How to Host a Virtual Ugly Sweater Party in 6 Steps (Plus Extras!)

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September 16, 2020

Ugly sweater parties are gatherings where partygoers don the tackiest holiday-themed sweaters imaginable. These events became a beloved Christmas tradition within the past couple of decades.

You know your crew can do gaudy glam better than anyone, but you can only meet virtually. Luckily, throwing an ugly sweater party online is just as easy and fun as an in-person affair. Plus, since you don’t have to pack a bunch of wool clad folks into one room, there is much less risk of overheating.

If you follow these six steps, then you can throw an amazing virtual ugly sweater party that your guests might have to live-tweet!

Step 1: Email over-the-top invitations

An event as flamboyant as an ugly sweater party deserves better than a boring video call link invitation. You can use a program like Canva or Crello to craft a custom evite to send to your squad. When designing your invitations, think bold and bright. Ugly sweater parties revolve around showiness, so no design is too flashy or too silly.

ugly sweater party ideas virtual ugly sweater party invitation ideas

On your invitation, include at minimum the date and time, the meeting link, and the dress code. For more ideas, check out our post on how to make virtual holiday party invitations.

Step 2: Scout out your sassy sweater

The apparel is the centerpiece of a remote ugly sweater party. The most important part of your event is finding an outrageous sweater to show off. Many people browse thrift stores for party attire, but if you do not want to physically browse the racks, then you can hunt online for the perfect piece. Sites like eBay and Etsy have a wide variety of quirky and unique holiday sweaters, and you can also peruse online thrift and vintage websites for a one of a kind cardigan.

If you don’t want to buy a sweater, then you can always hand-make an outfit. There is no need to crochet a sweater from scratch, unless you are willing to do so and are a very quick knitter. You can sew fun patches or glue felt onto a basic sweatshirt. Another cheap and easy idea is to drape yourself in Christmas lights, garland, or dozens of bows. Some sweater party enthusiasts even construct makeshift snow globes. Time and imagination are the only limits to your outfit! As always, you can peruse Pinterest for inspiration.

Step 3: Meet up online in a cozy Zoom room

When the time arrives, you and your crew can meet on the video conferencing platform of your choice. You should note that some platforms place time and participant limits on the free version of the software, so you will want to plan accordingly and pick the program that best suits your needs. You can explore settings beforehand and pre-arrange features like breakout rooms and polls so that your party can run as smoothly as possible. We recommend starting your Zoom call with virtual icebreaker questions.

Step 4: Set the scene with a pretty pixel picture

At virtual holiday parties, decking the halls means finding a suitable seasonal background. Zoom allows users the option of customizing the video background, meaning your guests can change the backdrop to a Christmas tree, Santa’s workshop, a snowy street, or another seasonal scene. If you do not use Zoom, then you can always share your screen to show a cozy fireplace or a montage of classic Christmas clips. Of course, you can always decorate the walls within view of your webcam with glittering holiday decor.

You can learn how to change your Zoom background on Zoom’s website.

Step 5: Play fun remote ugly sweater party games

The crazy and creative sweaters will provide entertainment, but you can plan online team building games for even more fun. To get a proper view of all the zany outfits, you can kick your party off with a fashion show. Simply ask your guests to stand up, turn around, and strut, and pose to show off the sweater. You could also ask attendees to take pictures beforehand and drop the pictures into the chat during the party.

For more virtual ugly sweater party games, click here to scroll to the next section.

Step 6: Vote for the best dressed party guest

The highlight of the ugly sweater party is the vote for the most striking sweater. If you have a large guest list, then you can create different categories like funniest, best pop culture reference, cutest, most creative, and your sweater just ruined my childhood.

You can conduct the vote by using the polling feature in the web conference platform. For added fun, invite each attendee to submit a title for the sweater such as, “the human snow globe,” “Grumpy cat Grinch,” or “I’m dreaming of a Walter White Christmas.” Once you tally up the votes, you can award the winner with a prize like a virtual Amazon gift card or an extra vacation day.

Virtual Ugly Sweater Party Games

Virtual ugly sweater party games entertain guests and elevate the fun of your remote holiday soiree.

Here is a list of fun challenges and activities you and your online party goers can enjoy.

1. Wrap battle

Wrap battle is a fun way to get your guests moving.

To play:

  1. Ask each player to fetch a roll of wrapping paper, tape, scissors, and a bow.
  2. Set a timer for 60 seconds.
  3. Challenge players to wrap themselves completely in paper, with a bow to finish the look.

