It’s been a year we’ll never forget! More ups and downs than a rollercoaster, but we’re moving forward and staying positive as we embark on another Ottawa winter. Good news! The holidays are right around the corner, and no matter what’s happening in the world, the days leading up to Christmas are always filled with magic and excitement! We hope this year will be no different.
While corporate holiday parties have been postponed this year, we’re excited to share some fun alternatives to consider for your team, and their families, to help celebrate the season … 2020 style!
Need more ideas? Give us a shout and we would be happy to help you brainstorm and/or plan your virtual holiday event.
#1 | Pop Up Party in a Box, by Ottawa Pop Up Events
For those looking for that event experience (but at home), this is a fabulous idea. Package options themed with everything from chill zen to dance disco, the team at @ottawapopupevents has created six different, fun and interactive party boxes that come complete with food items, creative beverages, fun activities, curated playlists, a virtual photobooth, and more. Set the virtual stage with your team via Zoom, Google Hangouts or Microsoft Team for an event experience and unforgettable memories. They’ve truly thought of absolutely everything you need for those missing out on the in-person parties!
Boxes range from $95-195, per box
#2 | Curated by Beckta, Meal Kits & Wine Pairings
Nothing like a fine wine and charcuterie to set the mood – even at home. A few of our favourite places in Ottawa for fine dining is Stephen Beckta and his Ottawa restaurants: Beckta, Play and Gezellig. Stephen and his team have put together a variety of food and wine packages for those missing out on the in-dining experience. Meal kits and wine pairings can be ordered, picked up curbside or delivered to your home.
#3 | Cocktail Kits and Virtual Taste Tasting, courtesy of Bar From Afar
Missing happy hour? How about an at home cocktail gift box with everyone’s favourite spirit? Gin, tequila, vodka, Bar From Afar’s website has 10 different cocktail kit options which each include the alcohol, fresh mixes, ice and garnishes for you to perfect your own cocktail creations. All options can be shipped directly to your home. They also have the resources to deliver a complete restaurant experience. Partnering with catering company, MyCateringGroup, they offer a range of food options to pair with the cocktail kits, if it’s just snacks for happy hour, or a 3-course dinner.
Cocktail kits range from $60-225, per kit
#4 | Giving Back
The holidays are a great time to embrace giving and thinking about those in need, especially after the year we’ve all experienced. Volunteering as a team is an excellent way to put this into action. While collecting monetary donations is always appreciated, it’s also nice to get out and make a difference in person. Embrace the holiday spirit and coordinate a few hours to help out at the Ottawa Food Bank or the Ottawa Mission.
#5 | Movie Night
@yowpopcornco has hit Ottawa with their delicious flavoured popcorn! You’ve likely seen them at local restaurants and bars around the city in their branded brown paper bags and wild flavours. They also do branded bags, and fun stamps for a personal touch. Send a small care package of popcorn and candy to each of your employees and watch a movie together virtually! Great way to bond over some classic holiday films with families and friends.
Pricing ranges from $5-$28, per bag
#6 | Holiday Tailgater Party
Ottawa’s food trucks and restaurants have made it really easy to enjoy food and drinks outside, even during some of our most recent city closures. As Ottawans, we’ve certainly become more accustomed to embracing the colder weather, and while this option may not work for all workplaces, it’s a good option for smaller groups and those with access to their own larger parking lots. A socially distanced tailgater complete with outdoor patio heaters, blankets, local food truck, Beavertails, and beer from Beyond The Pale, could make for a fun Canadian-inspired winter afternoon gathering!
#7 | Virtual Photobooths, with MDRN Photobooth
MDRN’s virtual photo booth brings all the fun of a traditional photobooth right to your web browser. Easily accessed from any phone, desktop or tablet by anyone, at any time, it’s the perfect addition to any Zoom party. Boomerangs, videos, gifs, backgrounds, whatever you need, their team will customize a virtual booth perfectly branded for you.
And don’t forget the kids!
#8 | Santa Meet and Greet, with MDRN Photobooth
MDRN Photobooth has really thought of everything for this upcoming holiday season, and of course, even Santa and his elves have gone virtual! Book an appointment, send in your child’s wishlist, and the team at MDRN will prep you for and set-up your very own personal Zoom meeting with Santa. Get a “ho ho ho” right from ho-ho-home. No more waiting in line, and it’s a perfect alternative for the kids who might be a little scared.
#9 | Online Escape Room
Escape Manor has gone virtual! An online team building event, that takes roughly 60-90 minutes, the new Taken experience gives the opportunity to test cyber sleuthing skills as your team endeavours to help INTERPOL rescue a high-profile official to save the world. The virtual detective experience was designed for 1 to 4 players in the comfort of your own home. Break out into groups and complete for best time.
The “Taken” session is $24.99
#10 | Virtual Secret Santa
Elfster, DrawNames, and Giftster are all free websites that offer simple ways to coordinate an office Secret Santa gift exchange. Set your budget, email the staff names and they take care of the rest! For 2020, you might want to also factor in shipping costs into your budget if you’re planning to have the gifts sent by mail or courier.
As you think about gifts, giving back, and all your holiday events (virtual and in your bubbles), we hope you’ll consider supporting our local businesses this year – it will be more important than ever to invest back into our city. No matter how you end up celebrating, we wish you and your families health, happiness, and good cheer this season!