Host a Digital Holiday Get-Together

This will be a holiday season unlike any we've ever experienced. While holiday festivities will be quite different this year we still have the opportunity to celebrate with the laughter and smiles of loved ones — even while at a distance. Check out the following tips to host a successful and festive digital holiday get-together.


Festive backgrounds

north campus

Life in Edmonton, Alberta means a winter season rife with snow. Browse through our collection of digital backgrounds to add some festive winter cheer to your virtual get-together on Zoom, Meet and other video conferencing tools. Note, only the consumer version of Meet can use custom backgrounds.

Getting Started with Zoom
Get to Know Google Meet


Room hop  cozy fireplace room

Photo by Amy Humphries.

We’ve all been on that video call where so many people and voices are present that conversation becomes impossible. Set up individual room links for the same date and time and include these in your event invitation. Creating multiple room links allows smaller pockets of people to mingle and an easier flow of conversation.

With easy access to different links your guests can room hop as they please to check in with friends and family. If you want to take it a step further, create a virtual house map so guests can select which room they’d like to visit. Assign festive names to each room for a fun spin.

Make a copy of our house map templates to get started!


Sounds of the season

christmas tree

Photo by Steve Halama.

Music always brings life to the party. Don’t forget to play classics for your guests like Jingle Bell Rock, Winter Wonderland and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. Check out this Christmas Classics playlist to get you started or test out your vocals by engaging in some holiday karaoke by streaming lyric videos on YouTube | Sing King Karaoke.


Classic movie night

movie night

Photo by Joshua Herrera.

Hosting movie night is a classic way to spread some holiday cheer. You can have everyone vote for a movie or TV show to watch then use Meet or Zoom to watch together on your favourite streaming service (like Amazon Prime’s Watch Party feature). It’s almost like watching side-by-side in real life just without having to share your popcorn. Tip: Mute your microphone and use the chat function during your watch party.

If you need some inspiration, check out the most-searched holiday movies of 2020 (Google): 

  1. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 
  2. The Grinch
  3. Die Hard
  4. Jingle All the Way
  5. Home Alone
  6. Love Actually
  7. It’s a Wonderful Life
  8. A Christmas Story 
  9. Miracle on 34th
  10. This Christmas

Check out more of the 2020's top trending TV shows and movies.


Holiday games

cat tinsel

Photo by Bermix Studio.

Adding gameplay always enlivens a crowd and adds some fun competitive comradery. There are many games that can be played remotely from classics like Pictionary to modern party games from Jackbox Games, Codenames or even a Hogwarts digital escape room!

Steps for setting up and playing remote Pictionary

  1. Use a digital whiteboard such as Jamboard that integrates with Google Meet or the whiteboard feature available in some other conferencing tools.
  2. Determine who will be the moderator to keep score and time (e.g. 60 seconds to draw). 
  3. Decide on the teams and select a person who will be drawing. Have the moderator pick which team will go first (use trivia or guess a number to decide).
  4. Taking turns, each team designated drawer picks a word chosen from a list or they can use an online random word generator (e.g. The Game Gal's - Word Generator).
  5. Play as many rounds as you want, the team with the most points wins!

Need more game ideas? Check these out:

How to play Jackbox games with friends and family remotely
Create your own virtual escape room with Google Forms


Dress up or dress down


Photo by Jessica Rockowitz.

Ugly Christmas sweater, reindeer ears or Santa hat? Picking your signature holiday outfit is always fun this time of year and just because you’re connecting through video doesn’t mean you have to compromise on Christmas flair. Throw some string lights into your background, wear a holiday onesie or don a grinch mask — it’s okay to go a bit overboard this year.


Keep your holiday creativity flowing by checking out more tips about Google Meet and other Google tools with the Year End Round-Up With UAlberta Google!