All players must cover themselves from toe to chin in gift wrap, with no rips larger than one inch. The team can vote on which player looks the best among all of the successful presents.

To reduce waste, we recommend that participants reuse the paper to wrap smaller presents.

2. Simon says sweater party style

The rules of Simon Says are simple. A leader shouts out commands and players comply. But players must only obey commands that start with the phrase “Simon says.” Players that act out of turn are out. You can also disqualify players who fail to respond to an appropriate command. This version of the game incorporates sweaters into the orders. For instance, the leader may say, “Simon says everyone in a reindeer sweater jumps twice.” We made a cheat sheet so you can think up commands quickly.

virtual ugly sweater party games

To keep track of active players, you can ask eliminated players to temporarily shut off webcams. The game continues until only one player remains, or you can end the challenge after a set number of rounds.

3. Online party photo booth

Pictures are one of the best parts of an ugly sweater party. You can commemorate your attendee’s outrageous outfits by using the capture screen option on your video call software. To add to the amusement, you can send attendees printable ugly sweater party photo booth props to use in the shots. We made templates you can use for your remote sweater party.

You can download these printable ugly sweater party photo booth props in PDF format here.

4. Holiday hangman

By using your web conference platform’s digital whiteboard feature, you can play a seasonal version of hangman. The traditional rules of the game still apply: a leader will pick a word or saying, and draw blanks for every letter. Players must guess letters. Players that guess correctly can take another turn. If the player guesses incorrectly, then the leader draws a line of the picture. Instead of a hangman, the leader will draw a Christmas tree. Players must complete the phrase before the leader finishes the drawing.

Pro tip: Keep your tree simple. Green triangles work best, with a stump and a star. You can always add circles for ornaments if you want to buy players extra time!

More virtual ugly sweater party ideas

In the world of tacky sweaters, details can make all the difference. Here is a list of awesome virtual sweater party ideas to elevate your online affair.

1. Remote ugly sweater party food

No party is complete without food. You can treat your attendees to ugly sweater party food by providing a meal or dessert stipend, sending online credit for a meal delivery service like GrubHub or DoorDash, or mailing a care package pre-party.

2. Virtual ugly sweater party food ideas:

Send white-frosted sweater-shaped cookies with food coloring markers so guests can design their very own ugly sweater cookie
Ship packages of cotton candy, labeled sweater fuzz
Email credits for Starbucks so guests can enjoy a festive Christmas drink
Message a recipe for holiday party Chex mix

Pizza is a solid option for any affair, so you can always invite guests to order from a favorite pizzeria pre-party. You can also encourage guests to bring beverages for a holliday virtual happy hour feel.

3. Safe for work dress code

Some ugly sweater entries can border on bawdy. While raunchy holiday humor may be fun, you want all guests to feel respected and comfortable during your virtual party. Outlining outfit do’s and don’ts pre-party is a good idea. Sweaters should be work-appropriate: no gross sex jokes or jabs at any race, religion, or other identity. Profanity may be ok with your crew, but you should check that all guests are on the same page in terms of acceptable swearing. Setting ground rules ensures that all guests enjoy the party. Plus, HR will thank you for saving their department the headache!

4. Social media ugly sweater party

If you do not have time to host a full online party, already have a packed schedule for your remote holiday party, or want to include your clients and fans in on the fun, then you can host your staff ugly sweater party via social media. First, pick a platform you want to use like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Next, ask employees to submit entries to your social media scheduler, or invite teammates to upload photos directly to personal profiles with a special contest hashtag. Coworkers and other followers can cast votes with likes and comments. You can count up all engagements and announce the winner during your virtual holiday party or in a team email.

Note: You will definitely want to refer to your company’s social media policy and subscribe to a safe for work dress code as outlined above to avoid any potential faux pas.

5. Hall of Fame

If staring at your crew’s tacky threads doesn’t satisfy your ugly sweater fix, then you and the group can browse through galleries of inventive ugly sweaters online. Searching Google images or Pinterest can reveal hysterical, elaborate, and memorable sweaters. You can share your screen and browse photos together, or you can invite attendees to drop pictures or links into the chat box.

Conclusion

Ugly sweater parties rose to fame on the internet, so you can move your party online and still have fun. By following the correct steps and incorporating virtual ugly sweater party ideas and games, you can ensure your close-knit crew fully enjoys the online bash. You can consider including virtual team building exercises as part of the fun, too.

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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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