. Would You Rather

Would You Rather is a game that asks players to pick a more preferable option between two circumstances. The game can reveal players’ logic and inner psychology, not to mention put participants outside their comfort zones. Plus, imagining and reasoning through unlikely scenarios can be great fun.

It is easy to holiday-ify the game by listing off Christmas-specific scenarios.

For Example:

  • Would you rather accidentally sleep through Christmas or spend Christmas with your worst enemy?
  • Would you rather everything that touched your lips tasted like eggnog for one week or hear the same Chrismtas song on loop for 24 hours?
  • Would you rather get a terrible present or find a present that you handmade for a loved one in a thrift shop?
  • Would you rather fall in a pile of reindeer poop or accidentally tell your boss’s child that Santa does not exist?

Would You Rather makes a good water cooler game or a quick icebreaker for meetings, too.

Check out this list of Would You Rather questions.

Final Thoughts

Christmas is a time of togetherness, and it makes sense to gather the team for festive and collaborative activities. Participating in holiday games and events is a way to foster camaraderie and cheer, as well as help employees destress and re-energize for the new year. There are plenty of fun and out of the ordinary activities sure to chase away the winter blues and lift your team’s spirits. Planning a fun seasonal group exercise can get your team feeling jolly and bright.

Next, check out this guide to making virtual holiday invitations and this list of end of the year budget ideas.

FAQ: Holiday team building activities

Here are answers to common questions about holiday team building activities.

What are holiday team building activities?

Holiday team building activities are Christmas-themed group games and events that encourage teamwork and togetherness. Examples include holiday dinners, Christmas trivia, and Secret Santa.

What are some good holiday team building activities for work?

Some good holiday team building activities for work include Winter Office Olympics, acts of kindness, stocking stuffers, ice skating, and seasonal scavenger hunts.

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Author: Angela Robinson

Team building content expert. Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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