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This season is all about spending time with those who matter most, but if you can't be with them in person, host a virtual holiday party.
8 min read
December 13, 2020
Holiday mode: on. The best part of the year is here, and we’re all about making unforgettable memories with our loved ones. Since we spent most of the year indoors, video-chatting platforms became our new hangout spots. Many family members, friends, and roommates “Zoom-bombed” us during an online class or meeting, making everyone laugh their heads off. Now, we’re making the best of the situation and creating memorable experiences in non-traditional ways.
This year, we’re hosting a virtual party to celebrate the holidays while safely in the comfort of our own homes. The concept might be strange, but it only means there’s more room for original and creative games. Sprinkle a little holiday spirit to get in the mood for fun and plan the best virtual holiday party yet. Here are a few ideas to get you started—from invitations and favors to festive food and drinks, we’ve got you covered.
If you’re thinking that holiday party invitations are only for children, you’re making a grave mistake. Relive your favorite first-grade memories, but this time, send e-cards instead of colorful glued-on programs. Simply sending a meeting room link just won’t make the cut; you want something that will get everyone in the holiday spirit. A crafty online invitation is an awesome virtual holiday party idea that’ll make your guests as excited as you are.
The best way to create holiday party invitations is to find the perfect template that suits your needs. Make it as colorful and festive as possible to grab your guests’ attention. A few things to keep in mind when designing your e-card: Include the date and time, the length of the event, a brief description of the activities, and the link to the video chat. Aim to send the holiday party invitations a couple of weeks before the event so your loved ones can mark their calendars. Encourage all of your guests to dress up to get in the spirit of the holiday. (Ugly Christmas sweaters, anyone?)
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17 ounces pomegranate juice
1 ounce golden caster sugar
A handful of frozen blackberries
8½ ounces apple juice from S. Martinelli and Co.
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
4 whole cloves
3 black peppercorns
1 orange, quartered
1. Mix all of your ingredients together in a saucepan over medium-high heat, and gently bring to a boil.
2. Let simmer for a few minutes, then strain into glasses and enjoy.
1½ teaspoon ground ginger, plus extra for garnish
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoon soft brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
20 ounces whole milk from Real California Milk, divided
2 shots hot espresso (optional)
Whipped cream, for garnish
Mini gingerbread men, for garnish
1. Combine spices, sugar, and vanilla extract in a pan over medium heat.
2. Add 4 ounces of milk to the pan. Keep whisking until the sugar is completely dissolved.
3. Add remaining milk, and continue whisking until it’s fully incorporated. Heat until it’s steaming.
4. Pour a shot or two of espresso into a glass (optional). Add spiced milk on top.
5. Add whipped cream, a pinch of the spices, and a mini gingerbread man for garnish, and serve.
What’s the point of a virtual holiday party if there isn’t going to be food? Granted, everyone is going to have to prepare their own dishes, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be indulging in delectable, mouthwatering fare. Here are a few holiday party food recipes that’ll make your gathering the bomb.
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil from Brightland
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped parsley leaves, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
3. Place shrimp on the prepared baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, basil, and Parmesan.
4. Put in the oven and roast until the shrimps are pink, firm, and cooked through.
5. After six to eight minutes of roasting, remove from the oven. Squeeze lemon juice over shrimp, top with parsley, and serve immediately.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil from Ojai Olive Oil Company, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ small yellow onion, finely diced
1 (14.5-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed well
1½ cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
All-purpose flour, for dusting
2 (1-pound) balls of refrigerated pizza dough, at room temperature
½ cup sliced pepperoni, roughly chopped
1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1 large egg
Pinch of crushed red chile flakes
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Set an inverted baking sheet in the center of the oven.
2. Invert another baking sheet, line with parchment paper, and set aside.
3. In a saucepan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic, and onion. Cook until tender, about five minutes.
4. Pour in crushed tomatoes and half a cup of basil. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil.
5. Once boiling, lower heat and simmer uncovered for 25 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
6. In a separate saute pan, add remaining oil and sausage. Cook for about five minutes, breaking up sausage with a spoon.
7. Flour a surface, and roll out pizza dough into 12-inch rounds.
8. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to punch holes in the center of the dough. Set holes aside.
9. Place one of the dough rings onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread sauce on the ring in an even layer, reserving 1 tablespoon of the sauce. Add cooked sausage, pepperoni, and mozzarella (save 1 tablespoon), making sure to leave a half-inch border around the edges of the dough.
10. Place the other dough ring on top of the other, and pinch the edges with a fork to seal in the filling.
11. Using a paring knife, cut 1-inch strips into the wreath to make 24 total strips—be careful not to cut all the way through the center; the wreath should hold its shape.
12. Turn each strip twice, and press the edges down.
13. Take the cut-out holes and roll both into 6-inch-long rectangles on a lightly floured surface.
14. Add the remaining tomato sauce and mozzarella to one of the rectangular pieces of dough. Place the second rectangular piece on top of the other, and press to seal the edges together.
15. Use both hands to twist the dough in opposite directions for one full turn, forming a bow.
16. Press the edges once again. Place the bow on the prepared baking sheet next to the wreath.
17. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg with a few drops of water. Then, brush your wreath and bow with the egg wash. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt.
18. Put the baking sheet on top of the inverted baking sheet in the oven, and cook for 20 minutes (or until the bow is golden brown).
19. Remove the bow from the oven. Cook the wreath for an additional 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
20. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the remaining basil and a pinch of crushed chile flakes.
1 pack Oreo cookies, divided (reserve the cream center)
18 ounces cream cheese, softened
White chocolate bark from Ghirardelli Chocolate
1. Finely crush 7 Oreo cookies in a food processor, and set aside.
2. Crush remaining Oreo cookies in the same manner, and add cream cheese. Mash the two together.
3. Place parchment paper on top of a baking sheet. Make 1-inch balls with the Oreo mixture, and place them on the baking sheet.
4. Melt white chocolate, dip the Oreo balls into the chocolate, and place them back on the baking sheet to dry.
5. Sprinkle truffles with the reserved crushed Oreos. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
Hosting a virtual holiday party and only eating is silly; you’re going to need to entertain your guests and keep the holiday spirit alive. Start off with ice-breaker questions like, “What’s the weirdest present you’ve ever received?” or “What’s your favorite holiday party food?”
Once everyone is relaxed and having a good time, take it up a notch and organize a game or two. Cheer your loved ones up with a few holiday party activities such as online bingo, virtual scavenger hunts, trivia games, and Name That Tune. You can even organize a virtual white elephant exchange beforehand and open the holiday gifts on the call.
1. A gorgeous reusable eco-friendly tote from Pacific Tote Company.
2. A pair of San Francisco Crew socks from Yellow Owl Workshop.
3. A Marilyn Monroe collage T-shirt from Hollywood Mega Store.
4. A decorative pillow from Eko Kreations.
5. A DIY Can’t Touch This Cactus cross-stitch knit from Local Take.
6. A sea turtle dish set from Tweak.
7. A Breakfast In Bed eyeshadow palette from Beauty Bakerie.
A virtual hangout doesn’t mean your guests leave empty-handed. “Send off” your guests with memorable personalized gifts they’ll absolutely adore. Blend your own custom-mixed tea using bulk spices (such as orange peel, ginger, and licorice root), and mail it to your guests. Or, create an emergency candy stash that has the perfect amount of sweetness to satisfy your friends’ midnight cravings during the season.
Better yet, make your own DIY scented ornament by dying the ends of cinnamon sticks with gold paint—a modern twist to a rather classic decoration. Whatever party favors you end up sending, your virtual holiday party is bound to be the season’s best one yet.
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