If there's one time of the year for a family celebration or knees-up with your friends, it's Christmas. But if seeing your loved ones in person isn't looking likely this year, never fear. It’s easy to take your virtual events online with video calls and still celebrate Christmas with all the trimmings, like games, gifts and singing. These virtual Christmas party tips will help ensure your gathering is just as fabulously festive as ever. All you have to do is read this guide… and pop the turkey in the oven!

Get Connected for Your Virtual Christmas Party 

Our guide is full of tips for video calls while hosting a virtual Christmas party.

These days, there are so many options for meeting up online with friends and family. Zoom remains a popular choice for video calls because it’s easy to use, and offers additional party-friendly features such as funny filters and custom backgrounds. 

Google Meet boasts many similar features to Zoom, and might be a winner if your guests are Google users, as it easily connects with Gmail and Google Calendar. And then there’s Facebook Messenger and its Rooms service, which is specifically designed for casual catch ups between friends and family, with no time limit on calls for up to 50 people. 

Whatever service you choose to use, remember these tips for managing group chats online: 1) utilise mute functions to minimise background noise and let people take turns speaking; 2) remember the chat tool is handy for in-depth discussions and asking or answering questions and 3) have a play around with your view settings to find a screen layout that works for you. Some people prefer gallery view (with everyone’s faces squeezed on screen) while others might go for speaker view, which prioritises the person doing the talking (or pulling the cracker).

SEE ALSO: The Best Personalised Christmas Gifts for Family and Friends

Send out Awesome Christmas Party Invites

A sure-fire way to get people excited and enthused about your big online event is to send out handcrafted invitations. Part of the clever Cricut range, the Cricut Joy is a compact cutting and writing machine that can whip up professional-looking invites in mere minutes. With bluetooth connectivity, it’s super easy to use – simply use the app on your smartphone to get designing. 

Another innovative option for invites: Officeworks’ Print & Copy service. There are plenty of pretty templates available, or customise your own and get everything printed in-store. Prices start at just $9 for a pack of 10 invitations.

What To Try

Deck Your Halls with Christmas Decorations

Make your virtual Christmas party special by crafting homemade Christmas decorations or hats together via video call.

It’s time to get busy with boughs of holly! Make easy-peasy Christmas bunting with twine, double-sided tape, and construction paper cut into festive shapes like stars, bells and Christmas trees. String it up on your living room wall to create your own Yuletide backdrop to your virtual get-together. For a different backdrop altogether, this clever green screen clips to your chair so you can give yourself a funny virtual background, or digitally transport yourself to tropical (or snowy!) climes. 

And don’t forget to encourage everyone to wear a party hat to your online celebration. You could even make them together over Zoom as a fun crafting activity the whole family can join in on (call it a crafter-Zoom!). Send your guests a pre-prepared box of craft supplies, such as glue, cardboard, tissue paper, stick-on crystals and pom poms, then take them step-by-step through the hat-making and decorating process. You could even turn it into a competition with a prize for the best hat! BYO bubbles and crank up the carols for motivation.

What To Try

SEE ALSO: 8 Easy Christmas Crafts to Makeover Your Home

Don’t Forget the Christmas Gifts

Can’t send a physical Christmas present? Gift vouchers make easy virtual Christmas gifts for the ones you love.

Step aside, Santa Claus! You can still spoil the people you love this Christmas, even if you’re not seeing each other face to face. Shop online for goodies that encourage a mindful pause during the silly season – try gift ideas such as colouring pencils or a custom jigsaw puzzle – and ship them directly to your friends and family. 

Or, if you’re super organised, buy fabulous pressies like a Lenovo smart clock or a Build A Bot Colour & Create Pegasus, then bring them home for the royal wrapping treatment: think festive wrapping paper, gift-tag stickers and cute ribbons. All it takes is a quick trip to the post office to send them on their way. 

Then you can organise a present-unwrapping time during your virtual Christmas party for everyone to take turns opening their gifts, so you can all enjoy the oohs and aahs together.

Hot Tip: Gift vouchers make handy last-minute gifts – you can email them over in an instant!

What To Try

SEE ALSO:  Inspiring DIY Christmas Cards and Wrapping Paper Ideas

Let the Christmas Games Begin

Play family Christmas party games, like a virtual Christmas scavenger hunt.

What’s a party without some fun and festive games? Keep the good times going and play family Christmas games online, such as a spot of Zoom trivia: all you need is pencils, paper and some tricky questions (bonus points if you have a theme, like Hollywood movies or the royal family). 

Another great game to play remotely is Pictionary – arm yourselves with mini whiteboards and start doodling. How about a virtual Christmas scavenger hunt? They’re silly and satisfying, with players racing around the house to gather all the items on a printed-off list. First ones back to the Zoom camera with all items ticked off wins! Or try Charades, which translates well to the screen (and this Ridley’s card game can give you some pointers). 

Once spirits are high, opt for something daring, like a round of karaoke, a silly dance-off or a good old-fashioned game of Truth or Dare. As long as your favourite people are laughing on the screen in front of you, you’re sure to have yourself a merry little Christmas. 

What To Try

SEE ALSO: Best Secret Santa Gift Ideas Under $15 

Virtual Christmas Party Tech Essentials

Now that you’re ready to have a virtual merry Christmas, make sure you get your gear sorted and set up before December 25, so you’re ready to party on the day without any technical troubles. You’ll need a webcam of course, and a standalone one may offer better picture quality than the camera built into your laptop or tablet. 

Good lighting is another requirement – choose a sunny corner of your home or invest in a ring light to give your video stream a bright, summery look. And then there’s sound quality: again, built-in microphones don’t really compare to gadgets like the Blue Yeti Nano Premium Microphone, which easily connects to your computer and captures high-quality audio worthy of any podcast. 

Also, you don’t want your WiFi dropping out in the middle of Christmas dinner. To prevent a festive flop, optimise your internet signal with a premium router and, to reduce interference, place it nearby and in an open area with minimal barriers. 

Finally, consider your screen options for your online festive gathering. A good laptop, like the Lenovo Yoga 7i, is ideal, or take things up a notch and cast your call from a device onto a compatible smart TV

What To Try