This holiday season, you might need to come up with virtual holiday party ideas. Virtual holiday parties allow you the opportunity to still catch up with friends, family, and coworkers to celebrate the season.

Sure, it won’t be the same as inviting people into your home or having a huge costume party. However, your virtual party doesn’t have to be like a boring Zoom work meeting either. In fact, going virtual this year could actually save you some money if the budget is tight. Budget-friendly virtual parties can actually be fun and memorable when done the right way.

Why Some Virtual Parties Don’t Work

There’s definitely a right and wrong way to do virtual parties. You may have even attended these before. You’re doing it the wrong way if you have to pay a ton of money to host your party. Virtual parties should actually save you money when done correctly so if you don’t have the premium version of Zoom, you don’t have to buy it just to host a virtual party.

Consider using an option like Google Hangouts. Also, make sure people know how to log in and everyone’s internet connection is good. You’ll also want to utilize all the features of your calling software. For example, if someone does have the paid version of Zoom, you can break the group up into private rooms as well. If you’re using an app like Houseparty (which is also free), you can play a variety of group games so make sure you know how to use the app ahead of time.

Finally, be prepared to lead the conversation once people start logging in. This is another reason why some virtual parties don’t work. They’re too awkward. Think of games, activities, and conversation starters in advance. Again, this doesn’t have to cost a ton of money. To help you get some ideas flowing, check out these _ budget-friendly virtual holiday parties that actually work.

Ugly Sweater Party

Ugly sweater parties are always fun because it’s interesting to see what people come up with. You can still host an ugly sweater party online. Challenge everyone to find their best ugly sweater at a thrift store and giveaway a prize like a DoorDash gift card or another virtual gift card to the person with the best sweater.

Of course, people will need to bring their own food and drinks to the virtual party. You can come up with other games and conversation starters to make it interesting and fun. Think of interactive games like Pictionary and Holiday Movie trivia.

$5 and Under Secret Santa

You can still do a secret Santa gift exchange on a video call with friends this year. This will require some planning though since you’ll likely need to mail gifts or drop them off at people’s door in advance.

However, this can be a fun budget-friendly virtual holiday party idea that everyone will enjoy. Set a budget for gifts like $5 per person. You can go to a store like Five Below and find some really nice gifts for people. Randomly select who people will get a gift for and open them all on camera together.

Gingerbread House Wars

This is one of my favorite budget-friendly virtual holiday party ideas because gingerbread houses are so cheap and easy to make. There are also so many different kinds of houses to choose from and you can decorate it however you wish.

If you love watching those baking competition shows on T.V., you might enjoy hosting a gingerbread house decoration competition party. Have everyone get a gingerbread house kit to design and decorate on the video call.

Play music in the background and I’m sure the activity alone will spark competition. Have everyone email you their vote for the winner (excluding themselves), then send the winner a $25 gift card.


Play a traditional game of bingo or use this bingo sheet from This is a great virtual party idea for offices and teams. It’s a friendly competition game and can easily inspire holiday cheer.

Get bingo cards out to everyone in advance. People can always use cut up paper as bingo chips if you don’t have any. Everyone can even contribute a little something so the grand prize is really worth it.


If you are missing trivia nights at your favorite restaurant, create your own virtual trivia holiday party this year. I recently found a trivia game at 5 Below and enjoyed quizzing my husband on pop culture facts from the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. You can either buy a trivia game or find your own questions online for free.

If you prefer to join in on the game, check out a trivia site that automatically generates questions. That way, you don’t know the answer ahead of time.

Another free game I like to play is called Heads Up. It’s a free app where you can get quizzed on various different topics. You play your phone on your head and a word shows up. Everyone can see it except for you and your team has to describe the word or phrase to you so you can guess it before the timer is up. With a virtual party, games like this are definitely an option and they’re still just as enjoyable.

Summary: Budget-Friendly Holiday Party Ideas That Work

Your budget-friendly holiday party doesn’t have to be a bust. There are so many things you can do over video chat to interact with people and make everyone feel involved.

Since you don’t have to pay for food and drinks for everyone along with supplies and decorations you’ll likely save a ton of money as well.

Are you thinking of hosting a virtual holiday party this year or attending one? Which one of these ideas is your favorite?


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